The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has confirmed that MPs have not seen the current text of ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
The IPO, making these comments in a meeting ORG attended, also said that the DCMS Select Committee has not discussed the treaty with the IPO at any stage. Despite its name important parts of ACTA deal with copyright enforcement.
Florian Leppla, Campaigner at the Open Rights Group, said:
“I'm shocked that this international agreement that goes well beyond existing copyright treaties has not been examined by Parliament.1 ACTA will affect all of us and our elected representatives need to know what we are signing up to.
"Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor, has questioned the legality of ACTA under EU privacy laws.2
"ACTA would allow for disporportionate civil copyright damages well beyond current UK law.3 Yet we have been told that changes in law would not be necessary.
"ACTA will drive the UK towards privacy violations, and commit governments to act against personal copyright infringement. It will be used as a weapon to push for new erosions of fundamental rights - without anyone from our Parliament having taken a serious look."
1 The only public release of the ACTA text was published in April, http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/html/146029.htm.
2 Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor on the current negotiations by the European Union of an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), http://www.edps.europa.eu/EDPSWEB/webdav/site/mySite/shared/Documents/Consultation/Opinions/2010/10-02-22_ACTA_EN.pdf.
3 As set out in s97(1) Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.