With yesterday's leak of a Dutch government document revealing the positions on ACTA transparency of many of the negotiating partners, it is worth taking stock of the current positions on the issue:
Archive for February, 2010
A spokesperson for the European Commission Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht has sought to address concerns about three strikes within ACTA. According to De Gucht's spokesperson: "ee are not supporting and will not accept that an eventual ACTA agreement creates an obligation to disconnect people from the internet because of […]
IDG covers the latest Dutch leak that reveals the transparency position of many ACTA participants. Particularly telling is the view that both France and Italy favour greater transparency, but fear U.S. retaliation.
Throughout the debate over ACTA transparency, many countries have taken public positions that they support release of the actual text, but that other countries do not. Since full transparency requires consensus of all the ACTA partners, the text simply can't be released until everyone is in agreement. Of course, those same countries hasten to add that they can't name who opposes ACTA transparency, since that too is secret.
No longer. In an important new leak from the Netherlands (Dutch, Google English translation, better English translation), a Dutch memorandum reporting back on the Mexico ACTA negotiation round names names, pointing specifically to which countries support releasing the text and which do not (note that the memo does not canvass everyone – Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are known to support transparency but are not named in the memo). According to the Dutch memo, the UK has played a lead role in making the case for full disclosure of the documents and is of the view that there is consensus for release of the text (there is support from many countries including the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, and Austria). However, the memo indicates that several countries are not fully supportive including Belgium, Portugal, Germany, and Denmark. Of these four countries, the Dutch believe that Denmark is the most inflexible on the issue.
Outside of the Europe, the memo identifies three problem countries. While Japan is apparently supportive, both South Korea and Singapore oppose ACTA transparency. Moreover, the U.S. has remained silent on the issue, as it remains unconvinced of the need for full disclosure. In doing so, it would appear that the U.S. is perhaps the biggest problem since a clear position of support might be enough to persuade the remaining outliers.
Barry Sookman tweeted yesterday about a new study analyzing data on 125 countries to establish a property rights index. The Index focuses on three areas: Legal and Political Environment, Physical Property Rights, and Intellectual Property Rights, and is being to used to promote the importance of intellectual property. Looking at the data, Canada's overall ranking is ahead of the U.S. (Canada is 12th, the U.S. is 15th).
The specific intellectual property rankings are also notable as they highlight the absurdity of the IIPA's ongoing campaign characterizing Canada as weak on IP. Canada's ranks 13th in the survey for intellectual property rights, tied with countries such as France, the UK, and New Zealand (Canada is 17th in copyright protection). The ranking is all the more remarkable since one of the primary data sources for the ranking is the IIPA itself. In other words, even after using IIPA data, Canada ranks alongside many other countries that are typically applauded by the IIPA for their IP policies.