Big tech accountability? Read the backstory to today's policy debates here on Iptegrity.

The French audio-visual collecting society, SACD, says the dispute over ACTA transparency is “ a dialogue of the deaf”. The SACD, which lobbied heavily for the copyright enforcement provisions in the Telecoms Package, now seems to be suggesting that there is no point to ACTA (Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement). We should ask why they might say this?


The SACD, in a recent posting on its website, came out in support of the beleaguered European Commission (DG Trade), which has been put under pressure by the Parliament and EU citizens to come clean on the secret ACTA negotiations.

The SACD is critical of  academics, Internet activists and the European Parliament, who have apparently all been

"deaf" .   It defended the Commission, saying that the EU negotiator  was a ‘prisoner’ of the confidentiality  agreement with the 10 or so other States involved in  ACTA.

The SACD sought to   defend the Commission’s assertions that there will be no changes in the Aquis Communitaire, or indeed in US law (it cites the US Trade Representative as its source for the latter). The SACD appears to be suggesting that an agreement on ACTA which the large economics of the US, EU and Japan can sign up to, will be too weak to serve the purpose for which it is intended, namely copyright enforcement. It will have, says the SACD, 'a limited interest’ for the EU.


The SACD highlights bilateral agreements with Korea, Morocco, Australia and Singapore, whose provisions related to  Internet copyright are much  tougher  (“au niveau d’exigence élevé), leaving, in the SACD’s opinion, only Canada, Mexico and New Zealand without a clear position.


The view of many who watched the Commission’s response under questioning from the Parliament, was that the Commission was the deaf one. Moreover, many experts assert that the ACTA will indeed require legal changes to EU law, and found it irritating when the Commission's negotiator seemed not to understand.

DG Trade  eventually  acquiesced under strong public pressure, to release what has widely been termed a sanitised version of the draft ACTA on 28 April.


The SACD’s main interest is clearly in ACTA's  Internet chapter. The SACD  has a strong track record of lobbying for 3-strikes copyright enforcement proposals in France and in the EU. It was resposible for key amendments in the Telecoms Package to support graduated response. If it says, as it does in the posting, that there is no point to ACTA, then we should ask what it wants instead?

Or in other words, from the rights holder perspective ACTA, in respect of the Internet chapter at least, will be weakened by public pressure on politicians, and will not be sufficiently strong to serve the perceived interests of the copyright industries. I suggest that they are not simply bemoaning this situation and crying into their bouillabaisse. We should therefore ask, if the copyright industries stand off from ACTA, what is their next plan?

The SACD website posting: ACTA : beaucoup de bruit pour rien ?


The DG Trade "official" release of the ACTA  


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. 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) 'What is the point of ACTA?' asks French collecting society 3 May   2010

Find me on LinkedIn

About Iptegrity is the website of Dr Monica Horten.

I am a tech policy specialist, published author, post-doctoral scholar. I hold a PhD from the University of Westminster, and a DipM from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Currently working on UK Online Safety Bill.

Recent media quotes: BBC, iNews, Times, Guardian, Politico.  Panelist: IAPP,  CybersecuritySummit. Parliament and Internet. June 2022-July 2023 w/ Open Rights Group. is made available free of charge for non-commercial use. Please link back and attribute Dr Monica Horten.  Contact me to use any of my content for commercial purposes.  

The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review