There are three crucial votes this week in the battle over ACTA. If you care about the treaty, this is a week to do something about it.
*UPDATE* May 31st 2012: All three committees (JURI, ITRE and LIBE) today voted against ACTA. A huge thank you to everyone who contacted their MEPs to express their concerns. You can read our reaction here.
A number of MEPs are involved in some key votes in the European Parliament this Thursday, May 31st about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
Whilst we have made great headway with MEPs in explaining why we believe ACTA is so flawed, it is by no means certain that ACTA has been defeated.
The votes this Thursday, in three of the Committees responsible for offering 'Opinions' on the treaty, will really affect whether the European Parliament ultimately rejects ACTA or not. It is important that your MEP understand people's concerns. And calling your MEP will help make this happen.
If you care about ACTA this really is an excellent, and relatively easy, way to do something about it.
It would really help if you could call the MEPs we have listed below.
We have split the MEPs by region – it is especially useful if to call them if you are a constituent of theirs. We have made it clear which committees they are members of, and outlined the key points for each committee, so you have an idea of what to talk to them about.
There are two really important things to say to them:
- Tell them why you care about ACTA. We have set out why we are concerned in a briefing note, which may help.
- Ask them to help oppose the treaty by rejecting ACTA through their committees' opinions.
You don't have to call them all of course. Although the more, the better. Oh, and remember to be polite - they're considering ACTA, not responsible for it!
Why are these votes important?
Each of these Committees will have to agree an opinion about ACTA, which will essentially set out whether they think it is an acceptable treaty from their perspective. These opinions will, in turn, be taken into account by the lead Committee, 'INTA' (which is the Committee on International Trade). And then the European Parliament will be influenced by this in the final 'plenary' vote in early July.
So that means the more these Committees say they are unhappy about ACTA, the more likely it becomes that the European Parliament will reject ACTA when it comes to vote in early July.
So what's happening this Thursday?
Three Committees will be voting this Thursday:
- Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) will vote on MEP Gallo's Opinion on ACTA
- The Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) will vote on MEP Droutsas' Opinion
- The Industry Committee (ITRE) will vote on MEP Andersdotter's Opinion.
1. The Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) and MEP Gallo's Opinion.
The JURI Committee will be voting on MEP Gallo's draft report. We believe this report should be rejected by the Committee. Here are three of the key reasons:
- MEP Gallo's report fails to acknowledge the dangers of private policing of the Internet, which is encouraged by ACTA.
- ACTA may not create new laws in the EU, but it does bind the EU to existing law and limits possibility of revision in the future.
- MEP Gallo's report cites the European Parliament's legal services' opinions on ACTA. But some key elements of the legal services' opinions on ACTA have not been made public. The EU Parliament refused to publish them in full, unredacted form, saying that it would “seriously interfere with the complex ratification process”.
La Quadrature du Net have some more analysis of this over at their website.
2. The Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) will vote on MEP Droutsas' Opinion.
We believe the LIBE Committee report from Rapporteur Dimitrios Droutsas should be supported. Rapporteur Droutsas' Opinion says:
"an adoption of ACTA would prematurely strangle the debate and tip the balance on one side, would allow for Member States to experiment on laws that could potentially harm fundamental freedoms and set precedents that could be undesirable for future societies."
The Rapporteur also highlights:
- The legal uncertainty that ACTA would create
- The lack of limitations and safeguards in the treaty
- Concerns about the monitoring that may be involved in the identification of alleged copyright infringers.
3. The Industry Committee (ITRE) and MEP Andersdotter's Opinion.
The ITRE Committee will be voting on their Rapporteur MEP Andersdotter's report. We believe this should be supported, without the amendments some have proposed to water this down. The original report expresses concern that:
"the ACTA text does not ensure a fair balance between the right to intellectual property and the freedom to conduct business, the right to protection of personal data and the freedom to receive or impart information"
"creates legal uncertainty for European companies and in particular SMEs, technology users, online platform and internet service providers."
We believe the proposed amendments to MEP Andersdotter's report, particularly calling to postpone the debate and votes, should be rejected. For more on the proposed amendments, see La Quadrature du Net's update.
Which MEPs are involved?
These MEPs will be voting this Thursday – we've split them by region, and noted which Committees they are members of. Please call these MEPs - especially if you are constituents of theirs.
Arlene McCARTHY, Labour
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45501
Sajjad KARIM, Conservative
Committee: The LIBE, ITRE and JURI
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45640 - +322 28 47640
Nick GRIFFIN, British National Party
Committee: The Industry Committee (ITRE)
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45772 - +322 28 47772
North East England
Fiona HALL, Liberal Democrat
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45561 - +322 28 47561
Yorkshire and the Humber
Andrew Henry William BRONS, British National Party
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45773 - +322 28 47773
Timothy KIRKHOPE, Conservatives
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45321 - +322 28 47321
Rebecca TAYLOR, Liberal Democrats
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45201 - +322 28 47201
Anthea McINTYRE, Conservative
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45106 - +322 28 47106
Michael CASHMAN, Labour
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45759 - +322 28 47759
Glenis WILLMOTT, Labour
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45459 - +322 28 47459
Roger HELMER, UKIP
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45764 - +322 28 47764
East of England
Vicky FORD, Conservative
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45672 - +322 28 47672
Gerard BATTEN, UKIP
Committee: LIBE and JURI
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45920 - +322 28 47920
Mary HONEYBALL, Labour
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45209 - +322 28 47209
Jean LAMBERT, Green
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45507 - +322 28 47507
Baroness Sarah LUDFORD, Liberal Democrat
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45104 - +322 28 47104
Claude MORAES, Labour
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45553 - +322 28 47553
South East of England
Sharon BOWLES, Liberal Democrat
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45221 - +322 28 47221
Peter SKINNER, Labour
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45458 - +322 28 47458
South West of England
Sir Graham WATSON, Liberal Democrats
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45626 - +322 28 47626
Giles CHICHESTER, Conservative
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45296 - +322 28 47296
Alyn SMITH, SNP
Brussels Tel.: +322 28 45187 - +322 28 47187