October 21, 2010 | Florian Leppla

MEPs raise concerns about fundamental rights in ACTA and the Commissioner makes a mockery of them

MEPs' concerns, driven by emails from ORG activists, about the lack of fundamental rights in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) were dismissed by EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht in a debate in the European Parliament last night.

De Gucht said MEPs referred to “a kind of nebulous liberties that you think are under attack” and claimed that MEPs do not provide the Commission with any examples as to where in the ACTA text they see possible threats to fundamental rights.

The Commissioner, however, ignored serious concerns from MEPs.

Marietje Schaake from the liberal ALDE group said that Article 2.18.3 of ACTA implies extra judicial measures and challenges division of power. The article in the enforcement section encourages signatories to promote cooperation within businesses to address trademark and copyright infringement.1

Furthermore, Ms Schaake said that ISPs were worried that they have to enforce the law because the provision that authority can order ISPs to disclose subscriber's information to the copyright holder (Art 2.18.4).2

Christian Engström MEP asked for an impact assessment that would look at fundamental rights in ACTA. He was also not convinced that a three strikes regime is, as the Commission claims, ruled out by ACTA.

Florian Leppla, Campaigner at the Open Rights Group said:

“The Commission makes a mockery of the serious concerns MEPs have raised.

“MEPs have clearly pointed out what their concerns are and quoted the relating ACTA text. How can the Commissioner say that MEPs don't provide examples?

“MEPs have also repeatedly criticised the secrecy of the ACTA negotiations and demanded more transparency.

“The Commissioner has not acknowledged that and believes that releasing two draft texts is sufficient.

"ACTA will commit governments to act against personal copyright infringement. It will be used as a weapon to push for new erosions of fundamental rights and it is very important that MEPs raise these matters with the Commission.”

 

References

(From the Consolidated Acta Text, published 2 October 2010)

1 - Section 5: Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in the Digital Environment

ARTICLE 2.18: ENFORCEMENT IN THE DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT

[…]

Each Party shall endeavor to promote cooperative efforts within the business community to effectively address [at least trademark and] copyright or related rights infringement while preserving legitimate competition and consistent with each Party’s law, preserving fundamental principles such as freedom of expression, fair process, and privacy.

2 - Section 5: Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in the Digital Environment

ARTICLE 2.18: ENFORCEMENT IN THE DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT

Each Party may provide, in accordance with its laws and regulations, its competent authorities with the authority to order an online service provider to disclose expeditiously to a right holder information sufficient to identify a subscriber whose account was allegedly used for infringement, where that right holder has filed a legally sufficient claim of infringement of [at least trademark and] copyrights or related rights and where such information is being sought for the purpose of protecting or enforcing [at least the right holder's trademark and] copyright or related rights. These procedures shall be implemented in a manner that avoids the creation of barriers to legitimate activity, including electronic commerce, and, consistent with each Party’s law, preserves fundamental principles such as freedom of expression, fair process, and privacy.