EU Commission Kicks Off Campaign to Defeat ACTA
Paris, June 30th, 2011 – The European Commission adopted proposals for the ratification of ACTA, the anti-counterfeiting agreement. This opens the door to concerted citizen action in defeating ACTA, as it will be voted upon by both the European Parliament and national Parliaments. Among the many texts and policies that try to pave the way for the private censorship of the Internet, ACTA symbolizes the worse circumvention of democracy by a few narrow interests. Democracy must fight back.
After having adopted the two proposals for the signing1 and adoption2 of ACTA, the Commission transmitted both proposals to the EU Council of Ministers, who will soon adopt them as well. Member States will ask their national Parliaments across the 27 Member States to vote on the text, which will also be put to vote before the EU Parliament3.
This secretly-negotiated agreement – far from being limited to trade policy – would impose new criminal sanctions to signatories that are both ill-defined and extremely large in scope. These sanctions would apply even to not-for-profit infringements of copyright, patents or trademarks4.
In the digital environment, its entry into force could result in the development of extra-judicial modes of copyright enforcement. Under the guise of “cooperation”, ACTA would actually violate the right to a fair trial and harm Net neutrality and freedom of expression5. This strategy was once again reaffirmed by the European Commission copyright strategy6 and the G8 summit7 last month, and just yesterday by the OECD principles on Internet policy-making8.
The ratification process opens the door to the mobilisation of EU citizens, corporations and NGOs, to work together in defeating this totally undemocratic agreement, bound to harm freedoms and innovation across the world.
“The time is now! This is a historic battle in the "war on sharing" that we cannot afford to lose. Every citizen who cares for a free Internet, the protection of fundamental freedoms and democracy must participate in defeating ACTA. European and national members of Parliament must follow the example of their Mexican counterparts, and reject ACTA. All democratic means should be used to defeat this massive circumvention of democracy attacking our freedoms to protect a few obsolete industries.”, said Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for La Quadrature du Net.
- 1. http://register.consilium.europa.eu/servlet/driver?typ=Advanced&cmsid=639&fc=REGAISEN&srm=25&md=100&lang=EN&ff_DOCKEY=ST12190/11ORI&rc=1&nr=1&page=Detail
- 2. http://register.consilium.europa.eu/servlet/driver?lang=EN&ssf=DATE_DOCUMENT+DESC&fc=REGAISEN&srm=25&md=400&typ=Simple&cmsid=638&ff_COTE_DOCUMENT=&ff_TITRE=conclusion+agreement+korea&ff_FT_TEXT=&ff_SOUS_COTE_MATIERE=&dd_DATE_REUNION=&rc=1&nr=25&page=Detail
- 3. Further analysis of the two proposals of the ratification of ACTA will follow.
- 4. See our analysis of ACTA, and in particular of the abusive definition of “commercial scale”: http://www.laquadrature.net/en/acta-updated-analysis-of-the-final-version
- 5. See our analysis of ACTA's worst provisions: http://www.laquadrature.net/en/acta-updated-analysis-of-the-final-version. See in particular article 27.3: Each Party shall endeavour to promote cooperative efforts within the business community to effectively address trademark and copyright or related rights infringement while preserving legitimate competition and, consistent with that Party’s law, preserving fundamental principles such as freedom of expression, fair process, and privacy.
- 6. http://www.laquadrature.net/en/eu-commission-sticks-to-flawed-copyright-repression
- 7. G8 Declaration – Renewed Commitment to Freedom and Democracy, of May 30th, 2011:
“With regard to the protection of intellectual property, in particular copyright, trademarks, trade secrets and patents, we recognize the need to have national laws and frameworks for improved enforcement. We are thus renewing our commitment to ensuring effective action against violations of intellectual property rights in the digital arena, including action that addresses present and future infringements. We recognize that the effective implementation of intellectual property rules requires suitable international cooperation of relevant stakeholders, including with the private sector.” Address: http://www.g20-g8.com/g8-g20/g8/english/live/news/renewed-commitment-for-freedom-and-democracy.1314.html
- 8. http://www.laquadrature.net/en/copyright-interests-force-private-censorship-into-oecd-communique