Big tech accountability? Read how we got here in  The Closing of the Net 

It took a jump to the left in recommending a ‘no’ vote, now it’s taking a step to the right in postponing the Legal Affairs  committee vote  - with suspected intent to delay. How should we read the latest twists and turns in the European Parliament as it tries to figure out a consensus on ACTA?

 The Legal Affairs committee decided this week to postpone the vote on its ACTA opinion. It was 15 to 9  in favour of postponement. The reason given by the rapporteur – rights-holders sweetheart and Sarkozy-ite Marielle Gallo – was that she needs to incorporate the opinion of the Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS).

 The EDPS Opinion, released earlier this week criticises ACTA in light of the measures that it foreshadows. The EDPS, who comments only on ACTA’s Internet chapter, expresses concerns regarding copyright enforcement measures and users’ privacy. He says that ACTA is imprecise,  and lacks safeguards for Internet users – safeguards which are currently in EU law.

It does seem odd That Mme Gallo would insist on revising her opinion to take account of the EDPS, since she has not previously expressed any concerns regarding privacy and copyright enforcement.

 What could be going on is an attempt to manoeuvre the Parliament into delaying the final ACTA vote, to give the rights-holder lobby more time to gather support. There may also be a view that if the vote is delayed, public opinion will move onto something else and those MEPs who are swinging votes will be persuaded that it’s ok to support ACTA. The French citizens’ advocacy group, La Quadrature du Net has suggested that this could be the  case.

Or it could just be that the Parliament as a whole does need more time to make up its mind.

 It is certainly clear that the European Parliament is a long way from a consensus. The recommendation by the  rapporteur, the Socialist David Martin, to reject ACTA was just that – a recommendation.It does not imply a final decision.

 The right of Parliament, where Mme Gallo is  a leading light on  copyright issues, is getting ready to swing in to the ACTA debate. Mme Gallo will  be cracking the whip for the rights-holders behind the scenes.

 However, she may not get it all her own way. Hot on the heels of the EDPS, two other EPP members who do not necessarily share Mme Gallo’s  views held a press conference. Christofer Fjellner and Daniel Caspary said that the Internet chapter lacks clarity. They said that Internet service providers should not police the web, and called on the European Commission to clarify the role of ISPS, and the definition of ‘commercial scale infringement’.

 That Mr Fjellner and  Mr Caspary have come out publicly with a position may indicate that the EPP does not have a solid position on ACTA, and  that there are fissures internally.

 Whilst their statements are not radical in the wider ACTA debate, they will be viewed contentiously within the context of the EPP, which traditionally supports the copyright lobbies.   There may well  be sufficient support within the EPP for an opposing position, for them to have come out, with the backing of the group.

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, ACTA: EU Parliament takes a step to the right, 27 April  2012 . Commercial users - please contact me


Iptegrity in brief is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I’ve been analysing analysing digital policy since 2008. Way back then, I identified how issues around rights can influence Internet policy, and that has been a thread throughout all of my research. I hold a PhD in EU Communications Policy from the University of Westminster (2010), and a Post-graduate diploma in marketing.   I’ve served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe  Committee on Internet Freedoms, and was involved in a capacity building project in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. I am currently (from June 2022)  Policy Manager - Freedom of Expression, with the Open Rights Group. For more, see About Iptegrity 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


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.

The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review


Don't miss Iptegrity!  RSS/ Bookmark