News & announcements
Dear Mr Fjellner,
I am writing to you with regard to your recent blog post on ACTA.
First of all thank you for providing a clarification after you tabled an amendment for the International Trade Committee vote next week calling for ACTA to be ratified. We are heartened to read that you believe that it would be irresponsible to take a definitive position on ACTA in the absence of assurances from the Commission. You further explain that clarifications are needed on “one or two” paragraphs.
Getting rid of the copyright’s aspect in ACTA as Mrs Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (German Federal minister of justice) suggested would fail to solve ACTA’s inherent problems.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of issues that will not be solved by political sleight of hand.
A fair balance between protecting intellectual property rights and preserving fundamental rights would still not be achieved. As confirmed by the European Economic and Social Committee, ACTA's approach is aimed at further strengthening the position of rights holders vis-à-vis the "public".
For decades, committed pro-European politicians and academics have wished for a number of ingredients that would be necessary for the credibility of the European institutional framework. They wanted an effective, representative and democratic European Parliament. They wanted a European Parliament that was not just theoretically an equal player in the institutional framework in Brussels, but a Parliament that was a genuine counterweight to the Council (the Member States) and the European Commission. Finally, and most difficult to create, pro-European thinkers dreamed of the possibility of pan-European political campaigns driven by pan-European political movements.
After all of the announcements of ACTA's death, one would wonder why anybody would have felt the need to turn up to the anti-ACTA demonstrations today. In April, the European Parliamentarian in charge of the ACTA dossier said that ACTA was dead. In May, the European Commissioner for the Information Society, Neelie Kroes, said that ACTA was dead. Now, in June, four different European Parliament Committees rejected ACTA. Was tumbleweed going to be the only participant at the ACTA demonstrations?
The documents made public today provide an extensive guide to the failures of the European Commission to negotiate
effectively on behalf of European citizens and businesses.
They also provide an insight into the ways in which the Commission's public relations "spin"; seeks to hide these failures.
Meeting notes Paris 2008
Meeting notes Rabat 2009
Meeting notes Seoul 2009
Meeting notes Guadalajara 2010
What the EC asked for:
What the EC got:
Some transparency for US companies, but nothing meaningful for European citizens and businesses.
EU Presidency actively choosing not to brief EU Member States.
No mandatory enforcement of intellectual property law by ISPs
Mandatory obligations on states party to ACTA to encourage enforcement of intellectual property law by ISPs.
No change to substantive copyright law
A further complication of EU law on copyright exceptions and limitations.
Prioritisation of health and safety issues in international cooperation
Adequate environmental protection in the disposal of seized material
A "safeguard" which creates no change to the status quo. In essence, nothing
Definitions of key terms in ACTA
Protection for geographical indications
1. The Commission claims that the ACTA process was transparent.The documents show this to be false.
From the earliest stages, the Commission made weak and unsuccessful efforts to have a transparent process. Despite support from Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, the EU was unable to gain any meaningful concessions. The EU ultimately agreed to work to keep all versions away from the public.