PUBLIC INFORMATION -- The Obama White House is denying Americans access to documents circulated widely to foreign governments and shared with industry lobbyists relating to a controversial proposed treaty for enforcement of patent and copyright law in the international sphereon the basis that the documents are classified.
There are number of outstanding Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
requests for key documents, by groups like EFF, Public Knowledge, and
KEI. In one of our FOIA requests, we asked for 7 specific documents,
referenced by the exact title and date of the documents. These
documents are the proposals for the text of the agreement.
The texts are available to the Japanese government. They are
available to the 27 member states of the European Union. They are
available to the governments of Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia.
They are available to Morocco, and many other countries. They are
available to "cleared" advisers (mostly well connected lobbyists) for
the pharmaceutical, software, entertainment and publishing industries.
But they are a secret from you, the public.
Today we received this letter from the White House, Office of the
United States Trade Representative. Our FOIA request was denied on the
grounds that the documents are "information that is properly classified
in the interest of national security pursuant to Executive Order 12958."