Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement - Stop it!

The US is currently involved in global negotiations in Seoul on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a great overview of ACTA, as well as discussion of recently leaked proposed text.

The most glaring problem with this treaty is that it forces Internet service providers to monitor their users for copyrighted content, and then cut off Internet service entirely for repeat offenders. ISPs are typically a local monopoly, and they have a commercial interest in pushing paid content over public domain, Creative Commons, or other user-created content. They are poor guardians of free speech and the intellectual commons.

Here's a copy of the letter I sent today to the White House. Feel free to use it to send your own letter.

Dear President Obama,

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement currently being negotiated in South Korea is terrible for America and must be stopped.

I am appalled at the gross restrictions on innovation, privacy, and free speech this proposed treaty represents. This draconian regime would crush one of the most resilient sectors of our economy, by requiring unsustainable levels of monitoring by growing services such as Facebook and Flickr. By putting enforcement in the hands of Internet service providers - local monopolies - ACTA would have a chilling effect on free speech online.

Moreover, it is appalling that your administration attempted to conduct these negotiations in secret. Not only do citizens have a right to know what their representatives are doing in their name, but it was also inevitable in this Information Age that the contents of the treaty would leaked internationally. The absurd naivete of this "secret" demonstrates the negotiators' rank unfitness to regulate Internet communications.

I urge you and members of your Administration to stand up for Americans' rights and for innovative industries, and scrap all of the Internet provisions of ACTA.

Laura Wimberley

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Libri & Libertas: Books & Freedom in a Web 2.0 World by Laura H. Wimberley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - Share Alike 3.0 United States License.