In 2010, I wrote about ACTA several times. Essentially, ACTA was a behind the scenes effort to create a global copyright framework that would significantly strengthen rightsholders’ enforcement options. The initial ACTA process was held in secret for several years before drafts of the agreement leaked and finally the finished version was published.
Somewhat belatedly the citizens of several European countries have woken up to the extent to which ACTA tries to influence domestic laws. The results of protests in Europe have been meaningful with several countries either withholding or attempting to rescind their ratification (Poland, Czech Republic). The latest news is a big one: Germany has just decided today to suspend ratification.
Now would seem like a good moment to consider that ACTA was set up in the US as something that would just require the President’s signature. This is known as an “Executive Agreement.” But given the huge impact on domestic law, ACTA should be considered a “Treaty” instead and thus require super-majority Senate approval. If you want to really wonk out on this topic, here is an excellent history of the rise of Executive Agreements (PDF).
What is needed now is for one or more Senators to start requesting that ACTA be turned into a treaty. Senator Ron Wyden has taken first steps in this direction but more are needed.