ACTA Wants Congressional Support

ACTA or the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is not so favored by the Obama administration. As such, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) is asking the presidential administration to secure the success of the treaty.

The agreement implies that US’ laws on piracy should be applied overseas. At the time neither the US nor any other country passed ACTA into law.
In his statement, Ron Wyden said:

“I believe Congress should approve binding international agreements before the U.S. is obligated to comply with those agreements. This a point where the administration and I disagree and is particularly true on matters that impact our nation’s ability to implement policies that encourage innovation.”

The legislative proposal issued by the senator raised concerns within US’ three branches of government. Several legal advisers suggested that the country’s Congress should approve the agreement as it helps the US to keep its current copyright laws in line – the financial penalties in the States are up to $150.000 per infringement in a civil lawsuit.

“It’s a huge deal whether Congress signs it or not,” said Sean Flynn, a scholar at the American University, Washington College of Law intellectual-property.

“The reason it is a big deal, because this is what this agreement does, it tells domestic legislatures what its law must be or not be. These type of agreements are the most important to go through legislative approval and go through a public process and commenting on what the norms are of that agreement. The reason, it locally restricts what the democratic process can do.”

According to ACTA, any participating nation must “set statutory damages at a level to deter infringement.”

For the treaty to be passed, six nations must approve it. Among the countries debating the act we find Australia, Canada, the EU, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and the US.

Ron Kirk (United State Trade Representative) said that the Obama administration doesn’t need congressional approval.

U.S. negotiators were careful to ensure that the ACTA is fully consistent with U.S. law,” Kirk Wyden wrote in December. “For that reason, Congress will not need to enact legislation in order for the United States to implement the agreement.”

Despite claims that ACTA does not allow authorities to monitor internet traffic, the abusive behavior of organizations like the MPAA and the RIAA speaks otherwise.