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ACTA's Impact on Industry and Human Rights - Letters to EU Parliament

La Quadrature du Net has written to two key committees of the European Parliament regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). As the EU Parliament engages in preparatory works in view of its upcoming consent vote on ACTA, La Quadrature stresses that the Parliament must fully assess the dangers of this agreement for innovation, competition and competitiveness of EU businesses, but also for human rights.

ACTA's flaws and dangers should prompt the committee on Industry, Transport and Research committee (ITRE) as well as the Civil Liberties committee (LIBE) to issue opinions on ACTA1.

Today, La Quadrature du Net has sent letters to these key committees, urging them to undertake a comprehensive assessment of ACTA.

Letter to the ITRE commitee

Dear member of the ITRE committee,

As you know, the European Parliament will soon be asked to give its consent to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). We ask your committee to weigh in this process by working on an opinion regarding the proposal for a Council decision on the signing and conclusion of ACTA. Indeed, ACTA raises crucial questions regarding innovation and competitiveness of EU companies that deserve special scrutiny from your committee, before the Parliament decides whether to grant its consent to ACTA.

EU academics and an independent study commissioned by the INTA committee both show that ACTA goes further than current EU acquis, especially regarding border measures, damages and criminal sanctions. Such draconian measures will create a strong legal uncertainty for businesses operating in the EU, and will undermine the realisation of EU objectives in the field of innovation and development of the digital economy, access to medicines or the diffusion of green technologies.

Furthermore, given that neither the biggest emerging economies (China, India, Brazil) nor even the United States will ratify ACTA, competitiveness risks being severely hurt. Innovation and competition will be hampered by the implementation of new extremist IPR provisions, undermining the EU's stance in the global economy.

We therefore call on you to use your competency and expertise in industrial policy to assess the risks attached to the EU ratification of ACTA.

Sincerely,

Philippe Aigrain, Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, Benjamin Sonntag, Jérémie Zimmermann
Co-founders of citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net

Letter to the LIBE commitee

Dear member of the LIBE committee,

As you know, the European Parliament will soon be asked to give its consent to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). We ask your committee to weigh in this process by working on an opinion regarding the proposal for a Council decision on the signing and conclusion of ACTA. Indeed, ACTA raises crucial questions regarding civil liberties of EU companies that deserve special scrutiny from your committee, before the Parliament decides whether to grant its consent to ACTA.

As a group focusing on Internet policy, we are particularly worried by the provisions of the digital chapter, that open the door for yet another attack on the rights and freedoms of Internet users in the name of an obsolete copyright regime. We are not alone in alerting about this risk. The Mexican Congress has recently stated that this chapter could lead to a privatised online censorship, with harmful effects on Net neutrality (and therefore freedom of expression), access to communications or access to culture. Frank La Rue, the United Nations Rapporteur on freedom of expression, also expressed similar concerns.

Furthermore, the Green group of the EU Parliament commissioned an impact assessment of ACTA on fundamental freedoms which stresses that ACTA's provisions "either eliminate safeguards existing under international law or, after strengthening enforcement measures, fail to introduce corresponding safeguarding measures." It also contradicts the Commission's claim that ACTA does not go beyond the acquis communautaire, stressing that ACTA "will directly or indirectly require additional action on the EU level".

We therefore call on your committee to give a thorough and objective assessment of ACTA's compatibility with the EU's commitment to defending and promoting human rights.

Sincerely,

Philippe Aigrain, Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, Benjamin Sonntag, Jérémie Zimmermann
Co-founders of citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net

  • 1. So far, the lead committee is the INTA committee (International Trade). The JURI committee (Legal Affairs) and the DEVE committee (Development) will issue opinions. see ACTA's procedure file.