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Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

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The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a proposed plurilateral agreement
Plurilateral agreement
A plurilateral agreement is an agreement between more than two countries, but not a great many, which would be multilateral agreement.-Use of the term in the World Trade Organization:...

 for the purpose of establishing international standards on intellectual property
Intellectual property
Intellectual property is a term referring to a number of distinct types of creations of the mind for which a set of exclusive rights are recognized—and the corresponding fields of law...

 rights enforcement. ACTA would establish a new international legal framework that countries can join on a voluntary basis and would create its own governing body outside existing international institutions such as the World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

 (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization
World Intellectual Property Organization
The World Intellectual Property Organization is one of the 17 specialized agencies of the United Nations. WIPO was created in 1967 "to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world"....

 (WIPO) or the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

. Negotiating countries have described it as a response "to the increase in global trade of counterfeit goods and pirated copyright protected works." The scope of ACTA includes counterfeit
Counterfeit
To counterfeit means to illegally imitate something. Counterfeit products are often produced with the intent to take advantage of the superior value of the imitated product...

 goods, generic
Generic drug
A generic drug is a drug defined as "a drug product that is comparable to brand/reference listed drug product in dosage form, strength, route of administration, quality and performance characteristics, and intended use." It has also been defined as a term referring to any drug marketed under its...

 medicines and copyright infringement
Copyright infringement
Copyright infringement is the unauthorized or prohibited use of works under copyright, infringing the copyright holder's exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works.- "Piracy" :...

 on the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

.

The idea to create a plurilateral agreement on counterfeiting was developed by Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in 2006. Canada, the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 and Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 joined the preliminary talks throughout 2006 and 2007. Official negotiations began in June 2008, with Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, the Republic of Korea and Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 joining the talks. The negotiations were classified as secret, in the US on the grounds of "damage to the national security". Apart from the participating governments, an advisory committee drawn from large US-based multinational corporations was consulted on the content of the draft treaty.

After a series of draft text leaks in 2008, 2009 and 2010, the negotiating parties published an official version of the then current draft on 20 April 2010. A new consolidated draft text, reflecting the outcome of the final (Tokyo) round of negotiations, was released on 6 October 2010. The final text was released on 15 November 2010.

A signing ceremony was held on 1 October 2011 in Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

, with the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea signing the treaty. The European Union, Mexico, and Switzerland did not sign the treaty, but "attended the ceremony and confirmed their continuing strong support for and preparations to sign the Agreement as soon as practicable". Article 39 of ACTA specifies that the agreement is open for signature until 31 March 2013.

Legal framework


ACTA would establish a new international legal framework that countries can join on a voluntary basis and would create its own governing body outside existing international institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or the United Nations. With regards to the reason for not pursuing ACTA through the G8
G8
The Group of Eight is a forum, created by France in 1975, for the governments of seven major economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1997, the group added Russia, thus becoming the G8...

, WTO, WIPO or other formal existing structures the European Commission
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

 explains that a free-standing agreement provides the most flexibility "to pursue this project among interested countries", while stating that "the membership and priorities of those organizations (G8, WTO, and WIPO) simply are not the most conducive to this kind of path breaking project." The draft treaty's title suggests that the agreement only covers infringement of patents, that is counterfeit physical goods such as medicines, however the draft treaty also covers infringement of copyright
Copyright
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...

 in the context of "Internet distribution and information technology".

An official Summary of Key Elements Under Discussion published November 2009 states that "ACTA aims to build on existing international rules in the area of intellectual property, in particular on the TRIPS Agreement
Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights is an international agreement administered by the World Trade Organization that sets down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property regulation as applied to nationals of other WTO Members...

, and is intended to address a number of enforcement issues where participants have identified that an international legal framework does not exist or needs to be strengthened." According to the European Commission, the goal of ACTA is to establish an international framework that improves the enforcement of existing intellectual property right laws. The Commission states that ACTA is to create improved international standards for actions against large-scale infringements of intellectual property. To this end ACTA will have three primary components: "international cooperation"; "enforcement practices"; and "legal framework for enforcement of intellectual property rights". The "ultimate objective" of ACTA is that large emerging economies, "where intellectual property rights enforcement could be improved, such as China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 or Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, will sign up to the global pact". The 2008 Special 301 Report
Special 301 Report
The Special 301 Report is prepared annually by the Office of the United States Trade Representative under Section 301 as amended of the Trade Act of 1974. The reports identify trade barriers to US companies and products due to the intellectual property laws, such as copyright, patents and...

published by the Office of the United States Trade Representative
Office of the United States Trade Representative
The Office of the United States Trade Representative is the United States government agency responsible for developing and recommending United States trade policy to the president of the United States, conducting trade negotiations at bilateral and multilateral levels, and coordinating trade...

 (USTR) states that "ACTA will bring together countries that recognize the critical importance of strong IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) enforcement for a prosperous economy. The ACTA is envisioned as a leadership effort among countries that will raise the international standard for IPR enforcement to address today’s challenges of counterfeiting and piracy. ACTA will build upon the Administration’s prior bilateral and regional cooperation successes."

Articles 5 and 6 of the treaty provide creation of an "ACTA committee" which may make subsequent amendments to the agreement, subject to the approval of the parties. Public review or judicial review will not be needed to create amendments. Industry representatives may have consultatory input to amendments.

First public draft — April 2010


At the 8th round of negotiations, 12–16 April 2010 in Wellington
Wellington
Wellington is the capital city and third most populous urban area of New Zealand, although it is likely to have surpassed Christchurch due to the exodus following the Canterbury Earthquake. It is at the southwestern tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range...

, New Zealand, it was agreed to release the official current draft text, which was published on 20 April 2010. As a draft the text that is still subject to negotiation, and the published draft text includes alternative wording and suggestions in brackets. The published draft text does not indicate the position of individual countries.

Chapter two of the draft agreement is the largest single chapter. The draft has six chapters:
  • Chapter 1. Initial Provisions and Definitions
  • Chapter 2. Legal Framework For Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights
  • Chapter 3. International Cooperation
  • Chapter 4. Enforcement Practices
  • Chapter 5. Institutional Arrangements
  • Chapter 6. Final Provisions

Chapter 2. Legal Framework For Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights


Chapter 2 of the draft treaty has four sections, making provisions on "Civil Enforcement", "Border Measures", "Criminal Enforcement" and "Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement in the Digital Environment".

An official Summary of Key Elements Under Discussion from November 2009 summarises the key points of discussions between negotiating countries for each of the four sections.
  • Section 1, entitled "Civil Enforcement", provides for actions that courts and other "competent authority" can take after infringement of intellectual property rights has been established. Points of discussion include "the authority of the judicial authorities to order injunctions which require that a party desist from an infringement" and "the definition of adequate damages and the question of how to determine the amount of damages, particularly when a right holder encounters difficulties in calculating the exact amount of damage it has incurred."
  • Section 2 on "Border Measures" covers "actions that customs and other competent authorities would be authorized to take to prevent goods that infringe intellectual property rights from crossing borders." Discussions are focused on "procedures that must accompany these actions", including "a de minimis
    De minimis
    De minimis is a Latin expression meaning about minimal things, normally in the locutions de minimis non curat praetor or de minimis non curat lex .In risk assessment it refers to a level of risk that is too small to be concerned with...

     exception that could permit travellers to bring goods for personal use" and arrangements for "right holders to request customs authorities to suspend the entry of goods suspected to infringe intellectual property rights at the border".
  • Section 3, entitled "Criminal Enforcement", is focused on criminal procedures and penalties. Negotiations seek to "clarify the scale of infringement necessary to qualify for criminal sanctions in cases of trademark counterfeiting and copyright and related rights piracy" and the possibility of "criminal procedures and penalties in cases of camcording motion pictures or other audiovisual works". Under discussion are also the scope of criminal penalties and whether "authorities should be empowered to take action against infringers on their own initiative... without complaint by right holders".
  • Section 4 on "Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement in the Digital Environment" is meant to address "some of the special challenges that new technologies pose for enforcement of intellectual property rights." Amongst others the negotiations for this section include discussion about the "availability of remedies" in relation to "infringing material online, including limitations on the application of those remedies to online service providers" and "the circumvention of technological protection measures
    Copy protection
    Copy protection, also known as content protection, copy obstruction, copy prevention and copy restriction, refer to techniques used for preventing the reproduction of software, films, music, and other media, usually for copyright reasons.- Terminology :Media corporations have always used the term...

    ".

Negotiations


Negotiations for the ACTA treaty are not part of any international body. According to the United States Trade Representative agency (USTR), preliminary talks about ACTA took place throughout 2006 and 2007 between United States, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, the European Commission, Japan and Switzerland. On 23 October 2007 the United States, the European Community, Switzerland and Japan simultaneously announced that they would negotiate ACTA. In June 2010 India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and China, which are not part of the negotiation, described ACTA as a "TRIPs-plus" measure, arguing that the draft agreement goes beyond the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights is an international agreement administered by the World Trade Organization that sets down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property regulation as applied to nationals of other WTO Members...

, knows as TRIPS, which was negotiated through the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Concerns that ACTA could distort trade were raised at the WTO's TRIPS council and reportedly had the backing of "the bulk of the WTO's 153 members".

Official rounds of negotiations


The idea to create a plurilateral agreement on counterfeiting was developed by Japan and the United States in 2006. The first official round of negotiations took place in Geneva during 3–4 June 2008; at that time, the following countries had joined the negotiations: Australia, the European Union, Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore and United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

. The second round of negotiations took place in Washington, DC, from 29 to 31 July 2008. The third round of negotiations was held in Tokyo on 8–9 October 2008. The following month, the European Commission stated that "There is, at this stage, no agreed text."

The fourth round of negotiations took place in Paris from 15–18 December 2008. The fifth round was hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco in Rabat
Rabat
Rabat , is the capital and third largest city of the Kingdom of Morocco with a population of approximately 650,000...

 on 16–17 July 2009. Participants in the negotiations included Australia, Canada, the European Union (represented by the European Commission, the EU Presidency (Sweden) and EU Member States), Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, and the USA. The discussions at the meeting focused on international cooperation, enforcement practices and institutional issues. Transparency was also discussed, including providing information to stakeholders and the interested public. Participants agreed to release draft agendas before all subsequent negotiation rounds. The sixth round of the ACTA negotiations was hosted by the Republic of Korea in Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

 on 4–6 November 2009. Participants in these negotiations included Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States of America. Discussions focused on enforcement in the digital environment and criminal enforcement. The seventh round of negotiations took place on 26–29 January 2010 in Guadalajara
Guadalajara
Guadalajara may refer to:In Mexico:*Guadalajara, Jalisco, the capital of the state of Jalisco and second largest city in Mexico**Guadalajara Metropolitan Area*University of Guadalajara, a public university in Guadalajara, Jalisco...

, Mexico. Participants were the same as the 6th round.

The eighth round of negotiations took place from 12–16 April 2010 in Wellington, New Zealand. Topics on the agenda were border measures, enforcement procedures in the digital environment, criminal enforcement, civil enforcement, and transparency. Confidential documents were leaked the previous March which indicated the agenda and venue, which the organisers had attempted to keep secret. Day one and two of the negotiations covered border measures and “enforcement procedures in the digital environment”, including infringement of copyright on the Internet. Criminal measures and civil enforcement were discussed on day three and four. On the last day of negotiation the issue of greater transparency was discussed. Before the start of the negotiation round New Zealand reportedly pushed for greater transparency, the European Union reportedly favoured greater transparency and the US strongly opposed the publication of the draft ACTA agreement. To coincide with the negotiation round InternetNZ
InternetNZ
InternetNZ is a non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the Internet in New Zealand and fostering a coordinated, cooperative approach to its ongoing development.- Current Councillors :The elected InternetNZ council as at 2010-04-08 are Frank March ,...

, a non-profit organisation, held a PublicACTA event on the 10 April 2010 to discuss the known and likely content of the ACTA draft agreement and to develop a statement on ACTA. At the event, the Wellington Declaration was developed by over 100 participants, and was published the following day along with a petition for its endorsement. By 13 April, it had received 6,645 signatures. The Wellington Declaration and the petition was given to the Government of New Zealand, which delivered the Declaration to the other negotiating countries. On 16 April the negotiating countries issued a joint statement that they had reached unanimous agreement to make the consolidated text, as established at that round of negotiation, available to the public by 21 April. It was also decided to not release individual negotiating positions of countries. The official current draft text was published on 20 April 2010.

The ninth round of negotiations was in Lucerne
Lucerne
Lucerne is a city in north-central Switzerland, in the German-speaking portion of that country. Lucerne is the capital of the Canton of Lucerne and the capital of the district of the same name. With a population of about 76,200 people, Lucerne is the most populous city in Central Switzerland, and...

, Switzerland from 28 June to 1 July 2010.

EU position


The European Union is represented in the negotiations by the European Commission, the EU Presidency and EU Member States.

A draft Report from 26 August 2008 by the European Commission tried to establish a mandate from the European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

 for the negotiation of ACTA. On 25 September 2008 the Council of the European Union
Council of the European Union
The Council of the European Union is the institution in the legislature of the European Union representing the executives of member states, the other legislative body being the European Parliament. The Council is composed of twenty-seven national ministers...

 adopted a resolution in support of ACTA. In November 2008 the European Commission describes ACTA as an attempt to enforce intellectual property rights and states that countries involved in the negotiations see intellectual property rights as "a key instrument for their development and innovation policies". It argues:

The proliferation of intellectual property rights (IPR) infringements poses an ever-increasing threat to the sustainable development of the world economy. It is a problem with serious economic and social consequences. Today, we face a number of new challenges: the increase of dangerous counterfeit goods (pharmaceuticals, food and drink, cosmetics or toys, car parts); the speed and ease of digital reproduction; the growing importance of the Internet as a means of distribution; and the sophistication and resources of international counterfeiters. All these factors have made the problem more pervasive and harder to tackle.


In March 2010 a leaked draft negotiation text showed that the European Commission has proposed language in ACTA to require criminal penalties for "inciting, aiding and abetting" certain offenses, including "at least in cases of wilful trademark counterfeiting and copyright or related rights piracy on a commercial scale." In a report published on the 11 March 2009 the European Parliament called on the European Commission to "immediately make all documents related to the ongoing international negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) publicly available".

The European Parliament resolution of 10 March 2010 on the transparency and state of play of the ACTA negotiations states that "according to documents leaked, the ACTA negotiations touch on, among other things, pending EU legislation regarding the enforcement of IPRs (COD/2005/0127 – Criminal measures aimed at assuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRED-II)) and the so-called "Telecoms Package
Telecoms Package
The Telecoms Reform Package is a law of the European Union, aimed at updating the EU Telecoms Rules of 2002 and unifying Europe's tele-communications market for all 27 EU member states...

" and on existing EU legislation regarding e-commerce and data protection." The resolution furthermore states, "whereas the ongoing EU efforts to harmonise IPR enforcement measures should not be circumvented by trade negotiations which are outside the scope of normal EU decision-making processes." Also, that the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRs), including patent, trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

, and copyright law, must be "accomplished in a manner that does not impede innovation or competition, undermine IPR limitations and personal data protection, restrict the free flow of information or unduly burden legitimate trade."

The resolution calls for the European Commission and the European Council to "grant public and parliamentary access to ACTA negotiation texts and summaries, in accordance with" the Lisbon Treaty and "Regulation 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents." In the resolution the European Parliament "deplores the calculated choice of the parties not to negotiate through well-established international bodies, such as WIPO and WTO, which have established frameworks for public information and consultation". The European Parliament asserts that under the Lisbon Treaty the European Commission needs to provide "immediate and full information" to the European Parliament on international treaties, such as ACTA. The resolution also "stresses that, unless Parliament is immediately and fully informed at all stages of the negotiations, it reserves its right to take suitable action, including bringing a case before the Court of Justice in order to safeguard its prerogatives".

Corporate advice through USTR


While negotiations are secret, a number of corporations are part of advisory committees of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and have access to classified documents. In September 2009 it became known that the USTR has made the text of the ACTA draft agreement selectively available outside the formal advisory board system using nondisclosure agreements. A Freedom of Information (FOIA) request
Freedom of Information Act (United States)
The Freedom of Information Act is a federal freedom of information law that allows for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States government. The Act defines agency records subject to disclosure, outlines mandatory disclosure...

 established that the following companies had signed such a nondisclosure agreement with USTR: Google
Google
Google Inc. is an American multinational public corporation invested in Internet search, cloud computing, and advertising technologies. Google hosts and develops a number of Internet-based services and products, and generates profit primarily from advertising through its AdWords program...

, eBay
EBay
eBay Inc. is an American internet consumer-to-consumer corporation that manages eBay.com, an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide...

, Dell
Dell
Dell, Inc. is an American multinational information technology corporation based in 1 Dell Way, Round Rock, Texas, United States, that develops, sells and supports computers and related products and services. Bearing the name of its founder, Michael Dell, the company is one of the largest...

, the Business Software Alliance
Business Software Alliance
The Business Software Alliance is a trade group established in 1988 and representing a number of the world's largest software makers and is a member of the International Intellectual Property Alliance...

, News Corporation
News Corporation
News Corporation or News Corp. is an American multinational media conglomerate. It is the world's second-largest media conglomerate as of 2011 in terms of revenue, and the world's third largest in entertainment as of 2009, although the BBC remains the world's largest broadcaster...

, Sony Pictures, Time Warner
Time Warner
Time Warner is one of the world's largest media companies, headquartered in the Time Warner Center in New York City. Formerly two separate companies, Warner Communications, Inc...

, the Motion Picture Association of America
Motion Picture Association of America
The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. , originally the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America , was founded in 1922 and is designed to advance the business interests of its members...

 and Verizon. The USTR has invited a number of industry groups composed of traditional large intellectual property based corporations to give input and suggestions during the drafting of ACTA. These groups include the International Intellectual Property Alliance
International Intellectual Property Alliance
The International Intellectual Property Alliance , formed in 1984, is a private sector coalition of seven trade associations representing U.S...

 (which includes the Business Software Alliance (BSA), Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA or MPA), and Recording Industry Association of America
Recording Industry Association of America
The Recording Industry Association of America is a trade organization that represents the recording industry distributors in the United States...

 (RIAA)) and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America , founded in 1958, is a trade group representing the pharmaceutical research and biopharmaceutical companies in the United States. PhRMA's stated mission is advocacy for public policies that encourage the discovery of new medicines for patients...

. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) supports the agreement, and has given input and suggestions to the creation of ACTA.

Notable leaks


The negotiations for the ACTA treaty were conducted behind closed doors until a series of leaked documents relating to the negotiations emerged.

Discussion paper — May 2008


On 22 May 2008, a discussion paper about the proposed agreement was uploaded to Wikileaks
Wikileaks
WikiLeaks is an international self-described not-for-profit organisation that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources, news leaks, and whistleblowers. Its website, launched in 2006 under The Sunshine Press organisation, claimed a database of more...

. According to the discussion paper a clause in the draft agreement would allow governments to shut down websites associated with non-commercial copyright infringement, which was termed "the Pirate Bay killer" in the media. According to the leaked discussion paper the draft agreement would also set up an international agency that could force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to provide information about subscribers suspected of copyright infringers without a warrant
Warrant (law)
Most often, the term warrant refers to a specific type of authorization; a writ issued by a competent officer, usually a judge or magistrate, which permits an otherwise illegal act that would violate individual rights and affords the person executing the writ protection from damages if the act is...

.

In reaction to the leaks, the European Commission issued a statement in November 2008, stating:
The negotiations are still ongoing. This means that there is no agreement yet, and that, at the time of writing this fact sheet, there is not even a draft text on which negotiating parties converge. A number of "texts", wrongly presented as draft ACTA agreements have been circulated on the web. At a preliminary stage of the discussions about the idea of a future ACTA, some of the negotiating parties have submitted concept papers, to present their initial views of the project to other partners. Some of these concept papers have been circulated on the net or commented in the press and presented as "draft ACTA texts or negotiating guidelines", which they are not.

Institutional arrangements, Canadian proposal June 2008


In a confidential draft Canada proposed the creation of an international organization for ACTA oversight. The proposed name is ACTA Oversight Council and its functions would include:
  • supervising ACTA implementation (and also considering amendments, interpretations, and modifications)
  • establishing and delegating responsibilities to ad hoc working groups
  • assisting with resolving any disputes that may arise regarding the interpretation of application of ACTA
  • ensuring that ACTA avoids duplication of other international efforts regarding IP enforcement
  • seeking input from non-governmental persons or groups, particularly with respect to best practices in the field of intellectual property enforcement
  • endorsing best practice guidelines for implementing ACTA
  • supporting the efforts of international organizations active in the field of intellectual property enforcement
  • assisting non-Party governments with developing assessments of the benefits of accession to ACTA; and
  • adopting its own rules of procedure.

Main chapters — February 2009


Details published in February 2009 indicate that the ACTA has six main chapters. Most discussion to date is focused on the "Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights" (IPR) chapter 2, which has four sections:
  1. Initial Provisions and Definitions
  2. Enforcement of IPR
    1. Civil Enforcement
    2. Border Measures
    3. Criminal Enforcement
    4. Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement in the Digital Environment
  3. International Cooperation
  4. Enforcement Practices
  5. Institutional Arrangements
  6. Final Provisions

Consolidated text — March 2010


On 23 March 2010, the entire "January 18th 2010 consolidated text" of sections 2.1 and 2.4 (Civil Enforcement, and Special Measures Related To Technological Enforcement Means And The Internet) along with the demands of each negotiator. This was immediately called the "biggest ever" ACTA leak.

Updated consolidated text — July 2010


The full consolidated text of the proposed ACTA, dated 1 July 2010, comes apparently from the civil liberties committee
Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs is a standing committee of the European Parliament.-External links:*...

 (LIBE) of the European Parliament.

It provides the full text from the Luzern round of negotiations, including the name of the negotiating parties along with their positions.

Revised "final" agreement — November 2010


The revised and presumedly final text, dated 15 November 2010, was leaked on 16 November 2010 by several websites.

Border searches


Potential border searches are covered by the "Border Measures" proposal of ACTA. As of February 2009, and according to University of Ottawa
University of Ottawa
The University of Ottawa is a bilingual, research-intensive, non-denominational, international university in Ottawa, Ontario. It is one of the oldest universities in Canada. It was originally established as the College of Bytown in 1848 by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate...

 law professor Michael Geist
Michael Geist
Michael Allen Geist is a Canadian academic, and the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law at the University of Ottawa. Geist was educated at the University of Western Ontario where he received his Bachelors of Laws before going on to get his Masters of Laws at both Osgoode Hall Law...

, there is significant disagreement among countries on this topic: "Some countries are seeking the minimum rules, the removal of certain clauses, and a specific provision to put to rest fears of iPod searching customs officials by excluding personal baggage that contains goods of a non-commercial nature. The U.S. is pushing for broad provisions that cover import, export, and in-transit shipments." Newspapers reported that the draft agreement would empower security officials at airport
Airport
An airport is a location where aircraft such as fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and blimps take off and land. Aircraft may be stored or maintained at an airport...

s and other international border
International Border
The India–Pakistan Border , known locally as the International Border , is the international boundary between India and Pakistan that demarcates the Indian states of Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat from the Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Sindh. Pakistan borders India in the east. The border...

s to conduct random ex officio searches of laptops, MP3 players, and cellular phones for illegally downloaded or "ripped" music and movies. Travellers with infringing content would be subject to a fine and may have their devices confiscated or destroyed.

In July 2008, the United States Department of Homeland Security
United States Department of Homeland Security
The United States Department of Homeland Security is a cabinet department of the United States federal government, created in response to the September 11 attacks, and with the primary responsibilities of protecting the territory of the United States and protectorates from and responding to...

 disclosed that its border search policies allow U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is a federal law enforcement agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security charged with regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, and enforcing U.S. regulations, including trade, customs and immigration. CBP is the...

 agents to conduct random searches of electronic devices for "information concerning terrorism, narcotics smuggling, and other national security matters; alien admissibility; contraband including child pornography, monetary instruments, and information in violation of copyright or trademark laws; and evidence of embargo violations or other import or export control laws." US Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 Russell Feingold called the policies "truly alarming" and proposed to introduce legislation to require reasonable suspicion of illegality and to prohibit racial profiling
Racial profiling
Racial profiling refers to the use of an individual’s race or ethnicity by law enforcement personnel as a key factor in deciding whether to engage in enforcement...

. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is a U.S. federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts:* District of Alaska* District of Arizona...

 has previously upheld the constitutionality of laptop searches without reasonable suspicion
Reasonable suspicion
Reasonable suspicion is a legal standard of proof in United States law that is less than probable cause, the legal standard for arrests and warrants, but more than an "inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or 'hunch' ";...

 at border crossings.

An ACTA fact sheet updated in November 2008, published by the European Commission, states:
ACTA is not designed to negatively affect consumers: the EU legislation (2003 Customs Regulation) has a de minimis clause that exempts travellers from checks if the infringing goods are not part of large scale traffic. EU customs, frequently confronted with traffics of drugs, weapons or people, do neither have the time nor the legal basis to look for a couple of pirated songs on an i-Pod music player or laptop computer, and there is no intention to change this.

G8 position


Published in July 2008, paragraph 17 of the G8 Leaders' Communiqué on the World Economy (G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit
34th G8 summit
The 34th G8 summit took place in on the northern island of Hokkaidō, Japan from July 7–9, 2008. The locations of previous summits to have been hosted by Japan include: Tokyo ; and Nago, Okinawa . The G8 Summit has evolved beyond being a gathering of world political leaders...

) states, under the heading "Protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)", that:
Effective promotion and protection of IPR are critical to the development of creative products, technologies and economies. We will advance existing anti-counterfeiting and piracy initiatives through, inter alia, promoting information exchange systems amongst our authorities, as well as developing non-binding Standards to be Employed by Customs for Uniform Rights Enforcement (SECURE) at the World Customs Organization. We encourage the acceleration of negotiations to establish a new international legal framework, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), and seek to complete the negotiation by the end of this year. We will promote practical cooperation between our countries to develop tools to combat new techniques in counterfeiting and piracy and spread best practices. We reaffirm our commitment on government use of software in full compliance with the relevant international agreements and call on other countries to follow our commitment.

Secrecy of negotiations


The Electronic Frontier Foundation
Electronic Frontier Foundation
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is an international non-profit digital rights advocacy and legal organization based in the United States...

 (EFF) opposes ACTA, calling for more public spotlight on the proposed treaty. Since May 2008 discussion papers and other documents relating to the negotiation of ACTA have been uploaded to Wikileaks, and newspaper reports about the secret negotiations swiftly followed.

In June 2008, Canadian academic Michael Geist, writing for Copyright News, argued that "Government Should Lift Veil on ACTA Secrecy", noting that before documents leaked on the Internet, ACTA was shrouded in secrecy. Coverage of the documents by the Toronto Star
Toronto Star
The Toronto Star is Canada's highest-circulation newspaper, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Its print edition is distributed almost entirely within the province of Ontario...

 "sparked widespread opposition as Canadians worry about the prospect of a trade deal that could lead to invasive searches of personal computers and increased surveillance of online activities." Geist argued that public disclosure of the draft ACTA treaty "might put an end to fears about iPod searching border guards" and that it "could focus attention on other key concerns including greater Internet service provider filtering of content, heightened liability for websites that link to allegedly infringing content, and diminished privacy for Internet users." Geist also argued that greater transparency would lead to a more inclusive process, highlighting that the ACTA negotiations have excluded both civil society groups as well as developing countries. Geist reported that "reports suggest that trade negotiators have been required to sign non-disclosure agreements for fear of word of the treaty's provisions leaking to the public." He argued that there is a need for "cooperation from all stakeholders to battle counterfeiting concerns" and that "an effective strategy requires broader participation and regular mechanisms for feedback".

In November 2008 the European Commission responded to these allegations as follows:

It is alleged that the negotiations are undertaken under a veil of secrecy. This is not correct. For reasons of efficiency, it is only natural that intergovernmental negotiations dealing with issues that have an economic impact, do not take place in public and that negotiators are bound by a certain level of discretion. However, there has never been any intention to hide the fact that negotiations took place, or to conceal the ultimate objectives of the negotiations, the positions taken in European Commission Trade 5/6 the negotiations or even details on when and where these negotiations are taking place.
The EU and other partners (US, Japan, Canada, etc.) announced their intention to start negotiations of ACTA on 23 October 2007, in well publicised press releases. Since then we have talked about ACTA on dozens of occasions, including at the European Parliament (INTA committee meetings), and in numerous well attended seminars. Commission organised a stakeholders' consultation meeting on 23 June in Brussels, open to all – industry and citizens and attended by more than 100 participants. US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other ACTA partners did the same.

Threats to freedom and fundamental human rights


An open letter signed by many organizations, including Consumers International
Consumers International
Consumers International is the world federation of consumer groups that serves as the only independent and authoritative global voice for consumers...

, EDRi (27 European civil rights and privacy NGOs), the Free Software Foundation
Free Software Foundation
The Free Software Foundation is a non-profit corporation founded by Richard Stallman on 4 October 1985 to support the free software movement, a copyleft-based movement which aims to promote the universal freedom to create, distribute and modify computer software...

 (FSF), the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), ASIC (French trade association for web 2.0 companies), and the Free Knowledge Institute
Free Knowledge Institute
The Free Knowledge Institute is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2006 in The Netherlands. Inspired by the Free Software movement, the FKI fosters the free exchange of knowledge in all areas of society by promoting freedom of use, modification, copying and distribution of knowledge in four...

 (FKI), states that "the current draft of ACTA would profoundly restrict the fundamental rights and freedoms of European citizens, most notably the freedom of expression and communication privacy." The Free Software Foundation
Free Software Foundation
The Free Software Foundation is a non-profit corporation founded by Richard Stallman on 4 October 1985 to support the free software movement, a copyleft-based movement which aims to promote the universal freedom to create, distribute and modify computer software...

 argues that ACTA will create a culture of surveillance and suspicion. Aaron Shaw, Research Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society
Berkman Center for Internet & Society
The Berkman Center for Internet & Society is a research center at Harvard University that focuses on the study of cyberspace. Founded at Harvard Law School, the center traditionally focused on internet-related legal issues. On May 15, 2008, the Center was elevated to an interfaculty initiative of...

 at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

, argues that "ACTA would create unduly harsh legal standards that do not reflect contemporary principles of democratic government, free market exchange, or civil liberties. Even though the precise terms of ACTA remain undecided, the negotiants' preliminary documents reveal many troubling aspects of the proposed agreement" such as removing "legal safeguards that protect Internet Service Providers from liability for the actions of their subscribers" in effect giving ISPs no option but to comply with privacy invasions. Shaw further says that "[ACTA] would also facilitate privacy violations by trademark and copyright holders against private citizens suspected of infringement activities without any sort of legal due process".

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has published "Speak out against ACTA", stating that the ACTA threatens free software by creating a culture "in which the freedom that is required to produce free software is seen as dangerous and threatening rather than creative, innovative, and exciting." ACTA would also require that existing ISPs no longer host free software that can access copyrighted media; this would substantially affect many sites that offer free software or host software projects such as SourceForge
SourceForge
SourceForge Enterprise Edition is a collaborative revision control and software development management system. It provides a front-end to a range of software development lifecycle services and integrates with a number of free software / open source software applications .While originally itself...

. Specifically the FSF argues that ACTA will make it more difficult and expensive to distribute free software via file sharing
File sharing
File sharing is the practice of distributing or providing access to digitally stored information, such as computer programs, multimedia , documents, or electronic books. It may be implemented through a variety of ways...

 and P2P
Peer-to-peer
Peer-to-peer computing or networking is a distributed application architecture that partitions tasks or workloads among peers. Peers are equally privileged, equipotent participants in the application...

 technologies like BitTorrent, which are currently used to distribute large amounts of free software. The FSF also argues that ACTA will make it harder for users of free operating systems to play non-free media because DRM
Digital rights management
Digital rights management is a class of access control technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals with the intent to limit the use of digital content and devices after sale. DRM is any technology that inhibits uses of digital content that...

 protected media would not be legally playable with free software.

On 10 March 2010, the European Parliament adopted a resolution criticizing the ACTA with 663 in favor of the resolution and 13 against, arguing that "in order to respect fundamental rights, such as the right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy" certain changes in the ACTA content and the process should be made.

Legal scope


Nate Anderson with Ars Technica
Ars Technica
Ars Technica is a technology news and information website created by Ken Fisher and Jon Stokes in 1998. It publishes news, reviews and guides on issues such as computer hardware and software, science, technology policy, and video games. Ars Technica is known for its features, long articles that go...

 pointed out that ACTA encourages service providers to collect and provide information about suspected infringers by giving them "safe harbor from certain legal threats". Similarly, it provides for criminalization of copyright infringement, granting law enforcement the powers to perform criminal investigation, arrests and pursue criminal citations or prosecution of suspects who may have infringed on copyright. It also allows criminal investigations and invasive searches to be performed against individuals for whom there is no probable cause, and in that regard weakens the presumption of innocence and allows what would in the past have been considered unlawful searches.

Since ACTA is an international treaty, it is an example of policy laundering
Policy Laundering
The term policy laundering is used to describe means to disguise the origin of political decisions, laws or international treaties. The term is based on the similar money laundering.- Hiding responsibility for a policy or decision :...

 used to establish and implement legal changes. Policy laundering allows legal provisions to be pushed through via closed negotiations among private members of the executive bodies of the signatories. This method avoids use of public legislation and its judiciary oversight. Once ratified, companies belonging to non-members may be forced to follow the ACTA requirements since they will otherwise fall out of the safe harbor protections. Also, the use of trade incentives and the like to persuade other nations to adopt treaties is a standard approach in international relationships. Additional signatories would have to accept ACTA's terms without much scope for negotiation.

From 16–18 June 2010, a conference was held at the Washington College of Law
Washington College of Law
American University Washington College of Law is the law school of American University. It is located on Massachusetts Avenue in the Spring Valley neighborhood of northwest Washington. WCL is ranked 50th among law schools by US News and World Report...

, attended by "over 90 academics, practitioners and public interest organizations from six continents". Their conclusions were published on 23 June 2010 on the American University Washington College of Law website. They found "that the terms of the publicly released draft of ACTA threaten numerous public interests, including every concern specifically disclaimed by negotiators." A group of 75+ law professors has signed a letter to President Obama demanding a host of changes to the agreement. The letter alleges that no meaningful transparency has been in evidence.

Requests for disclosure


In September 2008 a number of interest groups urged parties to the ACTA negotiations to disclose the language of the evolving agreement. In an open letter the groups argued that: "Because the text of the treaty and relevant discussion documents remain secret, the public has no way of assessing whether and to what extent these and related concerns are merited." The interest groups included: the Consumers Union
Consumers Union
Consumers Union is a non-profit organization best known as the publisher of Consumer Reports, based in the United States. Its mission is to "test products, inform the public, and protect consumers."...

, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Essential Action, IP Justice
IP Justice
IP Justice is an international civil liberties organization that promotes balanced intellectual property laws and freedom of expression in a digital world.IP Justice was founded in 2002 by cyber-rights attorney Robin Gross...

, Knowledge Ecology International, Public Knowledge
Public Knowledge
Public Knowledge is a non-profit Washington, D.C.-based public interest group that is involved in intellectual property law, competition, and choice in the digital marketplace, and an open standards/end-to-end internet....

, Global Trade Watch
Global Trade Watch
Global Trade Watch was founded by Lori Wallach in 1995 as a division of the U.S.-based advocacy group Public Citizen that monitors the World Trade Organization and other trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Central America Free Trade Agreement...

, the US Public Interest Research Group, IP Left (Korea), the Canadian Library Association
Canadian Library Association
The Canadian Library Association is a national, predominantly English-language association which represents 57,000 library workers across the country. It also speaks for the interests of the 21 million Canadians who are members of libraries...

, the Consumers Union of Japan, the National Consumer Council (UK) and the Doctors without Borders' Campaign for Essential Medicines. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Public Knowledge have filed a FOIA request which was denied.

Australia


A coalition of concerned organisations submitted to the responsible Australian Government department, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Australia)
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is a department of the government of Australia charged with advancing the interests of Australia and its citizens internationally...

.

The submission agreed that reducing counterfeiting is important where it endangers consumer health or safety, or constitutes commercial scale infringement. However, the coalition urged that pursuit of that goal should not threaten legitimate commercial, social, innovative and creative activities, the rights of consumers or the free flow of information. The coalition noted the current proposed treaty raised serious concerns with respect to transparency, increased customs search powers, increased penalties for IP infringement, and lack of due process.

The coalition consisted of:
  • the Australian Digital Alliance
    Australian Digital Alliance
    The Australian Digital Alliance is an Australian non-profit coalition of public and private sector interests, formed to promote balanced copyright law by providing a voice for the public interest perspective in debates about copyright change and reform...

     – a public interest copyright organisation advocating for an appropriately balanced copyright regime;
  • the Australian Library and Information Association
    Australian Library and Information Association
    The Australian Library and Information Association is the peak professional organisation for the Australian library and information services sector....

     – the peak professional organisation for the Australian library and information services sector;
  • Choice – a not-for-profit consumer organisation that campaigns on behalf of Australian consumers; and
  • the Internet Industry Association – Australia's national Internet industry organisation that provides policy input to government and advocacy on a range of issues.

Canada


The University of Ottawa's Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic filed an access to information request
Freedom of information legislation
Freedom of information legislation comprises laws that guarantee access to data held by the state. They establish a "right-to-know" legal process by which requests may be made for government-held information, to be received freely or at minimal cost, barring standard exceptions...

 but received only a document stating the title of the agreement, with everything else blacked out.

European Union


In November 2008, the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure
Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure
The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure or FFII is a non-profit organisation based in Munich, Germany, dedicated to establishing a free market in information technology, by the removal of barriers to competition...

 (FFII) requested secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) documents from the EU Council, specifically naming 12 documents to be published. The request was denied by the EU council, stating that "disclosure of this information could impede the proper conduct of the negotiations, would weaken the position of the European Union in these negotiations and might affect relations with the third parties concerned". In March 2009, the European Parliament passed a resolution demanding greater transparency in public affairs, which among other things called on the European Commission to make public all documents relating to the negotiations.

New Zealand


In August 2009 a coalition of NGOs and individuals formed to request more transparency in ACTA negotiations. At briefings held by the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) on 16 December 2009, representatives from the coalition organisations supported the New Zealand negotiators stated desire to call for more transparency. In December 2009 two New Zealand members of Parliament, Clare Curran (Labour) and Peter Dunne (United Future) also publicly questioned the need for secrecy.

In March 2010, Tech Liberty, a NZ digital civil rights organisation, received a response to its Official Information Act request on ACTA. It was given letters from MED and MFAT plus the May 2008 cabinet paper in which the NZ government agreed to participate in ACTA. Portions of the cabinet paper, and answers to questions posed by TechLiberty, were withheld including the venue for the April 2010 ACTA negotiations, the cabinet discussion paper on participation in ACTA, and all copies of draft negotiation texts, and all documents expressing NZ's negotiating position. This information was withheld under Official Information Act
Official Information Act 1982
The Official Information Act 1982 is a New Zealand law passed by the 3rd National government in 1982 to "make official information more freely available, to provide for proper access by each person to official information relating to that person, to protect official information to the extent...

 provisions allowing for withholding of information where it would prejudice the international relations of the Government of New Zealand, where it would affect the privacy of natural persons, where it was required to maintain the effective conduct of public affairs, and where withholding information was required to enable the government to carry on negotiations (including commercial and industrial negotiations).

In the months before the 8th round of ACTA negotiations took place in April 2010, the Government of New Zealand briefed media that they are now championing greater transparency in the negotiation.

United States


Both the Bush administration and the Obama administration had rejected requests to make the text of ACTA public, with the White House saying that disclosure would cause "damage to the national security." In 2009, Knowledge Ecology International filed a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request in the United States, but their entire request was denied. The Office of the United States Trade Representative's Freedom of Information office stated the request was withheld for being material "properly classified in the interest of national security." US Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Bernie Sanders
Bernard "Bernie" Sanders is the junior United States Senator from Vermont. He previously represented Vermont's at-large district in the United States House of Representatives...

 and Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Sherrod Brown
Sherrod Campbell Brown is the senior United States Senator from Ohio and a member of the Democratic Party. Before his election to the U.S. Senate, he was a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Ohio's 13th congressional district from 1993 to 2007...

 penned a letter on 23 November 2009, asking the United States Trade Representative to make the text of the ACTA public.

See also


Related treaties and laws
  • Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
    Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
    The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights is an international agreement administered by the World Trade Organization that sets down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property regulation as applied to nationals of other WTO Members...

  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act
    Digital Millennium Copyright Act
    The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization . It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control access to...

  • Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership
    Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership
    The Trans-Pacific Partnership , also known as the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, is a multilateral free trade agreement that aims to further liberalise the economies of the Asia-Pacific region; specifically, Article 1.1.3 notes: “The Parties seek to support the wider...

  • Proposed directive on criminal measures aimed at ensuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRED2)
  • Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act
    Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act
    United States Senate Bill S.3804, known as the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act was a bill introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy on September 20, 2010...

     proposal to disable domain names without requiring a court order
  • Protection of Broadcasts and Broadcasting Organizations Treaty
    Protection of Broadcasts and Broadcasting Organizations Treaty
    The WIPO Protection of Broadcasts and Broadcasting Organizations Treaty or the Broadcast Treaty is a treaty designed to afford broadcasters some control and copyright-like control over the content of their broadcasts...

  • World Customs Organization draft SECURE treaty


Related organizations
  • Directorate-General for Information Society and Media (European Commission)
    Directorate-General for Information Society and Media (European Commission)
    EU Directorate General Information Society and Media or "DG Infso" is a Directorate-General of the European Commission.The current European Commissioner for Digital Agenda is Neelie Kroes and the Director-General is Robert Madelin....

  • European Round Table of Industrialists
    European Round Table of Industrialists
    The European Round Table of Industrialists was born out of a growing preoccupation with thestate of the European economy in the early 1980s. Frequently diagnosed as “eurosclerosis”, the...

  • World Intellectual Property Organization
    World Intellectual Property Organization
    The World Intellectual Property Organization is one of the 17 specialized agencies of the United Nations. WIPO was created in 1967 "to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world"....

  • World Intellectual Wealth Organisation
    World Intellectual Wealth Organisation
    A World Intellectual Wealth Organization has been proposed as an alternative to the World Intellectual Property Organization. It would be dedicated to the research and promotion of novel and imaginative ways to encourage the production and dissemination of knowledge in ways that enrich...

  • World Summit on the Information Society
    World Summit on the Information Society
    The World Summit on the Information Society was a pair of United Nations-sponsored conferences about information, communication and, in broad terms, the information society that took place in 2003 in Geneva and in 2005 in Tunis...



Related topics
  • Copyright
    Copyright
    Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...

  • Copyright infringement
    Copyright infringement
    Copyright infringement is the unauthorized or prohibited use of works under copyright, infringing the copyright holder's exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works.- "Piracy" :...

  • Counterfeit
    Counterfeit
    To counterfeit means to illegally imitate something. Counterfeit products are often produced with the intent to take advantage of the superior value of the imitated product...

  • Generic medicines
  • Digital rights
    Digital rights
    The term digital rights describes the permissions of individuals legitimately to perform actions involving the use of a computer, any electronic device, or a communications network...

  • Information freedom
  • Secondary liability
    Secondary liability
    Secondary liability, or indirect infringement, arises when a party materially contributes to, facilitates, induces, or is otherwise responsible for directly infringing acts carried out by another party. The US has statutorily codified secondary liability rules for trademarks and patents; however,...

  • Special 301 Report
    Special 301 Report
    The Special 301 Report is prepared annually by the Office of the United States Trade Representative under Section 301 as amended of the Trade Act of 1974. The reports identify trade barriers to US companies and products due to the intellectual property laws, such as copyright, patents and...


External links


Official ACTA sites

Other sites