And now, this....
An anti-counterfieting treaty is being negotiated by several world players, including the US. Civil libertarians are concerned the bill will be used to hammer people suspected of using P2P networks. Will it? We don't know. In September, the Bush Administration took the drafts of ACTA, the Anti-Counterfieting Trade Agreement, behind closed doors and locked them, not telling anyone what exactly is in the treaty, what is a criminal act, and so on. The only clues are that Bush and a unanimous Senate voted for the creation of an Intellectual Property czar just before the elections (part of the reason I hated McCain) that gave us new Hollywood overlords, and two senators -- Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Arlen Specter (R-Penn.)--known for their support of strict intellectual property laws, expressed concern that the ACTA could be too far-reaching. Don't you just hate it when you have no idea what you're doing is illegal until the cops show up at your door?
On January 31, Jamie Love, director of the non-profit group Knowledge Economy International, filed a Freedom Of Information Act request with the White House to have access to the documents. The drafts "are being widely circulated to corporate lobbyists in Europe, Japan, and the U.S. There is no reason for them to be secret from the American public." Indeed, the list of US lobbyists is impressive, from Eli Lily to Johnson And Johnson to Dow to Pfizer to Honeywell to Abbot Labs to eBay to Oracle to Intuit to IBM to all kinds of companies with big ties to government and lots of patents to inflict -- I mean, enforce. Check out the complete list at http://www.keionline.org/blogs/2009/03/13/who-are-cleared-advisors/ . Obama's response to the FOI filing was to promptly issue an order saying the drafts and discussions are "classified in the interest of national security pursuant to Executive Order 12958." Nice to see he's not doing like Bush did and overextending Executive Privilege. For those not up on their federal law, Executive Order 12958 was signed in 1995 and states that material can be classified only if disclosure would do "damage to the national security and the original classification authority is able to identify or describe the damage."
One of the first things Obama did after he was elected was issue a memo on FOIA, saying FOIA "should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails. The government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure." So, all you Obama-maniacs, where's your God now?
We might yet find out what exactly is in those drafts, courtesy of the European Union. They recently voted to make all documents regarding the negotiations of ACTA publicly available. "The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will contain a new international benchmark for legal frameworks on what is termed intellectual property right enforcement. The content as known to the public is clearly legislative in character. Further, the Council confirms that ACTA includes civil enforcement and criminal law measures. Since there can not be secret objectives regarding legislation in a democracy, the principals established in the ECJ Turco case must be upheld."
Hopefully, someone is planning to challenge the Executive Order. The EU, so far, has resisted software patents, has held M$ accountable for abusing its monopoly, and now, is actually demonstrating that they know what democracy is. From a land ruled by tyrants and kings. And the greatest democracy in the world refuses to get it.
Thanks, Obama, for furthering the conspiracy of business interests against the citizens.