David Levine coauthors letter to President Obama urging halt to U.S. endorsement of ACTA
Through an October 28 letter to President Obama, more then 70 law professors have urged the Obama administration to halt its public endorsement of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), citing a lack of transparency and public input in deliberations shaping the international intellectual property agreement.
The original letter was drafted and circulated by Chris Sprigman of the University of Virginia School of Law, Levine, of Elon Law, and Sean Flynn of the American University Washington College of Law.
The letter states that the public has not been provided with clear information about the purposes and implications of ACTA and has not been provided with an opportunity for meaningful input into the agreement.
“(W)e are concerned that the purpose that animates ACTA is being deliberately misrepresented to the American people,” the letter states. “The treaty is named the ‘Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement’. But it has little to do with counterfeiting or controlling the international trade in counterfeit goods. Rather, this agreement would enact much more encompassing changes in the international rules governing trade in a wide variety of knowledge goods – whether they are counterfeit or not – and would establish new intellectual property rules and norms without systematic inquiry into effects of such development on economic and technical innovation in the U.S. or abroad. These norms will affect virtually every American and should be the subject of wide public debate.“
The letter also states that ACTA would usurp Congressional authority over intellectual property policy in a number of ways. It calls on the administration to take several steps to ensure public participation, transparency, and Congressional involvement in review and approval of the agreement.