Questions are being asked in the European Parliament over scrutiny of ACTA. Leaked parts of the ACTA text indicate ISP liability is on the agenda.
Whether the European Parliament will be able to scrutinise ACTA - Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement - is the topic of an oral question tabled for the March session of the European Parliament. The question, from Swedish MEP Jens Holm , asks whether the final draft of of any forthcoming agreement will be published by the Council before final agreement and whether the European and national Parliaments will be able to scrutinise the text. A third question asks that the Council should not agree and rubber stamp the ACTA during the Parliament's recess for the elections.
The issue that Holm is trying to address is the secrecy that surrounds the ACTA negotiations. ACTA threatens to alter the law concerning enforcement of copyright and intellectual property by means of an multi-lateral agreement that is outside the conventional international legal framework. The nature of the proposals, as far as is known, will have implications for
fundamemental rights of EU citizens. Attempts to ask for the draft ACTA documentsto be made public, have so far been rejected.
The question comes amid reports that Internet downloading is on the ACTA hit list. Canadian lawyer Michael Geist reports that privacy and peer-to-peer are the main targets of ACTA. KEI reports what is apparently the text of the secrect ACTA, including the following paragraph:
Article 2.7: Injunctions
Each Party shall ensure that, where a judicial decision is taken finding an infringement of an intellectual property right, the judicial authorities may issue against the infringer an injunction aimed at prohibiting the continuation of the infringement. Where provided for by domestic law, non-compliance with an injunction shall, where appropriate, be subject to a recurring penalty payment, with a view to ensuring compliance. The Parties shall also ensure that right holders are in a position to apply for an injunction against intermediaries whose services are used by a third party to infringe an intellectual property right.
The first two sentences would need to be looked at in the context of EU law.
The last sentence has been lifted from the EU Copyright directive, almost word for word. It concerns liability of ISPs and network operators for copyright infringement and supplying users' personal details to rights-holders. Its inclusion in ACTA relates to the same issue as an amendment to the Medina report, tabled by IMCO committee chair Arlene McCarthy, and which I have previously reported on - namely strengthening the implementation of enforcement measures. IMCO, of course, is the committee in charge of the directive dealing with users rights in the Telecoms Package.