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As a creator, consumer and constituent, I am very concerned about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) being negotiated by the Office of the United States Trade Representative. The agreement’s stated purpose was to coordinate a global effort to fight counterfeit products, but the language recently released by the U.S. Trade Representative — after two years of secrecy ridiculous — shows clearly that ACTA is an attempt to change copyright without consulting the people! This “wolf in sheep’s clothing” will do serious harm to Americans’ right to free speech and innovation on the Internet.
ACTA would set up a draconian global framework that could:
* Require Internet service providers (ISPs) to disconnect individuals accused (not convicted) of repeated copyright infringement; (no due process!)
* Require ISPs to hand over their subscribers’ identities to copyright owners without any due process or judicial oversight; (no privacy!)
* Require ISPs to make potentially expensive modifications to their networks in an effort to prevent copyright infringement; (waste for resources that should go to developing better broadband)
* Prohibit the U.S. Congress from reforming the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which makes it a crime to defeat copy protection even when making a copy is perfectly legal; (killing free speech rights)
* Require all countries to implement DMCA-like laws for their own populations, without the benefit of fair use or other legal exceptions that provide a modicum of protection for speech; (spreading the US’s anti-free speech, anti-circumvention laws to other)
* Threaten potential innovators with outrageous financial penalties for copyright infringement; and (creating a war on end users and transformative creators)
* Criminalize even non-commercial uses of copyrighted materials. (all NC use should be legal)
ACTA is being negotiated by a handful of countries behind closed doors and is on track to be finished by the end of this year. Despite its potentially far-reaching impact for consumers and the future of the open Internet, the U.S. Trade Representative has claimed that it can shut out Congressional oversight by negotiating ACTA as a “sole executive agreement” under the President’s executive power, rather than a treaty.
Please don’t be fooled by ACTA’s dishonest name. ACTA is not about trade, and it is certainly not limited to counterfeiting. ACTA goes far beyond its original mandate of fighting counterfeit products, and it should not be allowed to damage the growth and development of American innovation. I urge you to protect the American public and insist that ACTA be limited to its purported purpose — addressing counterfeit goods that pose serious health and safety concerns for consumers.
PS I personalized the text a lot EFF’s text is a little more dry and less pro transformative creator. If you want people to read it needs to be in your voice.