Friday, March 11, 2011

Note to Capitol Hill - Regarding Son Of ACTA

As a consumer and constituent, I am very concerned about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement currently being negotiated in secret by the Office of the United States Trade Representative and against consumer's best interests.

Previous free trade agreements have exported controversial aspects of U.S. copyright law, without the balancing exceptions and limitations in U.S. copyright law that enable freedom of expression and have allowed innovation to flourish. Reports indicate that the USTR tabled an intellectual property chapter that follows this approach at the most recent round of negotiations. I am concerned that this will lock-in controversial aspects of US law, restricting Congress' ability to craft laws that meet U.S. domestic priorities, and eliminate potential export markets for innovative U.S. consumer electronics and technology companies.

I am disturbed to discover that this agreement, which could have such wide-ranging effects on American citizens and the dynamic technology sector, is being conducted entirely behind closed doors in an opaque and profoundly undemocratic process.

U.S. copyright law includes a carefully crafted balance of public and private rights that encourages creation, while providing incentives for innovation, and access for education, libraries and other socially beneficial purposes. Balanced policy making that serves the needs of all stakeholders in the information economy requires transparency.

I urge you to bring transparency to this agreement and ensure that the TPP text reflects the interests of all U.S. industries and citizens.

I ask you please to:

* Call for a congressional hearing on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, so that Congress can hear from all affected stakeholders and provide meaningful input into the content.

* Call for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to release the text of the agreement and solicit public comments.

* Speak out against the increasing, continuing and shameful trend of secret negotiations conducted by the USTR.

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