US Lawmaker opens up ACTA to online comments

Issa says the trade agreement poses as big of a threat to the Internet as SOPA or PIPA

A U.S lawmaker has posted the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) online and is asking the public to comment and make changes to the copyright enforcement treaty.

Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican, posted ACTA on his Keepthewebopen.com site Tuesday. Even though the U.S. and seven other countries signed the agreement in October, the public needs to be included in the debate as President Barack Obama's administration begins to implement ACTA, Issa said.

Issa compared ACTA to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), two controversial bills that prompted widespread online protests in late 2011 and early this year.

"ACTA represents as great a threat to an open Internet as SOPA and PIPA and was drafted with even less transparency and input from digital citizens," Issa said in a statement. "This agreement was negotiated in secret and many of its vague provisions would clearly increase economic uncertainty, while imposing onerous new regulations on job creators, Internet service providers, innovators and individual Americans."

Like SOPA and PIPA, ACTA is "vague" and could create consequences that reach beyond the drafters' original intent, Issa said.

ACTA would require countries that sign it to enforce criminal copyright infringement laws and take steps to prevent counterfeit goods from entering their borders and to take actions against distributors of pirated digital goods.

As of early Tuesday afternoon, no one except Issa had commented on the site or suggested changes to ACTA. It's not clear how Issa intends to use any comments or changes suggested.

Supporters of ACTA have said the treaty is important to help protect copyright worldwide. The countries signing the agreement "all recognize that strong intellectual property protection is essential to fostering creativity and innovation in their economies, creating good jobs, increasing cultural diversity, promoting technological advances, enhancing the rule of law, and boosting legal trade in products and services protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws," the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) said in October.

ACTA will help U.S. companies protect their intellectual property, said the Office of U.S. Trade Representative. The agreement will foster "increased leadership in the international fight against counterfeiting and piracy," the agency said in October.

But Issa criticized the agreement, saying most negotiations were in secret. The deal appears to violate Congress' authority to make policy affecting U.S. trade and intellectual property law, he added.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?