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Open Letter to President “CHANGE” Obama. RE: A.C.T.A. Talks

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Why does the Obama administration insist on not making the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement discussions public?

actatopsecretWhile most would understand that there is a modest requirement for security, it seems rather unlikely that given the broad range of private corporations and lobbyists that have been given a privileged seat at the table that the security reasons the President gives for not making the discussions public seems weak at best and at the worst contravene the basic tenets of the Freedom of Information Act.

As a Canadian and a graphic designer who creates and manages creative projects I have a better understanding of the issues facing copyright and the need to reform legislation to meet the needs of the 21st century. The reform however should NOT be taking place behind closed doors and without the FULL participation of public stakeholders.

I believe like most that the issues of counterfeiting with respect to products and goods we consume and use is a very serious matter. But its a matter separate from the issue of copyright. The two issues are mutually exclusive and should be addresses by separate legislative initiatives.

I strong urge the President elected solely on the platform of CHANGE to abandon the PRIVATE A.C.T.A. talks and begin a new and open process that includes public stakeholders BEFORE the “treaty” is signed.

I believe that any “treaty” that has such a massive impact on the rights and freedoms of few citizens all over the world most not be decided in secret by most of the corporations and lobbyists who’s actions have so greatly contributed to the current and deepening economic crisis the world is dealing with.

I know this email is unlikely to be seen by your eyes but I do hope with all my heart that the person reading this message has the courage and strength to, at the very least, raise the important issue of FULL public disclosure and participation in the very important issues of copyright and fair-use in the day and age of a READ/WRITE, web-driven society that is finally accessible on virtually all levels because individuals can and do share thoughts, ideas and yes media.

It’s too bad the leaders of the free world do not put as much “secret” energy into building strong and accessible social infrastructures as they seem to do to protect the so-called “intellectual property” of large multi-national corporations at a time when these corporations are allowed to grow to enormous size and more importantly influence in too many segments of our civilizations.

Take General Electric for example, given the MASSIVE extent that G.E. controls a large piece of almost every MAJOR segment of the US entertainment/content economy it’s hard to believe that the President can not see that not allowing public participation in the A.C.T.A. discussions is simply creating the same “too big to fail” scenarios for MEGA corporation like G.E. but this time the impact will be with human knowledge and access to it. It has been said that the new North American economy will be built on a knowledge economy so it should be no mystery why these global corporations and their lobbyists want so much of the A.C.T.A. to be completed in private.

  • GE Capital, GE Technology Infrastructure, GE Energy Infrastructure, GE Energy, NBC Universal, GE Consumer & Industrial
  • NBC Universal (NBC merged with non-music entertainment assets of Vivendi Universal – GE has 80% controlling share)
  • NBC – National Broadcasting Company
  • NBC Network Television stations (10)
  • NBC Entertainment
  • NBC News
  • NBC Sports
  • NBC Studios
  • NBC Universal Sports & Olympics
  • NBC Universal Television
    (Media Studios, Television Distribution, International Television)
  • NBC Universal Digital Media
  • NBC Universal Cable
  • A&E Television Networks (23 – include CNBC co-owned with The Dow Jones and MSNBC co-owned with Microsoft)
  • Significant ownership in Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks (Viacom), MGM and 20th Century Fox Film Corporation;
  • TiVo¹
  • Universal Studios (co-owned with Vivendi)
  • Universal Pictures (Focus Features, Rogue Pictures, Working Title Films)
  • Universal Studios Licensing, Universal Animation Studios, Interactive, Pictures International, Home Entertainment, Home Entertainment Productions
  • United International Pictures (co-owned with Paramount Pictures/Viacom);
  • Universal Parks & Resorts

It is equally disappointing that even as the very corporations and lobbyists that have contributed so much to our current economic crisis and the ongoing pain and hardships of MILLIONS of North Americans are only ones invited to participate in a treaty that is likely to decide who has the right to access, distribute and rework human knowledge for the next century.

I do HOPE that President CHANGE – CHANGES his mind and allow the citizens of his nation to fully and equally participate in the A.C.T.A. discussions and the crafting of this very important “treaty”.

Contact the President and demand a public and open seat the A.C.T.A. table!

Whitehouse Contact numbers:
Comments: 202-456-1111
TTY/TDD Comments: 202-456-6213

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Written by mattliving

March 16, 2009 at 8:55 am

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