[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?