It seems that our US Trade Representative Office, the Bush Administration, and the Obama Administration have secretly negotiated a trade agreement known by the acronym of ACTA (Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement). In addition to the governments who were in on the secret negotiations, an advisory committee of large US-based multinational corporations was consulted on the content of the draft treaty, including the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the International Intellectual Property Alliance (which includes the Business Software Alliance, Motion Picture Association of America, and Recording Industry Association of America). Don't be fooled by the "Anti-counterfeiting" in the title, ACTA deals with intellectual property rights, like SOPA and PIPA did, but worse.
The treaty would abolish all legal oversight covering forcing an ISP to remove offending content. And it would allow foreign countries to demand, without any oversight from the US courts, ISPs in the US to remove alleged violating content or fully close the site, maybe even worse. 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.
Obama is trying to force this treaty through by some kind of executive trickery and avoid having congress ratify it. Further, the whole treaty has been kept secret, and many Freedom of Information Act requests for disclosure have been denied on the grounds of "National Security." How the hell can the violation of the copyrights of the Motion Picture Association of America, and the Recording Industry Association of America constitute a threat to "National Security?"
Please check out this short article about ACTA: ACTA link
Then read the Wikipedia entry about ACTA, either by clicking the link to it in the short article, or by clicking here
. Warning, the Wikipedia article is pretty detailed and a bit lengthy.Then, after reading about ACTA, please contact your elected officials to protest both Obama's sneaky attempts to implement ACTA (maybe congress can stop his shenanigans, and to vote against ratification if it ever comes to a vote.
Please spread the word about this secret, illegal (under US law), and unconstitutional treaty that our president is trying to subject us to.
If you still don't think ACTA, and the sneaky way they are trying to implement it is bad, or are not convinced that you might want to act against it, then consider this excerpt from the Wikipedia entry about ACTA:
Newspapers reported that the draft agreement would empower security officials at airports and other international borders 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 this case, "ex officio" means "of their own accord." Like when they feel like it, with no probable cause or reasonable suspicion. References: Pilieci, Vito (2008-05-26). "Copyright deal could toughen rules governing info on iPods, computers". Vancouver Sun.
; and Weeks, Carly (2008-05-26). "Anti-piracy strategy will help government to spy, critic says". The Globe and Mail.