WASHINGTON, July 6, 2010 – A communications and technology lobbying group is gnashing its teeth over a pending international trade agreement governing intellectual property that it says could bind U.S. firms and give internet access providers too much authority.
Talks have been ongoing in Switzerland recently over the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a compact that began discussion in 2007.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association “fears ACTA will hand foreign governments and competitors new tools to attack to U.S. companies," the group said in a statement. “ACTA could also compel internet access providers to take on a greater "Big Brother" role, including steps to filter Internet content, to cut off service to customers and to be held liable for customers’ activity.”
CCIA President and CEO Ed Black said: “We believe President Obama understands the value of technology and the internet to empower citizens and has fought for open and high speed Internet access from here to China…. We are disappointed, therefore, that his administration is pushing an agreement that substantively threatens the benefits of technology and continues to limit the transparency surrounding an agreement that affects so many millions of Internet users and many related industries.”
Black added that if the agreement goes forward, it would subject U.S. companies to broad liability, forcing them to defend themselves in foreign courts for activity that is legal in the United States.
He called for the United States Trade Representative to make public the latest draft of ACTA “and slow the rush to conclusion until greater consensus develops.”
Editor’s Note: Don’t miss the Intellectual Property Breakfast Club Event on Tuesday, July 13, “The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement Treaty,” for FREE at Clyde’s of Gallery Place in Washington from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Register at http://ipbreakfast.eventbrite.com.
If you plan on attending, and have a question you’d like to submit beforehand, please submit it here. You can vote for which questions the moderator should ask too.