OK, just what is so secret about a copyright-protection treaty? There is this proposal - the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. It's a secret
proposed treaty with some pretty extreme provisions. Only what we know about the provisions is limited to what has leaked out, because the actual terms have been declared a secret.
That's what the Bush Administration said. And, now, that's the Obama Administration's position, too. News.com reports that the Administration has denied a FOIA request for information about the treaty based on a national security rationale.
Here's the letter from the Executive Office of the President to James Love, director of Knowledge Ecology International, who had filed a freedom of information request to find out the details of ACTA.
[T]he documents you seek are being witheld in full pursuant to 5 U.S.C. §552(b)(1), which pertains to information that is properly classified in the interest of national security pursuant to Executive Order 12958. Inasmuch as this constitutes a complete grant of your request, I am closing your file in this office.
According to Declan McCullagh's report:
Love's group believes that the U.S. and Japan want the treaty to say that willful trademark and copyright infringement on a commercial scale must be subject to criminal sanctions, including infringement that has "no direct or indirect motivation of financial gain."
Most of what is known comes from a leaked document on WikiLeaks
, although speculation includes required ISP monitoring of consumers' Internet activity, a ban on P2P and criminalization of legitimate IP-sharing activities.