When DHS Questioned ACTA

A position on ACTA that DHS staked out while I was there has made the news, thanks to a recent FOIA release.

ACTA is the latest in a string of international intellectual property enforcement treaties driven by the United States Trade Representative’s office and industries that depend on IP as part of their business model.

In the Bush Administration, DHS didn’t much like ACTA, at least as it was then drafted.  It seemed like a sweetheart deal for a few intellectual property owners, who’d get free government enforcement of their private rights, potentially to the detriment of security and traditional customs enforcement.  Worse, the sweetheart deal would be written into international treaty, putting it beyond Congress’s reach if the risks we foresaw actually came to pass.  That’s what my memo to USTR said.

I still think we were right, and apparently so do outlets like Techcrunch Techdirt.  In fact, it’s kind of entertaining to watch the visible pain it causes Techcrunchdirt to admit that they, er, agree with DHS.  Or, in the words of one commenter: “Ok I am confused, what side am I supposed to root for. I thought I hated both sides.”

UPDATE: Corrected site name; thanks to commenter EMB.