ACTA: A Global Threat to Freedoms (Open Letter)

Updated on December 24th, 2009

Paris, December 10th 2009 - A worldwide coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations, consumers unions and online service providers associations publish an open letter to the European institutions regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) currently under negotiation. They call on the European Parliament and the EU negotiators to oppose any provision that would undermine the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens in Europe and across the world.

Recently, European negotiators have submitted their overall position on the proposal put forward by the U.S Trade Representative for the Internet chapter of the ACTA. For the moment, it is still unknown. But the European Union must firmly oppose the dangerous measures secretly being negotiated. They cover not only "three strikes" schemes, but also Internet service providers liability, which would result in Internet filtering. Other dispositions would undermine interoperability and usability of digitial music and films.

The first signatories of the open letter include: Consumers International (world federation of 220 consumer groups in 115 countries), EDRi (27 European civil rights and privacy NGOs), the Free Software Foundation (FSF), the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), ASIC (French trade association for web2.0 companies), and civil liberties organizations from all around Europe (9 Member States so far...). The letter is still open for signature by other organizations.

ACTA: A Global Threat to Freedoms

open letter

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a broad intergovernmental agreement under negotiation ranging from the key social issue of access to medicine[1] to criminal Internet regulation. We fear it could seriously hinder European innovation in the digital single market while undermining fundamental rights and democracy at large.

The negotiation process itself raises important questions of transparency and due democratic process, given that the content of the draft agreement has been kept secret for more than 18 months, although some details about the proposals recently leaked to the public. More worrying still, while the European Parliament has been denied access to the documents, US industry has been granted access to them, albeit only after signing non-disclosure agreements.

A recent analysis by the European Commission of the ACTA Internet chapter[2] proves that the topics under discussion go far beyond the current body of EU law. Most importantly, the Commission's analysis confirms that the current draft of ACTA would profoundly restrict the fundamental rights and freedoms of European citizens, most notably the freedom of expression and communication privacy. These are very much at risk, since the current draft pushes for the implementation of three-strikes schemes and content filtering policies by seeking to impose civil and criminal liability on technical intermediaries such as internet service providers. The text would also radically erode the exercise of interoperability that is essential for both consumer rights and competitiveness.

Consequently, we urge the Parliament to call on European negotiators to establish transparency in the negotiation process and publish the draft agreement, and not to accept any proposal which would undermine citizens' rights and freedoms. Furthermore, we urge the Parliament to make an unequivocal statement to the Commission and Council that any agreement which does not respect these core principles would force the Parliament to reject the entire text.


[1] See: http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2009-07-15/criminalize-generic-medicines-hurt-poor-countries

[2] See: http://sharemydoc.org/files/philip/ec_analysis_of_acta_internet_chapter.pdf

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The first signatories of this letter are (in alphabetical order):

AK DATEN E.V. - Germany
AK DATEN is a NGO focussed on civil rights, especially on informational self-determination, privacy and freedom of information. We're co-founder of the "Friedrich Schüler Library and Archive for the european civil rights movement".
April - France
April is the main French advocacy association devoted to promote and protect Free/Libre Software
ASIC - France
L'Association des Services Internet Communautaires is a trade association for web2.0 companies in France. Their members include Dailymotion, Google, eBay, Yahoo, Microsoft and Wikipedia.
Asociación de Internautas - Spain
Association working for the rights of electronic communications users.
Bits of Freedom - The Netherlands
Bits of Freedom defends digital civil rights, such as privacy on the Internet and online freedom of speech.
Chaos Computer Club (CCC) - Germany
Europe's largest hacker group, founded in 1981.
Constant vzw - Belgium
Association for arts and media
Consumers International - International
Consumers International (CI) is the only independent global campaigning voice for consumers. With over 220 member organisations in 115 countries, we are building a powerful international consumer movement to help protect and empower consumers everywhere.
dyne.org - Intenational
Since 2000 dyne hosts an atelier for digital artisans. We design software and ideas for the arts, sharing a grassroot access to technology, education and freedom.
EDRi - Europe
European Digital Rights defends civil rights in the information society
Electronic Frontier Finland - Finland
Electronic Frontier Finland has been set up to defend the citizens' electronic rights.
Electronic Frontier Foundation - International
EFF is the leading civil liberties group defending your rights in the digital world.
Exgae - Spain
La primera asesoría legal especializada en librar a los ciudadanos de los abusos de las entidades de gestión y de la industría cultural. 24 identidades, entre asociaciones y ciudadanos, están detrás de esta iniciativa que comienza respaldada por casi 8000 personas.
Framasoft - France
Endorsed by a network of cooperative websites, Framasoft's goal is the dissemination and the promotion of the Free culture in general and of Free softwares specifically. Framasoft is an open door for the larger audience toward an assisted discovery of the "Free software world" : Free software and it's frame of mind, the Free culture and also digital liberties.
Free Knowledge Institute - Europe
The Free Knowledge Institute (FKI) is a non-profit organisation that fosters the free exchange of knowledge in all areas of society.
Free Software Foundation - International
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a donor supported charity founded in 1985 and based in Boston, MA, USA. The FSF has a worldwide mission to promote computer user freedom and to defend the rights of all free software users.
French Data Network - France
FDN is the oldest Internet access provider in France. It is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization.
Fundació privada per la Xarxa Lliure, Oberta i neutral - Spain
guifi.net is an open, free and neutral network built through a peer to peer, agreement where everyone can join. It has about 8,500 working nodes across 12,000 kms of network links providing self service and low cost broadband access, including rural areas and people with risk of exclusion.
Gleducar - Argentina
NGO that promotes freedom in education and access to knowledge supporting Free Technologies and distributed networks
Hacktivistas - Spain
An open technology enthusiasts collective focusing on free culture, free society and privacy.
Internati0nal Association of IT Lawyers (IAITL) - Denmark
The International Association of IT Lawyers (IAITL) is an international association constituted primarily of lawyers and legal practitioners who have an interest in Information Technology law. The International Association of IT Lawyers seeks to promote study and research in Computer Law through international conferences, networking, publication of member
Knowledge Ecology International - International
Attending and mending the knowledge ecosystem
La Quadrature du Net - France
La Quadrature du Net is a citizen group informing about legislative projects menacing civil liberties as well as economic and social development in the digital age.
netzpolitik.org - Germany
netzpolitik.org is a blog and campaigning-plaatform for digital rights.
Open Rights Group - United Kingdom
The Open Rights Group exists to preserve and promote UK and EU citizens rights in the digital age.
Open Standards Alliance - Hungary
The Open Standards Alliance is a broad coalition of industry, public service, government, research organizations and private individuals focused on establishing fair and open markets predominantly in the Hungarian governmental and public service sectors.
Opendata Network - Germany
German based NGO to promote open access, open data, open government, transparency and participation.
OW2 Consortium - International
OW2 is an independent industry consortium dedicated to developing open source code infrastructure (middleware and generic applications) and to fostering a vibrant community and business ecosystem. OW2 federates more than one hundred organizations and 6000 IT Professionals in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
Public Knowledge - United States
Public Knowledge is a non-profit public interest organization devoted to protecting citizens’ rights in the emerging digital information culture and focused on the intersection of intellectual property, and technology. Public Knowledge seeks to guard the rights of consumers, innovators, and creators at all layers of our culture through legislative, administrative, grass-roots efforts, and legal efforts, including regular participation in copyright cases that threaten consumers, trade, and innovation.
Reporters sans frontières - France
Reporters sans frontières est une organisation non gouvernementale qui défend et promeut la liberté de la presse et d'expression dans le monde Reporters Without Borders is a non-governmental organisation that defends and promotes press and freedom of speech around the world.
Scambio Etico - Italy
A grassroots movement to defend citizens' rights on the Internet, promote access to knowledge and preserve Net Neutrality.
The Julia Group (Juliagruppen) - Sweden
The Julia group is a non profit organisation working for a free and open internet.
The WeReBuild clusters - Europe
We Rebuild is a decentralized cluster of net activists who have joined forces to collaborate on issues concerning access to a free Internet without intrusive surveillance.
U.S. PIRG - USA
U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.

This letter is also signed by:

Act Up-Paris - France
Act Up-Paris is an aids activists group based in France. We are PLWA fighting for our rights and for universal access to treatment.
ActiveWatch Media Monitoring Agency - Romania
Human rights organization that fights for a free communication in the public interest. ActiveWatch is a member of the international RSF network.
AdmiNet City - Canada, Burkina Faso, France
Défense des droits civiques dans le domaine des technologies et de l'éducation, agissant par des blogs (Cawailleurs etc.) et de la formation (compétences numériques). Advocacy of civil rights in the filed of technology and education, acting through blogs (CawAilleurs etc.) and teaching (digital literacy). Logo : http://www.adminet.ca/logo_AdmiNet-City.png
AFUL - France
The french speaking libre software users' association (AFUL) is an association for the promotion of free software, free content, interoperability and open access.
Asociacion Colombiana de Usuarios de Internet - Colombia
Asociacion Colombiana de Usuarios de Internet At Large Structure Icann Lacralo. Members Federation Latinoamerican Internet Users
Asociación de Tècnicos de Informática (ATI) - Spain
Largest and oldest IT professional association in Spain representing Spain in CEPIS and IFIP
Association L'Ange Bleu - France
Association Nationale de Prévention et d'Information Concernant la Pédophilie
Associazione per il Software Libero - Italy
Associazione per il Software Libero is an italian no profit organization devoted to the promotion and protection of free software.
Associazione scambio etico - Italia
associazione no profit per una libera diffusione culturale
Assoprovider - Italy
First Internet Service Provider (ISP) association in Italy with 200 members.
Attac France - France
Attac (Association pour la taxation des transactions financières et pour l’action citoyenne) promeut et mène des actions de tous ordres en vue de la reconquête, par les citoyens, du pouvoir que la sphère financière exerce sur tous les aspects de la vie politique, économique, sociale et culturelle dans l’ensemble du monde.
AUI - Asociacion de Usuarios de Internet - Spain
Asociación española, sin ánimo de lucro, fundada en 1995 para promover el buen uso de internet y defender los derechos de los Usuarios. Non-Profit Spanish Internet Users Association, founded in 1995, to promote the fair use of the internet and defend User´s rights
comité de lutte contre la barbarie et l'arbitraire - FRANCE
Etre la Voix de ceux qui en sont privés
Committee for a Democratic U.N. - Germany
The Committee for A Democratic U.N. is a think tank based in Germany that advocates more transparency and democracy in global governance and international rule-making. It connects academics, parliamentarians, non-governmental organizations, public persons and dedicated citizens from all around the world who work on this goal.
Comunità per le Libere Attività Culturali - Italy
We are a federation of associations especially concerned with the free expression of culture and the preservation of cultural heritage over years. We have been in charge of the "Friends of the World Treasures" International Secretary of the World Federation of UNESCO Centres, Clubs and Associations (WFUCA/FMACU) since 1993
CPSR/Japan - Japan
CPSR is one of the oldest computer professional NPO. We CPSR/Japan (CPSR Japan chapter) is the first local chapter outside of US founded in 2002. From the standpoint of the computer professionals' social responsibility, we especially watching out the ICT policy-laundering.
digitalrights.gr - Greece
digitalrights.gr is a Greek citizen initiative to provide information and support activism efforts about citizen rights online.
Electronic Frontier Norway - Norway
EFN is a Norwegian civil liberties organization working to protect and promote freedom of expression, privacy, the use of open media formats on the net, public access to online resources and information, and open standards for IT infrastructures.
FACIL - Canada
FACIL is a not-for-profit organization which aims to promote Free Software in Québec. FACIL also organizes or participates to other events related to Free Software and open standards.
FAIFE - Finland
IFLA/FAIFE - International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions / Committee on Free Access to Information and Freedom of Expression. FAIFE works to protect intellectual freedom and freedom of expression within library field.
FFII - Europe
The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) e. V. is a charitable association registered in Munich, Germany which is dedicated to the spread of data processing literacy. It funds the development of public information works based on copyright, free competition and open standards. The FFII attained broad international recognition for its phrontistery role in the European debate on a software patent directive (2002-2005) and software-related patent reform.
FoAM - International
FoAM is committed to growing inclusive, resilient and abundant worlds by providing a context and a structure to research, design and reflect on transdisciplinary creative practices.
FoeBuD e.V. - Germany
Der FoeBuD e.V. setzt sich seit 1987 für Bürgerrechte und Datenschutz ein. Beim FoeBuD treffen unterschiedlichste Menschen zusammen, die Technik und Politik kritisch erkunden und menschenwürdig gestalten wollen. Der FoeBuD klärt durch Öffentlichkeitsarbeit, Vorträge, Veranstaltungen und charmante Aktionen auf. So richtet der FoeBuD jährlich die BigBrotherAwards („Oscars für Datenkraken“) in Deutschland aus. Mit unserem Fachwissen mischen wir uns – auch ungefragt – in politische Prozesse ein. Der FoeBuD arbeitet für eine lebenswerte Welt im digitalen Zeitalter.
Föreningen fri kultur & programvara - Sweden
FFKP works in support of a society built on free exchange of knowledge, ideas and culture. The foundation works through collaboration and gathers in its yearly conference FSCONS experience and expertice from several different groups: Wikimedia, Creative Commons, Free Software Foundation Europe, and many more.
Free Hardware Foundation - Italy
Free Hardware Foundation is committed in offering free legal advice on copyright related issues to whoever needs it: citizens, young authors, small enterprises, public institutions. Our mission to empower the citinzery.
Fundacja Nowoczesna Polska - Poland
Modern Poland Foundation is a non-profit working in the field of Open Educational Resources and promoting idea of free and unrestricted access to knowledge. We run programs such as "Free Textbooks" (teachers write textbooks for schools in an open, participatory production model), "Free Readings" (innovative internet school library with public domain books served in a rich, inter-textual manner) and "Reading by listening" (audio-books of obligatory school readings read by professional actors). All software and content produced in a Foundation programs is released under one of the free licenses.
Gnutiken - Sweden
Gnutiken is an international free software cooperative, working to promote free software and related ideas such as transparency, openness and sustainability.
Hipatia - Italia
Software without borders. Knowledge without frontiers, that is Hipatia. We strive to have free knowledge, in action for towns and villages of the world. Hipatia came up as a spontaneous coordination of people from all around the world that share a vision and a goal. And the vision is to have a global knowledge society based on freedom, equity and solidarity. Manifesto of Hipatia outlines this vision in detail.
INETD - Internet Technologies Association - TURKEY
INETD is a user organization aimed to promote internet and internet technologies for benefit of all citizens and mankind. INETD bring together professionals working on open systems, open source and free software and provide a platform for discussions of problems of Turkish Internet. INETD organizes "Internet Conference of Turkey", Academic Informatics Conference, and supports Internet Festival. INETD together with sister Informatics NGO's fights agains Internet Censorship in Turkey
Interassociation Archives Bibliothèques Documentation - France
L’IABD réunit 17 associations professionnelles du secteur de l'Information-documentation. AAF (Association des archivistes français) ABF (Association des bibliothécaires de France) ACB (Association des conservateurs de bibliothèques) ACIM (Association de coopération des professionnels de l’information musicale) ADBDP (Association des directeurs de bibliothèques départementales de prêt) ADBGV (Association des directeurs des bibliothèques des grandes villes) ADBS (Association des professionnels de l’information et de la documentation) ADBU (Association des directeurs et des personnels de direction des bibliothèques universitaires et de la documentation) ADDNB (Association pour le développement des documents numériques en bibliothèque) ADRA (Association de développement et de recherche sur les artothèques) AIBM-France (Association internationale des bibliothèques, archives et centres de documentation musicaux. Groupe français) APRONET (Association des professionnels Internet des collectivités publiques locales) FADBEN (Fédération des enseignants documentalistes de l’Education nationale) FILL (Fédération interrégionale pour le livre et la lecture) FULBI (Fédération des utilisateurs de logiciels pour bibliothèques, documentation et information) IB (Images en bibliothèques) Interdoc (Association des documentalistes de collectivités territoriales)
Internet Sans Frontières - France
Internet sans frontières est une ONG française dont l'objectif est de promouvoir et de défendre la liberté d'expression sur Internet dans le monde - Web Without borders is a French NGO that aims to promote and protect freedom on the Internet worldwide.
Isaac Hacksimov - Spain
Hacktivist collective
lautre.net - France
L’Autre Net est une association qui héberge vos sites web depuis 2001, mais aussi vos emails, ou tout autre service web utile à ses membres. Basée sur une gestion solidaire du service, une mise en commun des moyens menant à la production d’un service par ceux qui le consomment, et le partage de coûts d’hébergement, l’association existe depuis 2000 et compte environ 850 membres à ce jour.
linux club italia - italia
promotion of free software and free culture, reduction of digital divide, support for Copyleft and Creative Commons licenses, against the concept of Intellectual Property.
Modemmujer, Red Feminista de Comunicación Electrónica - México
Asociación civil legalmente constituida, con 15 años de experiencia utilizando y promoviendo el uso estratégico de las tecnologías de información y comunicación, con enfoque de género, para capacitar, formar, sensibilizar y estimular procesos de aprendizaje. Brindando elementos teórico-metodológicos que propician el análisis y la reflexión sobre las condiciones de desigualdad de género, a fin de estimular la implementación de acciones que contribuyan al establecimiento de relaciones equitativas y al ejercicio de los derechos
Nature Care - Thailand
We work mainly on environment preservation and community development
New Zealand Open Source Society - New Zealand
The New Zealand Open Source Society is a non-profit organisation set up to educate, advocate and advance the use of Free and Open Source Software in New Zealand.
NNSquad Italia - Italy
NNSquad Italia is the Italian chapter of the global campaign to protect network neutrality over the Internet, started by fathers of the net such as Vint Cerf.
OpenActa - Mexico
Website dedicated to follow up #ACTA negotiations in Mexico and the rest of the world to inform citizens, internauts and media. Open the Draft. Listen to the people.
OpenOffice.org Español - Mexico
Free and Open source software development NGO that contribute to the development of open productivity applications across Spain and Latin America.
Ouvaton - France
Ouvaton ... is a web-hosting cooperative company. Each hosted is hostong. One man = one voice.
P2P Foundation - International
Research organisation in favour of peer production and social innovation
p2pnet.net - Canada
p2pnet.net went online in August, 2002. It was the first Internet web page to carry daily, frequently updated news, stories, features and commentaries on digital media, distributed computing and associated technologies and events which haven’t been spun, filtered and pre-digested by vested corporate interests. It places special emphasis on freedom of speech.
Piratgruppen - Denmark
Piratgruppen started as an opposition to AntiPiratGruppen - The danish anti-piracy outfit. Piratgruppens activities range from supporting people who have been threatened with lawsuits by AntiPiratGruppen to advocating free file-sharing in the media, trying to create public debate on the question of copyright in the digital age.
Privacy International - International
Privacy International (PI) is a human rights group formed in 1990 as a watchdog on surveillance and privacy invasions by governments and corporations.
Productora Libre - Argentina
PRODUCTORA LIBRE nace a partir de las ideas del Software Libre y del Copyleft, para crear un espacio creativo hacia la libertad del conocimiento, el arte y la cultura. En este sentido se busca integrar los recursos audiovisuales, el software libre, el copyleft, y la cultura libre como los ideales y las herramientas para la creación de proyectos de comunicación multimedial que involucren aspectos temáticos sobre cultura, sociedad, historia, ciencias sociales, artes, técnica, tecnología, derecho, trabajo y desarrollo.
Revolución con Letras - México
Un espacio para que artículos informativos y de opinión creados por y para los mexicanos ayuden en un futuro a personas necesitadas a través de la venta de una revista impresa.
SansüreSansür - Turkey
Civil initiative about internet censorship in Turkey.
SCIDERALLE - France
SCIDERALLE, association issue du projet AbulÉdu, soutient des projets visant à fournir à tout public des logiciels et ressources libres pour l’éducation populaire : logiciels, ressources et services d’intérêt collectif et d’utilité sociale.
SNAP CGT - France
Le Syndicat national des artistes plasticiens CGT est une organisation professionnelle, un pôle de réflexions, de propositions et d'actions visant à promouvoir et défendre les conditions d'accomplissement des créations plastiques les plus diverses. Forts d'une expérience de 30 années, les artistes militants du SNAPcgt ont élaboré le Guide de l'Auteur d'oeuvres plastiques et graphiques pour que les artistes plasticiens trouvent toutes les informations utiles à leur vie professionnelle et participent à la réflexion sur l'amélioration nécessaire du statut d'artiste aujourd'hui ainsi qu'au développement de la Culture. Le SNAPcgt participe avec vigilance à consolider le régime de protection sociale des Artistes Auteurs plasticiens et lutte pour le respect des droits d'auteurs. Pour autant, nous pensons nécessaire de développer un accès le plus large aux oeuvres sur les réseaux numériques tout en permettant aux auteurs de vivre de leur travail afin d'enrichir un patrimoine collectif et culturel essentiel pour la démocratie.
Société française de l'Internet (SFI) - France
Dans le cadre du « dialogue entre tous les partenaires » défini par le Sommet Mondial sur la Société de l’Information (SMSI), la SFI a pour vocation d’être une interface active de la société civile dans les débats concernant le développement et la gouvernance de l’Internet. In the frame of the "multistakeholders dialogue" defined by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), SFI aims to play an interface part in the debates of civil society about Internet development and governance. Logo : http://www.refondation.org/logo_SFI.png
Tech Liberty NZ - New Zealand
Tech Liberty (NZ) is dedicated to protecting people’s rights in the areas of the Internet and technology. We make submissions on public policy, help to educate people about their rights, and defend those whose rights are being infringed.
Telematics Freedom Foundation - Italy
The Telematics Freedom Foundation was set up to bring in the age of telematics, Internet, mobile phones and the web, all those freedoms and rights that the Free Software Movement has already brought to PC users worldwide. To achieve this purpose, we promote the consolidation and widespread adoption of models for development and deployment of telematic services which are under the full control of their users. We are also developing software for remote democratic organization, which will constitute a touchstone for the model of production, sharing and full control outlined by the idea of Telematics Freedom we are defending.
UFC-Que Choisir - France
Established in 1951, UFC-Que Choisir is a not-for-profit organisation with a nation-wide network of nearly 170 local organisations that handles more than 100,000 consumer complaints a year. Through its monthly publication, the high-profile magazine ‘Que Choisir’ and its wide readership in excess of 500,000 individual subscribers, UFC-Que Choisir carries out in-depth research and test comparison for a range of goods and services. The three pillars of the UFC-Que Choisir are: Independence, democracy and solidarity.
Utopia - France
Group of independant cinema theatres
Virtual Activism - USA - Egypt
Virtual Activism is a nonprofit organization that works to bring technology to human rights and development organizations in the Middle East.
Vrijschrift/Scriptum Libre - Netherlands
Vrijschrift/Scriptum Libre promotes cultural freedom and privacy.
Електронна граница България/Electronic Frontier Bulgaria - Bulgaria
We are a group of people willing to defend human rights in the digital world and the Internet. Our professional range is enormous, from average Internet users to members of the Parliament, from businesspeople to lawyers and experts, teachers and journalists.
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