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ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, is the notorious, unprecedented secret copyright treaty that was negotiated by industry representatives and government trade reps, without any access by elected representatives, independent business, the press, public interest groups, legal scholars, independent economists and so on. Time and again, the world's richest governmental administrations (only rich countries were in the negotiation) told their own parliaments and congresses that they could not see what was in the treaty, nor know the details of the discussion.
The European Parliament was one of the bodies that asked its administration to share the treaty discussions with the elected members, only to be turned down. Cables in the Wikileaks dumps showed US officials orchestrating this secrecy because they knew how unpopular this one-sided, heavy-handed copyright treaty would be. Freedom of Information requests to the Obama administration confirmed that the reason for the secrecy was the experience in transparent negotiation at the UN, which resulted in an uprising by developing nations, who saw stricter, more expansive copyrights as a means of extracting rents from the world's poorest people.
In October 2007, the Government of Canada announced that it would participate in discussions towards an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). ACTA negotiating partners, a group which includes along with Canada, Australia, the European Union and its member countries, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States, concluded negotiations in October 2010 and completed the legal verification of the ACTA text in April 2011.
(November 15, 2010) Participants in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations announced today that they have finalized the text of the Agreement, after resolving the few issues that remained outstanding after the final round of negotiations in Tokyo.