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. 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) 'What is the point of ACTA?' asks French collecting society http://www.iptegrity.com 3 May 2010