Strasbourg, April 19th, 2010 – On Wednesday, the countries negotiating ACTA will release a draft text of this agreement aimed at tackling trademark, patent and copyright infringements. This important step in favor of transparency should not divert elected representatives around the world from exerting their prerogatives by drawing clear red lines not to be crossed by negotiators. In Europe, citizens can participate in raising awareness on ACTA by helping collect signatures to Written Declaration 12.
Leaks of the ACTA text show that dangerous provisions have been pushed by the negotiators and that the agreement could have severe consequences on freedom of expression, access to medicines and innovation worldwide1See: http://www.laquadrature.net/en/brief-the-fundamentals-of-acta. Although the upcoming establishment of transparency is a positive step, the substance of this international agreement harmonizing civil and criminal enforcement of copyright, patents and trademarks must be openly debated. This fundamental discussion is long overdue.
In Europe, the European Parliament can solemnly call for the wider public interest to be respected by adopting Written Declaration 12 (WD12). The latter addresses important issues regarding the content of ACTA:
- The liability regime of technical intermediaries (Online Service Providers and Internet Access Providers);
- The right to a fair trial, as some negotiating countries would like to impose non-judicial measures to deal with online file-sharing.
During the 4 days of plenary session from April 19th to April 22nd in Strasbourg, France, Members of the European Parliament2List of the signatories, non-signatories, and statistics can be found here: http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/Written_Declaration_12/2010_signatories_list will have an opportunity to sign WD12 and to take position on the substance of ACTA.
“The upcoming release of the consolidated version of the draft ACTA is a positive step forward and proves that the pressure exerted by democratically-elected representatives is having an impact. What we need now is to have a clear commitment that this so-called ‘trade agreement’ will not endanger fundamental freedoms by imposing harsh civil and criminal sanctions or other extremist enforcement measures. Thanks to Written Declaration 12, Members of the European Parliament can further influence the actual content of ACTA and protect EU citizens from such despicable policy-laundering. Every European citizen can participate in this effort”, says Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for the citizen-advocacy group La Quadrature du Net.
Every EU citizen can help obtaining signatures; all the relevant information can be found on the WD12 campaign page.