ACTA goes public

Michael Geist sez,

The New Zealand round of ACTA [ed: the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret copyright treaty being negotiated outside of the United Nations] negotiations concluded earlier today with participants promising to release the draft text next week. This obviously represents a major new development that reflects the mounting global pressure for greater transparency that built in the weeks leading up to the negotiations.

Since the text has already been leaked, the importance of the official release arises less from revealing what is in ACTA and more from showing how much progress has been made (the joint statement indicates "good progress"). Moreover, the released text (coming April 21st) will not attribute positions to specific countries, something that is available in the leaked text. With the official draft text released, government officials will now be able to answer specific questions about the text. Many previously declined to do so on the grounds that they would not address questions arising from unofficial or leaked documents.

ACTA Participants Agree To Release Draft Text Next Week