A letter that has all the hallmarks of the Motion Picture Association lobbying machine has been circulated to members of the European Parliament, calling on them to agree to sign ACTA without delay. It appears to be an attempt to stall the Parliament from seeking a legal opinion on ACTA.
The letter follows a move by the Green group, initiating a move to ask the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for an Opinion on the compatibility of ACTA (Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement) with the EU Treaties. ACTA establishes an international IP enforcement regime and threatens to impose measures on Europe which may be either incompatible with the existing EU legal frameework or will impose new provisions, especially in relation to the Internet and online enforcement.
The lobbying letter appears to be trying to heavy the Parliament into signing ACTA without seeking further legal advice. It suggests that any attempt to seek an ECJ Opinion will substantially set back the
final adoption and implementation of ACTA in Europe, and postulates the threat that such a delay would "weaken the position of the EU viv-a-vis its international trading partners".
Thus, the political ploy could be to accuse the Parliament negatively of delaying tactics if it seeks further advice before deciding whether to sign ACTA.
It ends with a call on the Parliament to support ‘strong enforcement' of intellectual property, and to give consent to ACTA ‘without further delays'.
The lobbying letter is signed by 22 content industry lobby groups, with the Motion Picture Association and the IFPI listed in the middle. This is a characteristic MPA lobbying move, which make it appear as though the demands carry the weight of a group of industries. It was emailed by the International Trade Mark Association (INTA), which is again a characteristic tactic, and may disguise the influence of the larger content industry groups.
The ECJ request was formulated by two Green MEPs, Rebecca Harms and Jan-Phillipp Albrecht. They have written to Jerzy Buzek, the President of the Parliament (who is like the Speaker or Chair) asking him to approve the request, on the basis that it is better "to have legal certainty, and to avoid that questions of the compatibility with the treaties arise during the ratification process, or after the ratification of the agreement,"
It is understood that the ECJ initiative already has support from the smaller Left group, and that the larger Socialist group is discussing it and will take a decision soon.
There is no information available on the position of the EPP, whose support would be needed to carry it. However, Marielle Gallo, the pro-copyright MEP whose report is used as a lobbying tool by the rights-holders, has been asking similar questions concerning compatibility of ACTA , to the Commission.
The correct attribution for this article is: Monica Horten (2011) Hollywood presses European Parliament to sign ACTA http://www.iptegrity.com 4 May 2011
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