Petition to Obama government to disclose secret copyright treaty

Rishab sez, "Knowledge Ecology International is organising a petition to President Obama to make the US position in negotiations on the secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement transparent to the public. Boing Boing readers may remember previous posts on ACTA, the 'throw people in jail for sharing' agreement being developed in secret by rich countries who find the semi-public consultations in forums like WIPO tiresome."

Obama's administration has refused to disclose the drafts of ACTA on the grounds of "national security" (yes, really!), but we know from leaks and memos that it includes universal surveillance of the net; mandatory loss of Internet connections without trial for households where one member is accused of violating copyright; and a duty to search your laptop and personal devices at the border for infringing material.

Petition to President Obama, regarding transparency of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Thanks, Rishab!)


  1. I would definitely sign this petition (and probably will), but I have a question…do web petitions mean anything? I’ve gotten chain mails telling me that they have no legal standing and everything, and my own online research (meaning google…) doesn’t really yield conclusive results. I’m guessing BoingBoing readers would know about this. Would my signing this petition do anything?

    1. Remember, in order to petition the government it must be in the venue of said recipient, and on paper, which is the only way the Courts or government Take Notice of The Petition for Redress of Grievances. Nothing exists in their venue if not on paper.

  2. It is so totally troublesome that we – the masters – are petitioning our servants – politicians, for anything at all.
    Or have we been fooled in believing that we are the masters served by our public servants who in reality are the masters?
    Looking at what is observable, that certainly seems to be the case?
    It appears to be impossible to just ignore these so-called public servants, but a change of mind is the first step on the way to real liberty, the state of mind that we do not owe anything to any ruler. And, NO, we do not need government to build roads, roads have been built long before government claimed that it is the only one who can take on that job. And for god’s sake, take your children out of the public schools where they are trained to be obedient to our ‘servants.’
    Th thr wll b n mr pttns t Hssn bm fr smthng tht w shld tk cr rslvs.

  3. You know how in the movies someone makes a daring plan and the first thing they say is, “We’ll need a distraction…”? Our governments are organizing, under CIA levels of secrecy, to create sweeping international law to change the Internet and thus the future of all humankind. Does anyone know about it? No, not really. If they did they’d be flooding our nations’ capitals with email telling them not to mess with our Internet. But instead we’re too busy arguing if Fox News is or isn’t a real news agency, keeping Rush Limbaugh out of the NFL and wondering what will happen Balloon Boy’s parents. Secrecy plus distraction is allowing governments to pass whatever law they please.

    The news about ACTA needs to be gotten out, to every man, woman and child and we need to stay focused. No more Obama birth certificate and death panels in the health care bill distractions. We need to build awareness and keep up the pressure on elected officials and protect our Internet freedoms. If we don’t those freedoms will be gone before we were aware they were even under attack.

  4. I know the “National Security” thing sounds like a bad excuse on the surface, but I don’t doubt that it really is the reason he has to keep it under wraps.

    Starting in the 1990’s, the US Government decided that, as the world moved to a global economy, the US ought to be the “creators” and other nations would be the “builders.” It sounded like a good idea at the time. Creators get paid better, and we are pretty damn good at making movies, music, software, medical advances, etc.

    Thus, numerous trade agreements were made that we knew would result in production jobs leaving America, but other nations promised to create copyright and patent laws that would make up for it. That sounds fair. It sounded like a good idea at the time.

    But the other nations didn’t do what they promised. Oops.

    I have no doubt that somewhere in these “matter of National Security” documents includes information how we are going to either 1) back out on our side of the deal, so we don’t keep losing jobs for nothing or 2) force them to do what they promised. Either way, it would be a HUGE foreign policy / national security issue to have that information public.

    Not to mention the fact that there is no way to prevent people from breaking copyright/patent laws – all you can do is punish the offenders to discourage it. In some countries, “copylifting” pays better than the manufacturing jobs we offered them in the deal – it will take a VERY heavy hand to discourage those people.

    But we could NEVER make public a document that says the US is ordering other countries to enforce laws with a heavy hand, because it benefits us! We can’t admit it, but our hands are tied. Forcing these nations to limit the freedom of their people is the only option we have. (Other than changing our stance on copyright, but that’s crazy. Anyone in favor of that just wants to steal music on the internet.) So, we need to keep it secret.

    Our stance on copyright is starting to put our nation at risk and control our foreign policy. It’s not just about “free music” anymore. It’s a matter of national security.

  5. Cory, can you attest to the legitimacy of this sight and the people hosting it? I see your name on the petition but has any background checking been done. I don’t feel entirely comfortable sending personal information to a random email address. It seems shady.

  6. As Anonymous | #5 related all of the copyright stuff would be good if other nations followed it. But as it is the US will allow it’s citizens to be sued for millions of dollars for downloading and sharing several hundred songs but meanwhile a Chinese manufacturer can set up and duplicate thousands of CDs and DVDs with nary an issue other than where down the road to sell the prirated content…

  7. We can be sure this treaty exists only to do three things:

    1. To force unpalatable, harsh and unjustifiable laws upon countries whose citizens would never accept them.

    2. To deny discussion and knowledge of the new laws until the citizens of the affected countries can do nothing to stop them.

    3. And perhaps most importantly (for the huge Corporate Interests sponsoring this Power Grab) is to tremendously increase revenue for rights holders as well as to potentially grant rights holders perpetual copyright.

    And don’t forget to reward our Great President Barrack Obama who has tireless worked for Corporate interests in this and other matters!

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