US Trade Rep wants your input on ACTA

The US Trade Representative -- who has been negotiating the secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement without input from the American people or Congress -- is seeking public submissions on how to conduct US foreign copyright policy. This means that Americans can file comments with the USTR asking for ACTA to be made public
Under the Special 301 process the U.S.T.R. seeks input from U.S. copyright, trademark, and patent owners about whether policies and practices in foreign countries deny them adequate IP protection. The process has generally been used by IP holders to complain not only about lax enforcement in other countries, but also about limitations and exceptions in their laws that are beneficial to libraries, to education, to innovation, and to the public interest generally. The ability to comment in the Special 301 process is not limited to IP owners only. Any member of the public is free to file comments. If you believe in the importance of balanced copyright policies, file comments with the USTR and make your voice heard.

Comments can be filed electronically via, docket number USTR-2010-0003. You have to include the term "2010 Special 301 Review" in the "Type Comment and Upload File" field. More information about the Special 301 process is available here. Deadline for filing is February 16 by 5 p.m.

Tell USTR balanced copyright is important (via The Command Line)


  1. This article should probably be reposted every couple days until the 16th to get the maximum participation here.

  2. The directions above are a little hazy, so here is the direct link to the comment page. According to the above instructions, include “2010 Special 301 Review” in the “Type Comment and Upload File”, but also stick your comment in that field.

    The page is for general comments about the USTR’s activities, so you should probably reference ACTA explicitly, telling the USTR all the reasons you think an agreement like this is a horrible idea. Talking points like “The secrecy surrounding ACTA undermines the process of democracy and provides a veil for corruption,” and “International laws, and the law of this country, should not exist for the purposes of propping up failing business models.”


  3. “The ability to comment in the Special 301 process is not limited to IP owners only.”

    Actually, there’s little to no distinction between everyone in the country and IP owners, thanks to copyright revisions in recent years. Anything you’ve ever made, with the slightest bit of creativity in it, is automatically under copyright once it’s in a fixed form. Doodled on your grocery list? You’re an IP owner; go submit a comment. Posted a comment on BoingBoing? You’re a copyright owner, go submit a comment. Made a turkey from a handprint in Kindergarten? You’re an IP owner, go submit a comment.

  4. For the record, here was my rant-like contribution. Get your indignation on, citizens!

    2010 Special 301 Review
    Re: ACTA and serving the Public Good

    The amount of secrecy surrounding the ACTA discussions and terms are unacceptable, and undermine the foundations of our great republic, and search to give undue influence to corporate interests over the good of citizens and content creators. This approach not only goes against the US government’s stated goals of transparency for its citizens, but serves as a fertile breeding ground for corruption. There can exist no compelling reason for such secrecy in a trade treaty when private commercial special interests and representative from other governments have a seat at the table.

    Additionally, ACTA itself seems flawed: as a citizen of the United States, and a professional creator of intellectual property, I abhor the concept that international and domestic laws are being used to prop up the failing business model of IP middle-men. These people are well-funded and dangerously influential parasites whose presence is no longer needed in a modern technology-centric business ecology.
    Laws that restrict the free exchange of ideas, however seemingly well intentioned, are the tools of tyranny, and will be misused by profit-seeking corporations and by governments seeking to control and restrict their citizens under the guise of ‘copyright restrictions’.

    From an economic point of view – there are now numerous extant, thriving abundance-oriented business models that encourage the creation of intellectual property. These new models do not resort to futile attempts to restrict or control the IP flow – an outdated scarcity concept from a different pre-technology era.
    Our new mantra is one that the RIAA doesn’t want anyone to hear: “Obscurity is the bane of content creators, not ‘piracy’! ”

    Please move the ACTA treaty in a 21st century direction – one that removes any and all obstacle to free-trade and to the free propagation of ideas and media. I want people to use my software, see my films and hear my music.

  5. Could someone provide a comprehensive set of talking points or outline for what needs to be communicated?

  6. I’m now convinced that the only way to get anyone interested in stopping this would be for people to think that Obama supports it.


    1. “I’m now convinced that the only way to get anyone interested in stopping this would be for people to think that Obama supports it.


      THAT is quite possibly the best idea I’ve heard all year. The raving ignorance in this country really needs to be under new control.

  7. I noticed that you can upload a file with your comment.

    So I attached one of my better photos (that I published under a creative commons license).

    Why? Becuse I can!

    I can attach any photo of my own, or with the proper license. No DRM, big corporation or bloated beuracracy to stop me. And that’s the way I like it.

  8. Here’s my submission:
    I have several comments on the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, & the secrecy surrounding it.
    All positions on ACTA to be advocated by the US trade representative should be released to Congress, posted on the White House website, & released to the media.
    All consultations with businesses interested in ACTA should be released to Congress, posted on the White House website, & released to the media.
    Americans will not support enforcement of a treaty they believe was formed in secrecy.
    I also wonder how ACTA can really stop counterfeiting when the countries most identified with counterfeit products-Russia, China, India- are not part of the negotiations.
    ACTA should not be used as a vehicle to change US law so that current safe harbor provisions are voided.
    ACTA should not be used as a vehicle to force third-world countries to follow expensive mandates that benefit only first world corporations & businesses.
    The Disney Company appears to have stolen the premise of the movie The Lion King from Osamu Tezuka’s Kimba the White Lion. Would ACTA help bring Disney to justice?
    ACTA should not be used to allow global DMCA, to allow border guards to search laptops & other electronics at borders, & to force ISPs to enforce three-strikes provisions on households.
    I thank you for your time.

  9. Success! Your Comment Has Been Submitted
    Comment Tracking Number: 80a90348

    I invite everyone else to do the same.

  10. Actually, Disney stole the story of The Lion King from Hamlet. :-)

    “Remember Me, Simba…”


    I’m telling my whole social network about the ACTA comment period. I wish there was a way for this story to stay on top of BoingBoing… too important to get overlooked. Where is the EFF when you need them? We should be burning effigies in the streets over this one.

  11. If you read the brief, it appears that they intend these comments to be used to identify countries that habitually disobey our copyright wishes, not for commenting on ACTA itself – obviously it’s a valuable chance to speak up and perhaps get it read, but it’s kinda disgusting that it appears they’ve already made their decision

  12. Folks who are going to submit to USTR for this year’s Special 301 Report might want to check out last year’s Special 301 Report. It criticizes countries for perceived IP enforcement weaknesses, and calls on specific countries to do things like increase police raids, impose harsh criminal penalties, toughen civil penalties, and to give cops and border guards more powers to confiscate.

    In the past, it has been mostly businesses and groups representing large corporate IP owners that have submitted (though there have been a few exceptions). And in the past the report has been largely a compilation of their suggestions about what countries to harass. USTR needs more input from people that don’t work for RIAA or PhRMA.

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