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ACTA

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Dear Pirate Party Members,

Negotiations over the ACTA treaty [1] are still ongoing. The negotiating partners, amongst whom the largest economies in the world can be counted, wish to achieve an effectively global trade agreement as soon as possible in 2010.

Leaked details about this agreement can be found at Wikileaks [2], at the European Digital Rights Initiative (EDRi) [3] and on the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) [4] websites. US-based Knowledge Ecology International [5] has also published extensive analyses of the known material.

Along with numerous media outlets, these NGOs have all expressed great concern regarding both the negotiation tactics and the alleged content of the treaty.

Negotiations have been kept secret from both the public and from national parliaments. The practice is corrosive to democracy and will aid the corruption of global society. The content of the treaty is shared with corporate lobbyists under the guidance of cleared advisors, but so far only one representative of civil society has been allowed to partake in the documents in the US, and then only after signing a non-disclosure agreement.

Any affected stakeholders - including the European Association of ISPs (EuroISPA) [6] and ISP's around the world - not connected with the IPR lobby have been kept outside. No stakeholder other than the IPR dependent ones has been allowed to see or comment the proposed texts. Including members of your own parliament. [7]

The treaty text closely resembles the US DMCA legislation and sets exceptionally high minimum standards for IPR protection, in direct defiance of academic reports and without any open or public debate. Negotiators are quite aware the treaty will be very difficult to reverse once signed, making the impact all that much more severe.

Prior experience with IPR-related treaties shows that controversial agreements adopted on a global or multilateral level - often in opposition to developing nations' concerns - are habitually later enforced bilaterally in negotiation with opponents that lack the economic strength to stand up against significantly stronger trade partners.

These agreements are remarkably obstructive for developing countries that do not yet have a developed IP industry. They hamper both domestic investment and industrial development in these nations. In some cases global IP issues resolved in this way have - through these trade agreements - resulted in health crimes and biopiracy.

The way in which this treaty has been negotiated should be reason enough to abolish it. But the way it also risks posing a threat to the market, diversity and industrial development in developed and developing nations alike is just as bad.

ACTA too closely resembles a corporate dictatorship, completely disregarding the sustainable development of society, civil liberties and due processes of democracy. This treaty aims to implement extreme policy changes on a global level - without the participation of either the global community, not even that of those concerned citizens who live in the negotiating countries around the world!

This matter does not just affect the Pirate Parties of the world, but also any and all organizations and individuals with a regard for democracy.

We urge you to take this matter to the public in your respective countries and stop ACTA soon. Otherwise it may very well be too late to bring an end to this madness.

Some ideas for taking action:

  • Inform the public! Publish articles in your blog and/or in the press.
  • Urge your government to take measures for process investigation - write to your local elected
    official and encourage others to do the same!
  • Call out for an [inter]national action day.
  • Address the issue in your election program/manifesto.
  • Organize a demonstration against the treaty.
  • Check your legal options for a lawsuit against the process or ACTA, ie. in the highest national court
    possible.
  • Provide free talks on ACTA for pirate party members and the general public.
  • Create and circulate informational material and leaflets to the public and the PP community.
  • Inform as many people as possible. Also, ensure the press is not distracted by the term
    "Counterfeiting" in ACTA. As Christian Engström, MEP, emphasizes [8] ACTA is primarily
    concerned with Copyright enforcement. There is more copyright related material than there is about
    counterfeiting physical products and trade marks.
  • Question the secrecy of this agreement, according to KEI, ACTA is a US national security issue?
    Question the motivation for this lack of transparency! Especially in YOUR country!
  • Demand a transparent venue! México is according to the mexican pirate party one of the most
    corrupted countries in the world, discussing ACTA here will only make the whole process more
    shady. We need a country with better transparency standards to decide the future of file-sharing and
    the internet. A place where the media is not at the service of the state or vice versa.

For all PPs involved in local elections, spread the word and use the buzz to emphasize and disseminate information about ACTA

Sincerely,

The Pirate Party International Anti-ACTA Taskforce.

David Crafti, Australia
Rodney Serkowski, Australia
David Xanatos, Austria
Germain Cabot, Belgium
Jurgen Rateau, Belgium
Bogomil Shopov, Bulgaria
Jake Daynes, Canada
Scott Elcomb, Canada
Mikulas Ferjencik, Czech Republic
Erik Ernst, Denmark
Anthony Rondel, France
Denis Germain, France
Eric Carrara, France
Florian Lauté, France
Laurent Le Besnerais, France
Ralph Hinterleitner, Germany
Thorsten Wirth, Germany
Athos Gualazzi, Italia
Marco Confalonieri, Italia
Jerry Weyer, Luxembourg
Sven Clement, Luxembourg
Conrado Romo, México
Mario Arauz, México
Samir Allioui, the Netherlands
Cristian Bulumac, Romania
Aleksandar Blagojević, Serbia
Xavi Vila, Spain
Amelia Andersdotter, Sweden
Marie Axelsson, Sweden
Mattias Bjarnemalm, Sweden
Nicolas Sahlqvist, Sweden
Ola Nyström, Sweden
Patrick Mächler, Switzerland
Will Tovey, United Kingdom
Bethany Jolly, United States
Glen Kerbein, United States
Ryan Martin, United States
Andrew Norton, United States
Marcus Kesler, United States

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Counterfeiting_Trade_Agreement
[2] http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Category:ACTA
[3] http://www.edri.org/edrigram/number7.22/acta-mobilizing-to-stop
[4] http://action.ffii.org/acta/Analysis
[5] http://keionline.org/acta
[6] http://www.euroispa.org/
[7] http://www.pressreleasepoint.com/eu-council-may-pass-acta-silently-during-parliamentary-recess
[8] http://christianengstrom.wordpress.com/2009/11/10/ip-observatory-in-juri/
http://christianengstrom.wordpress.com/2009/11/15/question-on-acta-and-the-telecoms-package/