Part Three of the ACTA Guide (Part One on the agreement itself, Part Two on the official and leaked documents [update: Part Four on local effects]) focuses on the issue that has dogged the proposed agreement since it was first announced – the lack of transparency associated with the text and the talks. As yesterday's public letter from NDP MP Charlie Angus and the UK cross-party motion highlight, elected officials around the world have latched onto the transparency issue and demanded that their governments open ACTA to public scrutiny. Reviewing the ACTA transparency issue involves several elements: the public concern with ACTA secrecy, the source of the secrecy, and the analysis of whether ACTA secrecy is common when compared to other intellectual property agreements.
1. The Public Concern
Over the course of the two years since ACTA was first publicly announced (it was secretly discussed for about two years before the public unveiling), there have been repeated calls from elected officials and public interest groups to address the transparency concerns. In fact, each time portions of the ACTA text leak, the concerns grow stronger. For example, a sampling of the global call from politicians for greater transparency includes: