Yesterday I authored, printed, signedand sent through snail-mail a letter to Peter Van Loan, Minister ofInternational Trade. It was in reply to a reply letter he hadwritten me earlier on ACTA, the Orwellian double-speak namedAnti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. In it I asked him to protectthe global intellectual property system from this attack on existinginstitutions.
This morning I read that theEuropeanparliament passed a resolution calling on Canada to support movingACTA to WIPO.
While a bit out-of-date a daylater, the following is the letter I sent:
Hon. Peter Van Loan, Ministerof International Trade
CC David McGuinty, my MP inOttawa South
CC Charlie Angus, MP who has beenchallenging the government on ACTA and other controversial technologypolicy.
Dear Hon. Peter Van Loan,
Thank you for your letter ofMarch 26, 2010 in reply to my email of January 27, 2010, regardingthe so-called Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
In your letter you suggestedthat, “The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement negotiations arebeing undertaken with a view to establishing global standards for theenforcement of intellectual property rights in order to moreeffectively combat the increasing trade in counterfeit and piratedgoods.”
If I believed this statementwere true, I would not be concerned with the negotiations. The mostcontroversial aspects of the previously leaked and now released drafttext are those that have nothing to do with counterfeiting, or whichseem to seek to undermine the established intellectual propertyframework as administrated through WIPO, WTO/TRIPS.
WIPO has had problems, withgovernments and NGOs being critical of its historical lack oftransparency, accountability and policy balance when measured up toother UN special agencies. A number of initiatives to reform notonly the organization itself but to also advance policies such as thedevelopment agenda have moved WIPO towards fulfilling the mandatethat justified its status as a special agency of the UN.
An increasing number ofpoliticians worldwide, including but not limited to members of theEuropean Parliament, are realizing that the so-called “Institutionalarrangements” (ACTA chapter 5) seem to overlap and seek toreplace existing institutions such as the WIPO. They say that ACTAis an attempt to circumvent global norms on intellectual propertyenforcement and related public interest flexibility.
I urge you to do your part toprotect the global intellectual property system from this attack onexisting institutions. One way is to have Canada sign the WellingtonDeclaration http://publicacta.org.nz/wellington-declaration/ , whosepreamble starts with:
“Consistent withthe European Parliament’s Resolution of 10 March 2010 on theTransparency and State of Play of the ACTA Negotiations(P7_TA(2010)0058), ACTA should be limited to an Agreement regardingenforcement against counterfeiting (the large scale commercialproduction of illicit physical goods).”Sincerely,Russell McOrmond(Address information removed)
Note: I was going tohand-write this letter, but felt it better to save you from myhandwriting.
Russell McOrmond is a self employed consultant,policy coordinator for CLUE:Canada's Association for Free/Libre and Open Source Software,co-coordinator for Getting Open Source Logic INto Governments (GOSLING),and host for DigitalCopyright Canada.