ACTA leak: Now we know who is against transparency - USA, Korea, Singapore, Denmark

Michael Geist sez, "Throughout the debate over ACTA [ed: a secret, unprecedented copyright treaty that the public isn't able to see or participate in] transparency, many countries have taken public positions that they support release of the actual text, but that other countries do not. Since full transparency requires consensus of all the ACTA partners, the text simply can't be released until everyone is in agreement. Of course, those same countries hasten to add that they can't name who opposes ACTA transparency, since that too is secret. No longer. In an important new leak from the Netherlands, a Dutch memorandum reporting back on the Mexico ACTA negotiation round names names, pointing specifically to which countries support releasing the text and which do not. At the top of the no-transparency list: the U.S., South Korea, Singapore, and Denmark."

Hey, Danes, Koreans and Singaporeans! Get cracking on this -- time to call your elected reps, get all the heavies you know to pull strings, have your press jump on the issue. Why are your governments opposed to public participation in a treaty that will regulate the Internet, and all we do on it, from political participation (OhMyNews Korea, I'm looking at you!) to heath care (hey, Denmark!) to staying in touch with our families around the world (Yo, Singaporean diaspora!).

New ACTA Leak: U.S., Korea, Singapore, Denmark Do Not Support Transparency (Thanks, Michael and Herman!)


  1. The U.S., against transparency? Surely you jest sir.

    Cory, don’t forget Belgium, Portugal, and Germany whom also oppose transparency but as Mr. Geist says, “…the Dutch believe that Denmark is the most inflexible on the issue.”

    I understand the US being there, and S. Korea (a country with whom we have had very close ties since the Korean war), even Germany I can understand wanting to keep something like this secret until all their ducks are in a row; but Denmark, Portugal, Singapore, and Belgium? WTF? Those would have been low on the list for keeping shit like this secret in my book, but maybe I don’t know enough about their political climate to completely understand their position.

    For a country to keep negotiations secret like this makes me think that what is being negotiated isn’t in our (the public) best interest; the only way to eventually get everyone on board is to obfuscate the scary parts of ACTA, and promote the tame parts that sound good for everyone.

  2. Speaking as someone who lived in Singapore for some time, I would beg to differ on expressions of disbelief. Singapore has a traditionally tough stance on piracy, and routinely imposes draconian measures to prevent it. And I’m not talking about torrents, I’m talking about *actual* piracy, physically copying dvds and such for commercial purposes. True story: I once knew a kid who copied every valid Windows XP key off of the new PCs in the school and then sold them to a WinXP pirate in Johor (the city in Malaysia just across the causeway) for something like US$50 each. Never got caught.

    Anyway, the list that is quoted sounds like a who’s who of IP holding countries, and Singapore jealously guards its IP. This doesn’t really include software but it does include incredibly valuable knowledge in vital industries like biotech, semiconductors and oil refining.

    Frankly I feel like the reason Singapore is supporting ACTA confidentiality is because it (read: the government, which is not the same as the people) recognizes that as soon as it’s in public the shit hits the fan and it has much less chance of coming into force. To speak even more frankly, the government of Singapore doesn’t give two shits about movie piracy. If it wanted to stop it immediately, it would be able to instruct the ISPs on the island, most of which are state-owned, to begin filtering immediately, and it would implement three strikes if it cared about it immediately as well. No, Singapore just wants stronger IP protection in general, and could care less about online piracy. They have to deal with REAL pirates, who are untraceable in a very real sense.

    Also, good luck with the whole call to action. to put it somewhat delicately, Singapore officials tend to take public opinion “under advisement.”

  3. Singapore?? That is no surprise, i lived there for 17 years and have always felt that the government was always trying to hide something. Singapore is a ONE political party country, that will tell you plenty. They control 82 seats out of 84 seats in the congress in Singapore. The ruling party is PAP. Many political opponents are either bankrupt or in jail (because the ruling party will sue any opposition that even dares to oppose them).

    As far as i know, there is one town that voted for the opposition and you can tell that the town is not taken care of by the budget, the roads are very bumpy there and is not maintained at a similar level as compared to the rest of the country. Just before the 2001 election, the singapore government decides to give everybody who is eligible to vote some government shares, which they can only sell or trade in after the election. The average amount was about 1200 dollars, which is about 850 US dollars per person. Everybody knew that this was a hint to vote for the PAP, or else…

    I remember a few years ago, it even allowed a media company that has powerful political connections to sue 3000 individuals, mostly children, for 15 million dollars, around 10.5 million US dollars for file sharing. The only reason the media company could have known about the downloads is through the illegal tracking of the 3000 individuals’ IP addresses. Singapore also throttles bittorrent downloads. The media company’s name is ODEX. Here is an article,'s_actions_against_file-sharing

    Hmm… Illegal tracking of IP addresses and throttling internet speed, not a very good place to live in. It might also explain the brain drain of local talents.

  4. Denmark has a very entrenched copyright lobby with a revolving door between the
    ministry of culture (responsible for copyright laws), the collecting societies, public broadscasters and the movie and music industries, so it is really no surprise coming from here that an open and transparent process isn’t favored.

    Being such a small country and with the general public ignorant or indifferent about copyright law, the legislation here is written more or less on behalf of industry or handed down from the EU without ever raising a stink. I guess that if the details about ACTA were clear it could actually start a more general debate about the whole copyright system as is taking place in neighboring Sweden.

    1. “Hey, Danes, Koreans and Singaporeans! Get cracking on this”

      what about americans?

      We Americans are already on crack, thank you.


  5. Keep those leaks coming! Woo hoo!

    Everyone who is aware if the secret ACTA negotiation should be telling everyone they know about it. The more noise the better!

    If we all talk about ACTA as much as possible on every corner of the web, be it facebook!/group.php?gid=20323922655

    or twitter

    the citizens in the recalcitant countries will hear about it and have an opportunity to complain too.

    (I’d be willing to bet that they don’t even know about it… but then a heck of a lot of my countrymen (Canadians) don’t either.)

    NOISE is needed.

  6. Something is lost in translation, cymk. The Dutch version says:

    “VK hield nog eens een groot pleidooi voor full disclosure van de documenten, situatie in EU werd onhoudbaar, nationale parlementen (en het Europees Parlement), burgers en maatschappelijke organisaties moeten geïnformeerd worden, er was niks te verbergen.

    VK drong aan dat Cie een pro-actieve houding zou aannemen en zou trachten andere partijen te overtuigen van de noodzaak om transparant te zijn. Gesteund door FIN, FRA, NL, ZWE, OOS, HON, DK, ITA, IER, POL, BEL, POR.”

    Brushing off my dusty Dutch here, I translate this to: “Once again, The United Kingdom was asking for the full disclosure of the documents, as the situation in the EU is becoming unjustifiable (?), that national parliaments (including the European parliament), citizens and organizations had to be informed, and that nothing should be hidden.

    The United Kingdom pressed the EC that it should take a pro-active stance and attempt to convince the other parties that transparency is of the highest importance, which was supported by Finland, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Hungary, Denmark, Italy, Ireland, Poland, Belgium and Portugal”.

    “NL vroeg Cie en Juridische dienst van de Raad ook naar mogelijke rechtsbasis van ACTA onder Lissabonverdrag en de mogelijke betrokkenheid van nationale parlementen bij ratificatie.”

    “The Netherlands also asked the EC and the presiding Judiciaries regarding the legality of ACTA under the Lisbon Treaty, and the possible involvement of national parliaments during ratification”.

    “ITA en POR vonden dat GI’ s er voorlopig nog bekaaid van af kwamen in de onderhandelingen”

    “Italy and Portugal consider that GI’s (?) are currently getting off lightly in the negotiations”. (I have no idea what “GI’s” here refers to… Anyone?)

    “JDvdR meldde dat rechtsbasis afhankelijk is van de uiteindelijke tekst, maar met strafrechtelijke sancties mogelijk in de tekst zou er een gemengd akkoord ontstaan.”

    “The presiding judiciaries informed that the legality (under the Lisbon Treaty) depends on the final text, but that any possible sanctions in that text had to be in accordance.”

    “DUI meldde aan het eind van dit agendapunt nog geen positie te hebben op de kwestie transparantie. VK vond dat er een consensus was en dat dus het EU standpunt gewijzigd kon worden.”

    “At the end of this agenda, Germany informed that it had not reached a decision regarding transparency. The United Kingdom assumed that there was a consensus and so the EU standpoint (regarding transparency) should be changed.”

    “Vz-schap liet weten dat de lijn was niet geïsoleerd te mogen worden op deze kwestie, dit gold nog steeds”

    “The chairman reminded that everyone had to come to an agreement about this.”

    “Er waren ook nog steeds reserves van sommige LS. BE, POR, DK en DUI zijn nog niet zover dat volledige transparantie moet worden gegeven. Leek er op dat DUI, BE en POR wel over te halen zijn, maar DK is weinig flexibel. Het interne reflectieproces was nog niet afgerond, moet wel voor de volgende ronde in NZ, aldus vz.”

    “There were still some reservations from a few (EU) member states. Belgium, Portugal, Denmark and Germany were not entirely sure about making it fully transparent. It seemed that Germany, Belgium and Portugal could be convinced, but Denmark was quite inflexible about this. The internal discussions weren’t yet finished, but they should be before the next round in New Zealand according to the chairman”.

    (Though it seems that despite Belgium, Portugal and Denmark support the UK regarding transparency, the latter speaks of *full* transparency).

    1. Yes, my bad. My post made it sound like Belgium, Portugal, and Germany were against it when in fact (even as Mr. Geist states) that are open to it. The way it sounds, they are looking for the right circumstances (maybe limited transparency?) rather than just calling for full transparency.

      According to this translation there are some conflicting reports regarding Denmark’s support of transparency.

      • UK, Finland, The Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Hungary, Ireland, and Japan support transparency

      • France & Italy, not against full disclosure if everyone agrees to it, but are concerned about U.S. position.

      • Korea and Singapore flat out oppose it.

      • U.S. has remained silent on the issue, presumably they don’t want to admit their opposition of transparency.

      • Germany, Belgium and Portugal could be persuaded to full disclosure (maybe similar to France & Italy?)

      • Denmark ? At one point in the article they are for it, then at another it sounds like they are against it. Presumably they are against it, with little-to-no room for negotiation.

      • 8 For
      • 5 Maybes
      • 3 Against
      • 1 Silent

  7. Tangentially speaking, where’s the outrage over the Italian government jailing the Google execs? You mean goo-tube has to sift through the billion+ videos to appease EU bureaucrats? So much for user generated content…

  8. I fully agree with #8 on the basic premises for the Danish inflexibility.

    Being Danish I am beginning to despair, actually. The worst thing that can happen, as this puts me smack in the middle.

    I have no real answers. Everything is awash in lies and misdirection. Real politics are moot – none existant to the public eye. Even the most party independant newspaper now has a right wing editor in chief.

    There are no REAL news. No visions. Everything is painted in bleak colors. Never “what could be the positive consequences of doing things in this NEW way?” People lock their doors like never before…

    5.5 million people. The last war was in 1864. If we discount the 5 years on the belly for Hitler and the recent participation in oil-skirmishes in Farawayistan… is how the Danes perceive it. No concept of a global world. No concept of real hunger, real famine, real need.

    No concept of anything real. Outside of Denmark only exists as TV. We are emphatically illiterate – apart from when the right emotional buttons are pushed, by professionals.

    Where to begin? Forget politics. Forget splintergroups trying to awaken the populace. Forget going door-to-door. Forget education as salvation – the time is now.

    Where to begin? What to continue? Denmark is closing its doors to the world. And as such is making the world a bAdder place.

    I WANT to remain Danish – but I am loosing touch with my culture. It is squeezing me out. Because I want a life open.

  9. i couldnt have put it better myself, what the earlier commenters have put forth about singapore.

    a call to action to singaporeans would first involve getting them off their apathetic stool, and us lesser mortals have hardly any say with matters like that to our government.

    plus, with regards to ‘getting our elected reps’ to push some weight behind the issue, please dont make me laugh. :)
    1. we dont elect our reps – or at least a very small percentage of us get to, because of the way electoral boundaries are drawn and the lack of opposition parties to contest the men in white,
    2. our elected reps have, in documented cases, laughed in the face of our poor who went to seek help from them. i can only imagine the roflmao that’ll ensue if we went to them with this.

    and dont get me started on our press.

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