A new class I’ve started titled, “Global Digital Media”, is having us look at the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, (ACTA). This agreement is being secretly negotiated between the US and other governments, but will likely impact all consumers of digital media. Why all the secrets?
Admittedly I had not been paying too much attention to this secretive agreement and know very little about it. In fact, nobody really knows many of the specifics since the Obama administration has said that information is, “classified in the interest of national security pursuant to Executive Order 12958“.
Efforts to gain detailed knowledge of the agreement have not been successful. In June of 2008, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, (EFF) and Public Knowledge filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for records on the treaty and the negotiations surrounding the deal. Then on June 17, 2009 the EFF decided to drop the lawsuit citing, “we’re not going to obtain information before ACTA is finalized”, due to Executive Order 12958. Knowledge on ACTA has been limited to what has come out in leaks, so it might not all be accurate.
However, what has leaked indicates that ACTA may have huge implications on copyright claims against ISPs, possibly conflicting with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, (DMCA pdf), and against consumer privacy.
My task for the class is to research, review, and analyze the available information surrounding ACTA and determine how it might impact US and foreign intellectual property law. I thought I would report some of my findings here as the outcome of the final ACTA agreement will impact all of us.
My next post will focus on who the major players are in ACTA.