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Senator Wyden Demands ACTA Goes Before Congress 78

Fluffeh writes "As recently covered here, EU countries are starting to drop ACTA support. Now, long-time opponent of the secretly negotiated Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, Sen. Ron Wyden introduced an amendment to a Senate 'jobs bill' that would force ACTA to come before Congress for approval. His second amendment tries to force a change (PDF) in how the whole process around such treaties is handled. Right now, the U.S. attempts to keep its negotiating positions a secret. What vital national security interests could be at stake if the public knew USTR was promoting 'graduated response' laws or proposing changes in ISP liability? Wyden doesn't believe there are any."
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Senator Wyden Demands ACTA Goes Before Congress

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  • Re:Secret positions (Score:5, Informative)

    by Eraesr ( 1629799 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @09:03AM (#39426057) Homepage
    Where have you been the last couple of years? It is whack. Extremely whack.
  • by dainbug ( 678555 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @09:19AM (#39426265) Journal
    :( Mine either, Senator Hatch still can't define "due process."
  • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @09:26AM (#39426353)

    That sounds like a really great idea in theory, but in practice I don't know how you'd implement it. Laws are like interpreted computer code: when it's ambiguous, it'll break at run-time. I can't figure out how you'd come up with a legislative algorithm for determining if everything in a bill is about "the same thing".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @09:32AM (#39426433)

    But that's the thing, they don't mind telling 'the world' at least in so far as that means 'foreign governments' - because what they're trying to keep secret is explicitly what they are talking to the rest of the world's governments about. It's the citizenry that they don't want to know.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @09:38AM (#39426511)

    Some times I wonder if Oregon congress critters are the only ones voted in for their surplus of intelligence.

  • by NicBenjamin ( 2124018 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @09:45AM (#39426587)

    In these threads some guy usually says that the President has to send a treaty to Congress for it to be valid, therefore Obama is abusing his power, usurping Congressional Authority, and raping kittens by not sending ACTA to Congress. This is false, and based on the poster not understanding what's going on.

    What's going on is that everything ACTA demands is already part of US Law. Obama can already seize your shit if he thinks it's counterfeit. It's called asset forfeiture, and it's already in the US Code. As is literally everything else in the treaty. When he does so the people judging whether the US is in compliance have to say "Yes, that guy totally had his shit seized because it was counterfeit." Therefore Obama doesn't care whether ACTA is formally ratified and made part of US Law, he already has all the powers he needs.

    Thus Wyden has to resort to maneuvers like this if he wants to stop ACTA, and Wyden's maneuver probably won't be very effective at all. Because even if Congress does not vote to ratify the treaty we're still in compliance unless Congress also insists on amending all the copyright rules currently in place.

    As a political tactic it has some uses. The biggest is that it establishes there's resistance to the business community's insane copyright/patent demands from some folks with clout, and future ACTAs will be designed to appeal to those other groups. It's unlikely (that ordinary Poles will understand the particular wrinkle of US Law I just explained, so Polish politicians are all answering the question "Why should we ratify ACTA, even the US didn't ratify ACTA?" The potential drawback here is that if Wyden gets his ratification vote he's likely to lose, because this isn't just about copyright. It's also about fake golfclubs, cars, etc. You don't want to be the guy on the side of fake chinese golf clubs/antibiotics/toothpaste/etc. in an election year.

    But if you think there is literally any chance of ACTA not applying to your American ass, I have news for you: It already does.

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