Open letter to President Obama on copyright treaties and “national security”

I just used the Contact form on whitehouse.gov to send the following to President Obama and am reposting it here. Please reach out to the White House with your own concerns on this matter.

Dear Mr. Obama:

As a supporter, I was surprised to see that Carmen Suro-Bredie, chief FOIA officer in the White House’s Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, rejected a FOIA request for the text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement by claiming that the proposed treaty was a “properly classified national security secret.”

My concern, as copyright extensions continue to eat away at the public domain, taking value from the public, is that worldwide negotiations about the future of copyright are being held in utter secrecy without any public input–without the public even being told what’s under consideration.

For an administration that pledged transparency and a reversal of your predecessor’s policy of putting things under the seal of “national security” to avoid scrutiny, this is upsetting and unbecoming. Why is this treaty considered a “national security secret”? Surely this would be a good opportunity to practice some of the transparency we were promised.

Sincerely
Tim Jarrett

I’m a little more optimistic than some of the BoingBoing commenters that this can be corrected.

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