USTR's Request for Comments on ACTA

USTR has issued a request for comments on ACTA. The deadline for submissions is February 15, 2011. The notice gives very little guidance regarding the issues the USTR would like addressed in the comments.


[Billing Code 3190-W1-P]

Office of the United States Trade Representative

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement: Request for Comments from the Public

Agency: Office of the United States Trade Representative

Action: Request for written submissions from the public

Summary: The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has concluded negotiations on a proposed agreement to strengthen international cooperation, enforcement practices and legal frameworks for addressing counterfeiting and piracy. USTR is requesting written comments from the public on the final text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in connection with consideration of U.S. signature of the agreement.

The deadline for submission of written comments is, 5:00 PM, Tuesday, February 15, 2011.

Address: All written comments should be sent electronically via http://www.regulations.gov, docket number USTR-2010-0014. Submissions should contain the term “ACTA Public Comments” in the “Type comment & Upload file” field on www.regulations.gov.

For further information contact: Kira M. Alvarez, Chief Negotiator and Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Intellectual Property Enforcement, Office of the United States Trade Representative, at (202) 395-4510. Further information about ACTA can be located at http://www.ustr.gov/webfm_send/2379.

1. Supplementary Information:
USTR, working with a group of trading partners, has concluded negotiations on a proposed agreement to strengthen international cooperation, enforcement practices and legal frameworks for addressing counterfeiting and piracy. USTR is requesting written comments from the public on the final text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in connection with consideration of U.S. signature of the agreement.

Participants in the negotiations included: Australia, Canada, the European Union (EU) rtepresented by the European Commission and the EU Presidency (Belgium) and the EU Member States, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States.

Consistent with the Administration’s strategy for intellectual property enforcement, ACTA would be the highest-standard plurilateral agreement yet achieved concerning the enforcement of intellectual property rights, and would establish an international model for effectively combating the global proliferation of commercial-scale counterfeiting and piracy. In addition to requirements concerning legal frameworks for intellectual property enforcement, the proposed agreement also includes innovative provisions to deepen international cooperation and to promote strong enforcement practices. Together these provisions will help to protect American jobs in innovative and creative industries against intellectual property theft.

2. Text and Summary Information
The full, final text of the ACTA, together with summaries and related information, can be found at www.ustr.gov/acta.

3. Public Comments
a. Written Comments
Written comments must be received by February 15, 2011 at 5:00 p.m.

b. Requirements for Comments
Comments must be in writing and in English. All comments should be sent electronically via http://www.regulations.gov, docket number USTR-2010-0014.

To submit comments to http://www.regulations.gov, find the docket by entering the number USTR-2010-0014 in the ``Enter Keyword or ID'' window at the http://www.regulations.gov home page and click ``Search.'' The site will provide a search-results page listing all documents associated with this docket. Find a reference to this notice by selecting “Notice” under “Document Type” on the left side of the search-results page, and click on the link entitled “Submit a comment.” (For further information on sing the http://www.regulations.gov website, please consult the resources provided on the website by clicking on “How to Use This Site” on the left side of the home page).

The http://www.regulations.gov site provides the option of providing comments by filling in a “Type comment & Upload file” field, or by attaching a document. It is USTR’s preference that comments be provided in an attached document. If a document is attached, please type “ACTA Public Comments” in the “Type comment & Upload file” field. USTR prefers submissions in Microsoft Word (.doc) or Adobe Acrobat (.pdf). If the submission is in an application other than those two, please indicate the name of the application in the ``Comments'' field.

For any comments containing business confidential information, the filer should type “ACTA Comments -- Business Confidential” in the “Type Comment & Upload file” field. Any page containing business confidential information must be clearly marked “BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL” on the top of that page. Filers of submissions containing business confidential information must also submit a separate public version of their comments with the business confidential information redacted. The filer should type “ACTA Comments – Public Version” in the “Type Comment & Upload file” field. If it is determined that the comment does not contain business confidential information, the filer will be notified of that determination and allowed to withdraw their comment.

4. Inspection of Comments, Notices, and Hearing Statements
USTR will maintain a docket on the ACTA Public Review that is accessible to the public. The public file will include all comments received which will be placed in the docket and open to public inspection pursuant to 15 CFR 2006.13, except confidential business. Comments may be viewed on the http://www.regulations.gov website by entering docket number USTR-20100014 in the search field on the home page.

Stanford K. McCoy
Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Intellectual Property and Innovation

[FR Doc. 2010-31763 Filed 12/16/2010 at 8:45 am; Publication Date: 12/17/2010]

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ustr-acta-rfc_2010-31763_PI.pdf18.18 KB

They only want token comments, not anything more substantial...

The "final text" is summarised as "Consistent with the Administration’s strategy for intellectual property enforcement, ACTA would be the highest-standard plurilateral agreement yet achieved concerning the enforcement of intellectual property rights, and would establish an international model for effectively combating the global proliferation of commercial-scale counterfeiting and piracy. In addition to requirements concerning legal frameworks for intellectual property enforcement, the proposed agreement also includes innovative provisions to deepen international cooperation and to promote strong enforcement practices. Together these provisions will help to protect American jobs in innovative and creative industries against intellectual property theft."

In short, you can comment all you like, but no changes are welcome (it's "final text", remember?) and you would be anti-American to oppose it totally (protect jobs, innovative industries, deepen cooperation, strong enforcement... how dare you criticise it after all those emotive terms?)

Or, in other words, we didn't consult you at any time previously, and this is only a mediocre, token gesture of allowing ineffectual input now.

A more clearer