The battle against the controversial ACTA agreement is reaching a climax this month with the upcoming votes in the European Parliament.
But while the opposition against ACTA is growing in Europe, the U.S. reiterated its support for the agreement.
Miriam Sapiro, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, posted the following message in response to a “We The People” petition.
To summarize: ACTA is needed to protect the people from fake toothpaste and those who criticize it are wrong.
Thank you for you for taking the time to participate in We the People, and for sharing your opinion about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the importance of privacy on the Internet.
The Administration has recognized previously the importance of protecting an open and innovative Internet in the context of our response to other petitions regarding the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). Since ACTA is quite different than SOPA and PIPA, we’ve decided to provide an ACTA-specific response.
ACTA is an international trade agreement that establishes high standards for intellectual property enforcement. The Agreement provides for: (1) enhanced international cooperation; (2) the promotion of sound enforcement practices; and (3) a legal framework for better enforcement.
As you may know, the proliferation of counterfeit and pirated goods poses considerable challenges for legitimate trade and economic development. Protecting intellectual property rights helps to further public policies that are designed to protect the public. ACTA will help authorities, for example, protect against the threat posed by potentially unsafe counterfeit goods that can pose a significant risk to public health, such as toothpaste with dangerous amounts of diethylene glycol (a chemical used in brake fluid), auto parts of unknown quality or suspect semiconductors used in life-saving defibrillators.
ACTA specifically recognizes the importance of free expression, due process, and privacy. It is the first — and only — international intellectual property rights agreement to provide explicitly that enforcement of intellectual property rights in the context of the Internet “shall be implemented in a manner that … preserves fundamental principles such as freedom of expression, fair process, and privacy.” No provision in ACTA requires parties to disclose information “contrary to … laws protecting privacy rights.” This includes the protections already in place in U.S. law.
In addition to the United States, approximately thirty countries have signed the Agreement, including Australia, Canada, Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Morocco, Singapore, and a majority of European Union member states, as well as the EU itself.
We believe that ACTA will help protect the intellectual property that is essential to American jobs in innovative and creative industries. At the same time, ACTA recognizes the importance of online privacy, freedom of expression and due process, and calls on signatories to protect these values in the course of complying with the Agreement.
Thank you again for taking the time to write and share your views.