ACTA Guide, Part Five: Speaking Out?

By Michael Geist 1/29/09

The 7th round of ACTA negotiations will conclude around lunch time today in Mexico. If past meetings are any indication, a few hours later the participating countries will issue a bland statement thanking the host Mexican government, discussing the progress on civil enforcement, border measures, and the Internet as well as noting the transparency discussions and the continued desire to address the issue. The release will then conclude by looking forward to the next meeting in Wellington, New Zealand in April.

As this five part series (Part One on substance, Part Two on leaks, Part Three on transparency, and Part Four on local implementations) demonstrates, however, there are ongoing concerns with both the process and substance of ACTA. From a process perspective, the negotiations remain far more secretive than other international agreements. From a substantive viewpoint, ACTA could result in dramatic reforms in many participating countries. Countering the momentum behind ACTA will require many to speak out.

Michael Geist

This admittedly feels like a daunting task given the powerful interests that are committed to seeing ACTA through. That said, many have begun to speak out. This last post starts with links to a sampling of the politicians and groups that have already made ACTA one of their issues:

Elected Officials

* Senator Ron Wyden, United States
* Senators Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown, United States
* Senators Pat Leahy and Arlen Specter, United States
* Rep. Mike Doyle, United States
* Rep. Zoe Lofgren, United States
* Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, France
* MP Tom Watson, United Kingdom
* UK Liberal Democrats party
* Minister Åsa Torstensson, Sweden
* European Parliament Resolution
* MEP Jens Holms, Sweden
* MP Clare Curran, New Zealand (second time) (third time)
* Peter Dunne, New Zealand
* MP Charlie Angus, Canada (editorial)

Public Interest Group Letters

* Library Content Alliance
* Oxfam
* EFF, Essential Action, KEI, PK, Salud y Farmacos, TACD, UAEM, PIRG
* Worldwide NGO Coalition
* European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association
* KEI and PK

So what can the general public do? One thing is to learn more and work together with groups already active on ACTA. These include:

* Public Knowledge
* OpenACTA
* IP Justice
* ACTAActionNow!
* Electronic Frontiers Australia
* La Quadrature Du Net
* Movimento ScambioEtico

Every individual concerned with ACTA can also speak out. Write to your local MP or national leader or participate in the specific activities sponsored by some of the organizations listed above. These include the EFF ACTA Action Alert, the effort to encourage UK MPs to support the cross-party motion for ACTA transparency, and the signing of the A2K ACTA Petition.

Dr. Michael Geist is a law professor at the University of Ottawa where he holds the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law. as written numerous academic articles and government reports on the Internet and law and is a columnist on technology law issues

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