Platform responsibility? Get the backstory - check my book The Closing of the Net - only £15.99!

Marielle Gallo, the Sarkozy-ite MEP and sweetheart of the rights-holders,  is sharpening her claws in a desparate attempt to derail the ACTA ‘No’ vote. She has released  her draft Opinion, in which she sets out a proposal designed to allay fears that ACTA will infringe fundamental rights. The proposal is little more than a sop.

 Marielle  Gallo’s Opinion is being prepared for the Legal Affairs committee. It  will feed in to the main report on ACTA (Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement) being prepared by David Martin, the Parliament’s rapporteur  for the consent vote. So it may, or may not, be of much significance, but given who her backers are, I’d suggest it will end up being significant.

 It certainly looks like she is setting up a position to campaign for an ACTA ‘yes’ vote, in direct opposition to the Socialist group who have said they will propose a ‘No’ vote. 

 Mme Gallo presents an argument that attempts to rebut some of the criticisms of ACTA. She says that ACTA’s criminal provisions  only address infringements on a commercial scale,  and, she claims, ACTA will not criminalise individuals who download.

 In addressing the Internet provisions, she highlights the text which says that the measures must not create barriers to legitimate activity – as if that was a protection against web blocking measures.

In fact, the intended meaning  of ‘legitimate activity’ is quite narrow. It refers to the ISPs and the rights-holders – it does not refer to entrepreneurs, or to the vast mass of content providers and website owners. So this caveat is unlikely to prevent governments introducing web blocking measures, if that is what they want to do.

 But Mme Gallo’s pièce de résistance is  that the European Commission should  conduct a regular impact assessment of ACTA in respect of  fundamental rights. The assessment  should be carried out every year, she proposes. As pointed out by EDRi, the Commission is notoriously cavalier about carrying out impact assessments, even when there is no controversy. The chances of this being an effective proposal, are slim.

Mme Gallo suggests that if there is any infringement found to be occurring, the European Court of Justice has the power to stop it.   However, she fails to point out that someone would have to litigate, and it would have to  be referred to the ECJ by a national court, before that could happen.

  Marielle Gallo’s Opinion  will be open to amendments. She has to remember that – whatever her personal perspective – as shadow  rapporteur she much reflect the full spectrum of views of her committee.

 And as I’ve previously said, the ACTA vote is by no means a dead cert. Many things could happen along the way. We wait to see what Mme Gallo’s Opinion looks like when it is completed.

You may re-publish my article under a Creative Commons licence, but you should cite my name and provide a link back to Media and Academics – please cite as Monica Horten, Can Marielle Gallo claw back ACTA?  15 April  2012 .  Commercial users - please contact me.



States v the 'Net? 

Read The Closing of the Net, by me, Monica Horten.

"original and valuable"  Times higher Education

" essential read for anyone interested in understanding the forces at play behind the web."

Find out more about the book here  The Closing of the Net


FROM £15.99

Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

In 2012, I presented my PhD research in the European Parliament.

Don't miss Iptegrity!  RSS/ Bookmark is the website of Dr Monica Horten. She is a policy analyst specialising in Internet governance & European policy, including platform accountability. She is a published author & Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics & Political Science. She served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee on  Internet Freedom. She has worked on CoE, EU and UNDP funded projects in eastern Europe and the Caucasus. In a voluntary capacity, she has led UK citizen delegations to the European Parliament. She was shortlisted for The Guardian Open Internet Poll 2012.

Iptegrity  offers expert insights into Internet policy (and related issues on Brexit). Iptegrity has a core readership in the Brussels policy community, and has been cited in the media. Please acknowledge Iptegrity when you cite or link.  For more, see IP politics with integrity is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

Contact  me to use  iptegrity content for commercial purposes

The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review