Press review

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The press review catalogues press articles related to la Quadrature's issues, compiled by its volunteers.
See also our French press review.

[Dagens Nyheter] Striden om upphovsrätten Nätaktivisten: Våra fundamentala rättigheter är hotade

Bakom EU:s senaste initiativ mot piratkopiering finns starka ekonomiska intressen som vill bryta ner skyddsvallarna kring användarnas integritet på nätet. Det menar Jeremie Zimmerman på franska organisationen La Quadrature du Net. [...]

[TheMaltaIndependent] ACTA – mountain or molehill?

It seems that the much-debated Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) may very well be an agreement that is dead in the water. For several weeks now, the controversy surrounding this agreement has raised some strong and passionate arguments, some founded and some not. [...]

There may have been a number of reasons (and motives!) for the vociferous reaction across the globe against the agreement. Essentially, keen opponents of ACTA are adamant that this legislation will impinge on the fundamental and civil digital rights of the individual. The claims put forward by its opponents suggest that it will breach the right of free expression and privacy in communication. ACTA’s opponents believe that its enactment will provide governments and big business free access to people’s lives reminiscent of Orwell’s ‘Big Brother’. [...]

The violent reaction to ACTA immediately grabbed the attention of European politicians and indeed some countries have postponed signing ACTA’s ratification, among which are Germany, Latvia and Poland. The confusion surrounding ACTA was also felt in Malta. [...] The Prime Minister has made it clear that no agreement will for any reason infringe or threaten the right of free expression on the Internet. Hence the Prime Minister is to present a Bill that will guarantee and recognise four new civil rights.[...]

[Deutsche Welle] EU parliamentarians tackle ACTA

The global Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) treaty aims to combat copied products and reduce online piracy. But its fine print remains a source of heated debate. Now the European Parliament wants to have a say. [...]

The European parliamentarian Jan-Philipp Albrecht, a member of the Green Party, was opposed to ACTA from the beginning. "In the area of copyrights, measures are being proposed that are very oppressive toward Internet users," Albrecht told DW. "Instead of prosecuting users, those providing infringed material should be taken to court."

A further problem, according to Albrecht, is that not all countries have participated in formulating the agreement. This is not in line with the rules of the international community. [...]

Even if support for ACTA is crumbling, not all politicians are turning their backs to the treaty. European parliamentarian Daniel Caspary sees a positive side. "ACTA is a milestone in the battle against product piracy," he said on this homepage. But he doesn't view the agreement as an optimal solution given the limited number of countries on board. [...],,15775712,00.html

[Europeanvoice] Parliament urged to seek legal opinion on ACTA

British MEP says Parliament must have its own legal opinion from the European Court of Justice, not rely on an opinion requested by the Commission. [...]

Christofer Fjellner, a Swedish centre-right MEP who is dealing with ACTA for the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), said a second legal request to the ECJ would be welcome.

Martin said that the Parliament's international trade committee, which is reviewing the accord, would want to know whether the agreement respected EU laws as well as fundamental rights. “If the court says 'No' to any of these things, ACTA, in my opinion, is dead,” said Martin. [...]

On Tuesday, a petition signed by nearly 2.5 million people demanding that MEPs reject ACTA was submitted to the Parliament's petitions committee.

Eminia Mazzoni, an Italian centre-right MEP and chair of the petitions committee, said her committee would decide in the coming days whether the petition would lead to a special hearing on ACTA.

[EuropeanParliement] Parliament receives petition against ACTA

A petition calling on MEPs "to stand for a free and open Internet and reject the ratification of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)" was received by the European Parliament on Tuesday. The petition had been signed by almost 2.5 million people from all over the world.

"Receiving a petition supported by more than 2 million people places an even bigger responsibility on us to listen to the European people and offer them a place to express their views to the European institutions", said Petitions Committee chair Erminia Mazzoni (EPP, IT), after the petition was presented. [...]

The Petitions Committee will decide on the petition's admissibility at its next meeting, on 19-20 March. If the petition is declared admissible (i.e. if it falls within the EU’s sphere of competence), the committee will then hold an open discussion with the petitioners, experts, the European Commission and other stakeholders. This would contribute to the public debate officially launched in the European Parliament this week (see below for list of ACTA events in the coming days). [...]

[TheWashingtonPost] Opponents of ACTA anti-counterfeiting treaty present petition with 2 million names to EU

Activists handed the European Parliament an Internet petition Tuesday bearing more than 2 million names and arguing against ratification of a proposed anti-counterfeiting treaty on the grounds it would destroy Internet freedom.

The petition was presented by representatives of Avaaz, an organization that uses the internet to mobilize support for various political issues.

“We call on you to stand for a free and open Internet and reject the ratification of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which would destroy it,” the petition said. [...]

[TheAtlantic] Europe in Turmoil Over Internet Anti-Piracy Legislation

The European Parliament positions itself as a guardian of privacy, data protection, and freedom from heavy policing by states, but a bill called ACTA is challenging that.

In the wake of the public outcry in the United States over proposed domestic antipiracy legislation, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), international regulation is also taking a hit. The edifice of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) seems to have crumbled. This time, however, it happened in Europe.

The European Commission has suspended ACTA's ratification, shunting it instead into the European Court of Justice (ECJ). This is read by some as a means of putting the debate on ice for a year. ACTA's Commission proponents seem to hope that a favorable ruling by the ECJ will provide the political cover necessary to defuse their critics' arguments that the agreement is a violation of fundamental rights to internet freedom and privacy. [ ... ]

[LeMondeDiplomatique] What's (still) wrong with ACTA

Negotiations on ACTA were formerly announced on October 23, 2007. The ACTA announcement came less than three weeks after the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) adopted the “Development Agenda,” and was part of a broader strategy by right holders to move norm setting and technical assistance into more secretive, closed and captured institutions.[...]

Trade negotiators from the European Commission and USTR make it clear that the ACTA norms were designed to eventually be imposed on developing countries. Despite being the putative target of the new norms, only two developing countries — Morocco and Mexico — participated in the negotiations. [...]

By creating higher norms for damages from infringement, the ACTA makes it more risky for businesses and consumers to undertake activities are may or may not actually constitute infringement. Everyone must become more risk adverse, even when the activity they are engaged in may ultimately be legal. [...]

Despite the massive criticism of the ACTA negotiating process, there is no requirement that the ACTA Committee operate in a transparent, open and inclusive process, and no political commitment from any of the ACTA members to do so.[...]

[InfoJustice.Org] Reactions to De Gucht’s Announcement that EC Has Sent ACTA to European Court of Justice

On February 22, EC Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht announced that the Commission has referred ACTA to the European Court of Justice. The court has been asked “to assess whether ACTA is incompatible – in any way – with the EU’s fundamental rights and freedoms, such as freedom of expression and information or data protection and the right to property in case of intellectual property… I believe the European Commission has a responsibility to provide our parliamentary representatives and the public at large with the most detailed and accurate information available. So, a referral will allow for Europe’s top court to independently clarify the legality of this agreement.”

The European Parliament published a statement saying it “will wait for the Court’s ruling before drawing any conclusions. However, in the meantime it will continue its own scrutiny of the agreement.” [...]

La Quadrature du Net put out a press release noted that the court’s review will not address important political (as opposed to legal) questions, including:

- Can a wide-ranging interpretation of ACTA’s criminal sanctions (for “infringement on a commercial scale”, including “aiding and abetting”) be used as a bullying weapon by the copyright industry to force Internet actors into deploying contract-based repressive measures?
- What will be the impact on EU policy-making and public debate of casting in stone current repressive policies for which an impact study is still expected, and which are heavily criticized (such as the EUCD and IPRED)?
- Can such a body of policies, impacting EU policy-making, the free flow of information and the freedom to conduct business on the Internet be negotiated instead of democratically debated, and yet be legitimate?
- Is ACTA necessary as we are facing an open conflict between repressive copyright policies and fundamental freedoms, and that other paths could be taken, such as a positive reform taking into account new cultural practices?


[East Media Group] ACTA not contemplated by or sent to government for adoption

The Ministry of Education and Science, responding to incorrect information in the media about Serbia’s accession to the ACTA agreement, stated that this agreement has not been contemplated by the relevant ministry, nor sent to the government for adoption. [...]

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