DownsizeDC.org
February 13, 2012
Four Reasons to Act Against ACTA
By James Wilson

Quote of the Day: "(ACTA is) more dangerous than SOPA. It’s not coming to me for a vote. It purports that it does not change existing laws. But once implemented, it creates a whole new enforcement system and will virtually tie the hands of Congress to undo it." - Rep. Darrell Issa

Last month, we joined with countless other groups and individuals to oppose the SOPA and PIPA bills.

Similarly, people all over the world are protesting a similar proposal, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). We explain our opposition to ACTA in the letter to Congress below. We urge you take action using DownsizeDC.org' Internet Freedom campaign.

The campaign's hard-wired message says...

As a constituent, I insist that you oppose any attempts to undermine Internet freedom.

You may borrow from or copy these additional comments...

That's why you must introduce and pass legislation to block the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). (http://tinyurl.com/6npb9vj)

* ACTA was signed by the U.S. Trade Representative last October.
* It was negotiated in secret for years, under both Bush and Obama.
* Congress and the American people were by-passed, as were the parliaments and people of other nations.

There are four big reasons to make sure it is never implemented in the United States...

1. ACTA violates the Constitution...

* It's a vaguely-worded "executive agreement" that the President has no intention of submitting to Congress, even though the Constitution delegates to CONGRESS authority over copyrights, patents, and foreign commerce.
* An unelected, international "ACTA Committee" will implement and enforce this "agreement"
* As Rep. Darrell Issa says, "it creates a whole new enforcement system and will virtually tie the hands of Congress to undo it." (http://tinyurl.com/79nv2yb)

2. ACTA threatens OUR privacy...

* ACTA pushes Internet service providers (ISP's) to carry out surveillance of their networks and to disclose personal information of ALLEGED copyright violators to copyright holders.
* Websites and ISP's could be held liable for copyright violations from users, giving them incentive to monitor OUR online activities.

3. That means ACTA threatens OUR free speech and free press rights, too; ISP's and website hosts would be encouraged - perhaps required - to censor MY online content even when it is unsure whether the material violates IP laws.

4. ACTA stifles innovation...

* Fear of unintentional violations of intellectual property (IP) will discourage new innovations in software and other industries.
* Harsher fines will create disincentives for business start-ups who cannot afford to fight litigation.
* Smaller internet companies are often the laboratories of invention. Yet, just as often they will lack the capacity to implement ACTA's policing burdens. Will they sell out to larger competitors or just give up?

How did ACTA happen? Hollywood is the capital of the entertainment industry. It is admired, emulated, and respected around the world. It is even the greatest source of entertainment venture capital. It has international clout. 

And ACTA is essentially a Hollywood bailout, designed to protect a buggy-whip business model.

The Internet frees you and me to entertain ourselves in our own niches. The movie and record people are reacting like ragtime, song sheet publishers resisting the invention of the phonograph.

ACTA doesn't use sensible means to protect intellectual property, it is a draconian maneuver that will make people frightened to even go on the Internet.

I need you to stand up to these anti-progress, self-seeking, special-interest cheaters. Start by organizing your colleagues to pressure the President to walk away from ACTA. Then, sponsor and pass legislation preventing him from implementing it.

But please don't bother writing back to me with that standard Capitol Hill boilerplate...

1. You've heard of ACTA
2. Here's what ACTA does
3. You'll keep my views in mind if it should come up

I shall see that response for what it is -- apathy about your constitutional duty and opposition to a free Internet. I want you to tell me where you stand and what you plan to do about it.

END LETTER

You can send your letter using DownsizeDC.org's Educate the Powerful System.

And we invite you to keep up with us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/downsizedc

Also, there's an important note from the President of Downsize DC, below my signature.

James Wilson
Policy Research Director
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

Please note . . .

  • The combined monthly budget of Downsize DC Foundation and DownsizeDC.org, Inc. is $18,700.
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  • As of February 11, we're at $3,065.
  • Conservative pledge projections probably increase that number to at least $9,800.
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Thank you,

Jim Babka, President
Downsize DC Foundation
& DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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