Advocates Renew Calls for Transparency in ACTA process

CDT and other advocates sent a letter to President Obama today once again urging greater transparency as the US negotiates a new Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). While the administration has permitted some advocates (including my colleague David Sohn) to review the US-authored Internet portion of the current draft under strict non-disclosure rules, such limited access does not allow for full analyses of the agreement and its implications (even by other CDT staff members, much less the broader public interest community). Some leaks have surfaced which suggest that ACTA could require DMCA-style notice-and-takedown and anti-circumvention laws, or even graduated-response obligations on ISPs (see coverage here and here). The fact remains, though, that we don’t know what we don’t know, and a full discussion of whatever obligations ACTA would impose is impossible unless the Obama administration draws back the curtain on the drafting and negotiations. Any proposal that could lead to the denial of people’s Internet access—even if they have violated copyright law—would raise very serious constitutional problems under our First Amendment, and should not be even considered without a broad and open public discussion.

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