ACTA Consensus on Transparency Breaks Down

The 9th round of ACTA talks concluded last week in Lucerne, Switzerland.  I briefly noted the official statement last week, but a subsequent news report makes it clear that the most important development to come out of the meeting is the breakdown of a consensus on transparency.  Following the New Zealand meeting in April, there was consensus achieved on the need to release a draft version of the text.  It is now clear that the overwhelming majority of countries favoured continuing this approach by releasing updated versions at the conclusion of subsequent meetings.  That did not happen after the Lucerne meeting, however, with both the Swiss and European Commission delegations indicating that they favoured releasing the text but that one delegation did not.  It is a safe bet that the U.S. is once again the key holdout on the transparency issue.

The report also highlights the continuing disagreement on the scope of ACTA.  While negotiators emphasized in a meeting with NGOs last week that patents have been removed from the border measures chapter, the extension of ACTA beyond copyright and trademark for the other chapters remains a central area of disagreement.  The extension is not just a patents issue – the EU, Switzerland, and Mexico all want ACTA to cover "geographic indications", a move opposed by the U.S., Canada, and many other participants.  The issue was described by the official as a "deal breaker" that will only be settled at the very end of the talks (which could come by the end of 2010).

Given the negotiators claims of progress on a number of issues (including damages), the decision to keep an updated version of the text secret represents a huge setback.  It is impossible to provide effective input given the veil of secrecy associated with this treaty and asking interested parties – including the many elected officials in countries around the world – to rely on outdated texts should be viewed as an absolute non-starter.


  1. A little advice from a old friend.
    To our American friends on the ACTA negotiation, may I quote proverb from an old acquaintance,

    “Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.”
    George Washington

  2. Anarchist Philanthropist says:

    The americans are the biggest hypocrites on the planet when it comes to copyrights. For them it’s all about making money, not caring who they step on to do it. Right now they are stepping on all of Canada and we need to amputate that foot.

  3. More founts of wisdom
    On the issue of Digital locks,

    “It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.”
    George Washington

    On the issue of Transparency,

    “Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.”
    George Washington

  4. Double Oh 32 says:

    When in Rome…
    “Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.”
    — Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, Commissioner Pravin Lal, “U.N. Declaration of Rights”

    (sounded like it fit in…)

  5. Joe Average says:

    I really don’t get it. Why haven’t they dropped the whole ACTA thing all together? How much more opposition to they need?

  6. U.S.: Would you guys mind holding off on announcing this whole “The U.S. is overriding our national sovereignty” thing just a little bit longer?

  7. …and…
    With the outcry from “developing countries” after the round 8 public disclosure, it should come as no surprise that those pushing the ACTA agenda are now pushing for less transparency. Why is the WTO not getting involved in this? It’s obvious ACTA is overstepping it’s boundaries and needs to be reined-in.

    Love the AC quote Double Oh 32.

    captcha: sources unnerved

  8. Made in the US OF A! says:

    Hint: Canada is a developing country!

  9. Bork johnson says:

    Mr. Bork Danger Johnson PHD
    If this goes through someone important is gonna get shot. Quick poll: Who’s in the States and can volunteer to scout and tap? I’ll do the killing.

  10. @Bork johnson
    Seems to me that after you get arrested, Bork, you can get a university degree while in Jail.

    But if you are caught downloading a song you can get kicked out of university now in the states as of July 1st.

    Go figure.

    See, it’s all about balance kiddo. ;)

  11. RE: Wisdom
    “But if you are caught downloading a song you can get kicked out of university now in the states as of July 1st”

    Great plan. It will just further destroy the state of education in the U.S.

  12. Rocco Bertuccu says:

    ACTA Sucks
    I am from the US, and I think ACTA is another desperate maneuver of the RIAA and MPAA to be relevant. Even with ACTA approved they are going to become irrelevant.

  13. most HATED (in caps) country in the world
    At least there is consensus here:

    Too bad Russia and China did not ask US to pay its bonds in 2009. There was a chance to collapse the U$A before their propaganda machine blames the Chinese.

  14. Francois says:

    Probably a bit much
    Okay guys, we get it. The US blows when it comes to this, but you have to realize that every citizen who has access, and knowledge to this is vehemently opposing this. So try not to lump us all together, mkay? Makes you guys seem like a bunch of howling barbarians.

  15. Well then Francois
    those americans need to sue their government, their representatives, and demand cessation for that kind of behavior. not doing anything and complaining is rather evading and dodging the responsibility.