By Michael Geist 1/27/09
Members of Parliament representing the three major UK parties have all signed onto a cross-party motion calling for greater transparency. Tom Watson (Labour), John Whittingdale (Conservative), Lindsay Hoyle (Labour), and Don Foster (Lib Democrats) have all supported the following motion:
That this House is deeply concerned by the secrecy surrounding international negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA); notes that any agreement reached could affect the measures to protect copyright online currently being debated in the Digital Economy Bill; believes that if the companies affected by the agreement are party to the discussions and able to influence decisions, parliamentarians who represent the public and are responsible for legislation in these areas should also be kept up-to-date with developments and be able to contribute to the debate; seeks assurances from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills that the provisions of the Digital Economy Bill will not be superseded by ACTA; and urges the Government to work to achieve release of details of the negotiations to hon. Members as soon as possible.
The cross-party support highlights an important aspect of ACTA and copyright policy more generally - it should be a non-partisan issue since transparency and striking the right IP balance is not a left or right, liberal or conservative issue.
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