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A Copyright Masquerade: how corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

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Four MEPS have submitted a written declaration to oppose ACTA (Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement). If it gets sufficient signatures, it will challenge the European Union's rights to negotiate on this secret treaty which threatens the Internet. 

 

The 'gang of four' are  Stavros Lambrinidis (Greek, Socialist), Zuzana Roithova (Czech, EPP) , Alexander Alvaro (Germany, Liberal)  and Francoise Castex (France, Socialist).  In a 7-point statement they call for all ACTA documents to be publicly available, and express opposition to liability for content being forced onto ISPs, and further oppose criminal sanctions for IP infringement. 

 

In order for the Declaration to have any effect, they need to get

 

the signatures of more than half the Parliament.

 Three of the MEPs have a track record in supporting fundamental rights. Roithova co-tabled Amendment 138 in the Telecoms Package, Lambrinidis wrote the Parliament's positioning report on fundamental freedoms on the Internet, Alvaro was the rapporteur for the data retention directive. 

 

It will be interesting to see how they succeed in getting the signatures.  This could be as much an institutional statement as one of principle. The Parliament has gained power under the Lisbon Treaty and wants to flex its  muscles. That  could help them to get the signatures they need.  It will be especially interesting to watch what some MEPs do, such as Malcolm Harbour and Sharon Bowles (who incidentally represents the south-east of England).  

 

Written declaration on the lack of a transparent process and potentially objectionable content concerning the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) The European Parliament, - having regard to Rule 123 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. Whereas the ongoing negotiations concerning the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

B. Whereas the co-decision role of the European Parliament in commercial matters and its access to negotiation documents guaranteed by the Lisbon Treaty,

1. Considers that the proposed agreement should not indirectly impose harmonisation of EU copyright, patent or trademark law. The principle of subsidiarity should be respected,

2. Declares that the Commission should immediately make all documents related to the ongoing negotiations publicly available.

3. Takes the view that the proposed agreement should not force limitations upon judicial due process nor weaken fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and the right to privacy.

4. Stresses that the evaluation of economic and innovation risks must take place prior to introducing criminal sanctions where civil measures are already in place.

5. Considers that Internet service providers should not bear liability for the data they transmit or host through their services to an extent that would imply prior surveillance or filtering of such data.

6. Points out that any measure aimed at strengthening powers for cross-border inspection and seizures of goods should not harm global access to legal, affordable and safe medicines.

7. Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories, to the Commission, the Council and the parliaments of the Member States.

 

See the announcement on the La Quadrature du Net website. 

 

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed. The correct attribution for this article is: Monica Horten (2010)European Parliament ACTA Declaration  http://www.iptegrity.com 24  February 2010  

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten,  policy writer and Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics & Political Science. She is an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee on Cross-border flow of Internet traffic and Internet freedom (MSI-INT). She was shortlisted for The Guardian Open Internet Poll 2012. Iptegrity  offers expert insights into Internet policy. Iptegrity is read by lawyers, academics, policy-makers and citizens, and cited in the media. Please acknowledge Iptegrity when you cite or link.  For more, see IP politics with integrity

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