ACTA Guide, Part Five: Speaking Out

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. 

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

Public Interest Group Letters

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

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


  1. why no opposition
    So my local MP Jeremy Hunt is UK Opposition front bench lead on this issue. Meeting him next week to ask WTF? Why is he supporting this?

  2. ORG – UK
    Also – suggest add Open Rights Group to your list

  3. Having just read the statement
    at the GoC’s website, the relevant words with respect to transparency is “meaningful public input”. The problem is that some, at least, of the negotiating parties seem to think that “meaningful public input” simply means the pro-IP lobby, with little to no counter-claims from consumers groups (at least none that I’ve heard of) to provide some balance.

    We know that the USTR, as the US government’s representative at the talks, doesn’t seem to consider “meaningful public input” to include the unwashed masses, so the question is which, if any, other governments are taking the same approach; given the pressure that more and more of the participating governments are under to, at the very least, provide periodic snapshots of the negotiations, it would be interesting to be a fly on the wall in the room.

  4. You may add Pirate Party to that list to; we are strongly in favor of openness and transparency.

  5. Graham Scott says:

    I wrote my MP… Nothing back yet.
    Hey there, Michael!

    Thanks for helping us through this. We really appreciate it, especially here in Edmonton, Alberta where Big Business is the focus for every MP, and the individual gets hosed.

    I wrote a letter to my MP, James Rajotte yesterday, and I have not heard a single word back, not even a standard form email saying they got my email and thanks for your interest in their government.

    My question is, and I’ll attach the letter at the bottom to show what I’ve actually written to see if it’s effective. I have also 2 other people who’ve signed and sent the email to their respective MP’s.


    This message is geared towards MP James Rajotte, however I understand many other people will read this until it gets to him.

    First off, I am a supporter of a free world. I am not supportive of a government who does back room deals in Guadalajara and claims to be supporting ‘Fair Use Policies’.

    Now, as we’re all aware, Prime Minister Harper, is definitely not Prime; nor can I recognize him as our Minister. I feel it’s atrocious what he’s doing to serve the interests of Big Business, all while attempting to remove rights to the individuals.

    We’ve turn from the friendly country which respects individual human rights, to the Not-so-eloquent country that preys on its citizens for interest into companies which seek profit, instead of helping our communities.

    Attached is an excerpt from Micheal Geist, Copyfighter, Domestic Pariah, and All around good guy. If he was running for Parliament, He would get my vote. Not a bunch of stiff goons who bend to international business demands.

    “Questions about ACTA typically follow a familiar pattern – what is it (Part One of the ACTA Guide), do you have evidence (Part Two), why is this secret (Part Three), followed by what would ACTA do to my country’s laws? This fourth question is the subject of this post, Part Four of the ACTA Guide. The answer is complex since the impact of ACTA will differ for each participating country: some will require limited reforms, others very significant reforms, and yet others (particularly those not even permitted to participate) complete overhauls of their domestic laws.”

    So, Mr. Rajotte, Why is your elected party leader doing all this in secret?

    Why is our technology sector lacking in proper communications protocols which are constantly on the rise in foreign countries, as we fall behind the technological curve? I mean, sure, We have a nanotech depot at the U of A. That’s awesome. We’ve cured type 2 diabetes, f’n eh!
    But we’re setting up laws that make people criminals, exclude them from societal norms, and force them to be further involved in the denigration of our society based upon laws that have no actual premise in our Human Civilization. Why are we forced to pay exorbitant mobile wireless fees, Why must we disallow competition in the marketplace for broadband connections, when they want to limit our access on a network based around freedom?

    I for one, will never EVER vote for you, or your Conservative Party, especially if you continue to let your so-called leader hold up parliamentary process for a better time for him to take another lead in the polls and call an all expense paid vote.

    Our Country is becoming the True North, Weak and Fee’d. I will not stand for this. I have grown up in this country, never once have I been held up by gunpoint by somebody who needs internet access. Never once have I been raped by somebody who downloads a movie from the internet. Never once has a member of my family been dismembered and disemboweled because I have an iPod. So why are there these arbitrary rules set in place to restrict the citizen and free profit-hungry businesses onto the masses to rape, pillage and disembowel our freedom.

    Please, Leave your party and join one that cares about the people. Become an independent if you cannot find or resolve these issues. I am your voter, these are my (and many others) demands.


    Graham Scott
    Edmonton Alberta
    780-448-1837 EXT. 209 (830-500 Pm M-F)
    ******** (Home)

    Is this effective?

    Please, feel free to email me at


  6. To Geist
    There was talk a while back about actually looking into the legal issues surrounding these negotiations, and whether these negotiations taking place are legal in Canada without public input, due to the scope of how this will effect public policy in Canada. Is there a way to stop this from going forward in court? Has the CIPPIC looked into this at all?

  7. Louise Ferguson says:

    Founding Chair, Open Rights Group
    Can I suggest adding Open Rights Group in the UK to your list? We work very actively on this area, and Tom Watson MP (on your elected officials list) is on our Advisory Council, as of last year.

  8. Bc33KIMBERLEY says:

    There’re a lot of ways to know something about this good post. People would without the problems go to freelance writer and notice the facts , which used to be required!

  9. What should be discussed at ACTA
    Here is a recent article by Lawrence Lessig

    It concisely presents the issues that our society faces today.

    This is the kind of thing that *should* on the negotiating table at ACTA and the EC trade negotiations. And I doubt there would be any need for secrecy if these were the kinds of issues being discussed.

  10. RE:
    Awesome article, I greatly enjoyed it. It is truly sad to see no one considering this aspect when discussing copyright laws.

  11. @Exenteth
    I agree. It’s culturally tragic that society has better access to written books than it does to the rich multi-media heritage of the last 50-70 years. How much have we already lost – perhaps forever?

    I have been thinking of the future, in terms of “if this goes on”, as we move more into the digital age. It’s well within the realm of possibility that in 10-20 years the only publicly accessible source for many of today’s digital works, might be some “pirate’s” archives. I would rather not be forced into making an either/or choice between honouring copyright laws and protecting our society’s future heritage.

    I definitely don’t want that choice made for me, in some secret negotiations.

  12. One MEP to the list
    Finnish MEP Heidi Hautala openly criticizes ACTA on her blog writing. I’m not sure if there’s been anything else on the issue since I’ve been in Singapore the last couple of months. I’ve known about ACTA for a year (came across it in, and for my shame, I haven’t raised my voice until today. It’s horrifying that even most IT-pro’s I know have no idea about ACTA. Keep up the good work, I’ll try to keep the conversation alive on my end.