[TriLUG] Take action: tell the USTR to reject ACTA

Bill Farrow bill at arrowsreach.com
Fri Feb 11 14:38:37 EST 2011

Hi TriLUG'ers,
I think the following email from the FSF is important enough to
forward to this list.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Free Software Foundation <info at fsf.org>
Date: Fri, Feb 11, 2011 at 10:49 AM
Subject: Take action: tell the USTR to reject ACTA

The ACTA drafting process is finished, and countries are beginning to
turn an eye toward signing it.  Help us stand against it!

ACTA aims to be an international agreement to establish even more
imposing copyright and trademark laws throughout the world, with a
minimum of scrutiny.  Countries that sign the agreement commit to
enacting DMCA-like anti-circumvention legislation, establishing
criminal penalties for specific kinds of infringement, and maintaining
several overbearing enforcement mechanisms.

ACTA was largely drafted in secret between countries with the world's
largest economies, with input from large copyright and trademark
holders who stand to benefit from all this legislation at our expense.
As more information about the terms of the agreement began to leak, we
published Richard Stallman's "Firm, Simple Declaration Against ACTA":

 * <http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/acta/acta-declaration>

Since then, more than 4,700 of you have signed it.  Thanks for your

Now the drafting process is finished, and the countries who negotiated
it are now looking to sign it.  Some of the provisions in the final
text are not as bad as earlier drafts -- but that doesn't mean the
agreement is acceptable.  We need to take this opportunity to demand
the freedoms we deserve.  As Stallman explained:

> ... where there have been previous changes for the worse, lauding
> the status quo tends to legitimize them. ... To confront a further
> assault by presenting the status quo as ideal means we stop fighting
> to reverse them. It means that our adversaries need only propose a
> further affront to our rights to gain our acceptance of their last
> affront.

> Instead of making the status quo our ideal, we should demand
> positive changes to recover freedoms already lost.

The US Trade Representative is requesting comments from US citizens
and organizations about signing ACTA.  Now, we've added your voice to
ours.  The FSF has submitted a letter encouraging the US, and all
countries, to reject the agreement and instead focus on repealing
copyright and trademark laws that unfairly support large owners,
citing the 4,700 signatures that Stallman's declaration received.  You
can read a copy online at:

 * <http://static.fsf.org/nosvn/2011-01-ustr-acta.pdf>

You can help out, too, by taking action:

* If you haven't already, please sign Stallman's declaration.  The
 USTR may check to verify the number of signatures we mentioned in
 our letter.  It would be great if we have even more when that

* Share this call to action with your friends, and on social sites.
 We need all the help we can get.

* If you're a US citizen, you can write to the USTR as well.  Comments
 are due by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on February 15.  Follow the USTR's
 instructions to submit your comments:

 * <http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=USTR-2010-0014-0001>

 Please send a copy of your letter to us at <acta-comments at fsf.org>,
 too, so we can keep track of the response.

 We've included a brief sample letter below to help you get started.
 Of course, it's best if you write your own letter: unique responses
 will receive more attention from the USTR.  Use this sample as
 inspiration to help structure your own thoughts.

ACTA threatens to create major legal obstacles to free software
throughout the world.  Please join us by expressing your opposition!

### Sample Letter ###

Stanford K. McCoy
Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Intellectual Property and Innovation
Office of the United States Trade Representative
600 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20006

Re: Comments on ACTA (Docket no. USTR-2010-0014)

Dear Mr. McCoy:

I am writing to urge the United States not to sign ACTA.  The
agreement would impose unethically strict extensions to copyright law
in other countries, and increased criminal penalties for infringement
here.  It mandates a number of enforcement mechanisms that unjustly
benefit copyright and trademark holders at the expense of individual
liberties.  It would also create new obstacles to repealing
problematic US laws like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Now that computers are available to many, it's easier than ever for
people to share information and cultural works with each other.  Our
laws should allow and encourage them to do so.  We stand to benefit
from less enforcement of copyright and trademark laws -- not more.
ACTA is a step in the wrong direction.  No country should sign it.


Sent from the Free Software Foundation, 51 Franklin Street
Fifth Floor
Boston, MA 02110-1335
United States

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