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Cables from US Embassies in Japan and Europe, leaked to  the Wikileaks website, show how the US government set about creating an ‘ACTA'.  They expose ACTA as an instrument of US foreign policy. It's arguable that the European Union was merely a puppet.


The cables, discovered by La Quadrature du Net,  discuss how ACTA was born out of conversations between Stanford McCoy, then head of the US Trade Representative, and various representatives of the Japanese government, including the head of Japan's intellectual property office. The EU was one of a list of possible ‘preferential partners' for the agreement.


The Japanese informed the US Embassy correspondent that ‘the intent of

the agreement is to address the IPR problems of third nations such as China, Russia and Brazil, and not to negotiate  the different interests of like-minded countries".  In particular, it was to send a message to China.


The cable correspondent  reveals how the US and Japan agreed to use the message of protecting consumers and health as a means to make the proposed ACTA  politically acceptable.  They  tell us how the USTR Stan McCoy persuaded the Japanese to keep this as a separate initiative  from other existing global organisations, such as the OECD.


Japan and the US agreed to try to push ACTA through with a minimum of scrutiny, and were not keen to address issues that, for example, were important to the European Union, such as geographic indicators. They said that such discussions would slow the process down.


Officials from Japan and the US discussed how they could best manipulate the European Union - was it better to get the Commission involved, or to go direct to the Member States?  The latter might be slower, they felt.


And we  learn that ACTA was always understood by the US to be more than just  a trade agreement. One US official is quoted as saying that ACTA also involves (in addition to trade) "intellectual property rights, customs, law enforcement and judicial issues".


As those who followed the Telecoms Package will know, judicial issues are an important aspect of copyright enforcement  measures such as graduated response.  


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La Quadrature du Net  have further analysis of the ACTA cables.



 This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed. The correct attribution for this article is: Monica Horten (2011) Cables reveal how US gov't cooked up ACTA 4 March  2011


Iptegrity in brief is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I’ve been analysing analysing digital policy since 2008. Way back then, I identified how issues around rights can influence Internet policy, and that has been a thread throughout all of my research. I hold a PhD in EU Communications Policy from the University of Westminster (2010), and a Post-graduate diploma in marketing.   I’ve served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe  Committee on Internet Freedoms, and was involved in a capacity building project in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. I am currently (from June 2022)  Policy Manager - Freedom of Expression, with the Open Rights Group. For more, see About Iptegrity is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

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