Consolidated ACTA text is released, without country positions

Today the first public draft of the ACTA text was released. A copy is available here. Earlier leaked versions of the text, which include country positions, are the January 18, 2010 consolidated text, a February 2010 EU memorandum of the selected sections, and seven documents from 2008.

The disclosure today was a response to growing civil society pressure on ACTA negotiating members, including the dramatic 633 to 13 vote in the European Parliament, that demanded the text be published.

Many of the arguments for transparency were set out in a July 22, 2009 Letter to USTR that was signed by eight public interest, consumer and health NGOs.

KEI's statement on the release of the text is as follows:

"It's late, very late, and missing a key element of transparency -- the country positions. Governments had to be forced by civil society groups to make the ACTA text public. Let's hope that the precedent for the future is to publish the texts, and to publish them much sooner. Now that the text is out, it will be easier to have public debates about its contents. It is unfortunate that the country positions were eliminated from the published version, but positions as recent as January 2010 are available from the earlier leaked texts. KEI has focused on the changes in global norms for injunctions and damages, and the lack of civil rights and consumer safeguards in the text. Clearly the text goes way beyond counterfeiting and copyright piracy, into several categories of intellectual property rights, including patents, semi conductor chip designs, pharmaceutical test data and other topics. Governments should engage with consumer groups, civil rights organizations, educators, libraries, generic drug manufacturers, technology companies and others to re-balance the text, or abandon the negotiation if this is not possible in the current political environment." James Love, Director, KEI

TACD will be hosting a meeting on April 28, 2010, at the US Department of Commerce, to discuss the newly released text. The free TACD meeting requires prior registration, to clear security at the Department of Commerce. Contact Manon Ress for more details, or to register.

Below is the earlier TACD meeting announcement. Manon will be sending out a list of confirmed speakers later today.

April 28 TACD meeting on ACTA and Consumers, at the US Department of Commerce in Washington, DC

On April 28, TACD will be holding a meeting from 9 am to 3 pm at the U.S. Department of Commerce, in Washington, DC, to discuss the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

The Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) is a trade advisory board to the United States government and the European Commission. The current TACD membership includes 51 EU and 28 US consumer organizations, plus observer members from Canada and one from Australia. (More details on the TACD web page.)

Title: ACTA and Consumers

Date: Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Time: 9 AM to 3 PM

Venue:

The Auditorium at the Department of Commerce, Washington DC
Main Entrance on 14th Street (between Pennsylvania and Constitution
Avenue)

Program: The detailed program will be distributed soon. It will likely consist of three panels (speakers and respondents to be announced soon).

Panel 1. The impact of ACTA on copyrighted goods

Panel 2. The impact of ACTA on markets for medicine and other patented or trademarked goods and services

Panel 3. The ACTA negotiating process and the future role of ACTA as an institution.

Registration: Free and open to the public.

Contact Manon Ress (manon.ress@keionline.org) for more details.

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Re-engaging on Kindle / Digital discrimination

Mr Love,
Hoping to enlist your attention again re: the Amazon.com/Kindle text-to-speech issue you wrote so passionately about here in HuffPost and elsewhere:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-love/people-vs-the-authors-gui_b_183...

As a parent of a learning disabled child, the Kindle was a lifeline for her to learn about the world around her at a time when so many doors seemed closed. That access is now being denied at an increasing pace.

This search string on Google now yields 276,000+ results on Amazon.com, presumably most are crippled Kindle books:
“Text-to-Speech: Not enabled” site:www.amazon.com

Amazon, the Authors Guild, and publishers promised to "work on it", but no progress to date. Meanwhile, millions of people, already at a disadvantage, continue losing their rightful and vital access to knowledge, information, news, education, opinion, entertainment, etc. In an increasingly digital world, it's not difficult to see the larger implications of this discrimination -- especially if spreading beyond the Kindle - to say, the iPad, which (for now) has a text-to-speech feature. Amazon caved, so Apple might too.

Would you and KEI help elevate this issue once again and place pressure on the parties involved to come to an equitable resolution that stops this discrimination? Perhaps through your blogs, HuffPost, talkshow interviews etc. We could really use a break here....

I'll monitor this thread in the sincere hope you will respond and we can connect via phone, personal email etc. Thank you. Scott L.

Please, share your expertise on ACTA