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Thursday, June 7, 2012

ACTA in Europe

Although many hope that it won’t happen, ACTA is still to pass. Meanwhile, the European Parliament’s international trade committee has decided to reject a proposal by David Martin. The latter just wanted to find out the position of EU Court Of Justice on the trade agreement.
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EU trade chief has claimed last month that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement would be referred to the EU Court of Justice. ACTA, although aiming to find a copyright solution for everyone, has been both formulated and discussed behind closed doors, just increasing fears that the legislation is smudged with filtering all over.

At the same time, David Martin, a British MEP who is looking into the Parliament’s position on the treaty, suggested to forward ACTA before the EU Court of Justice to find out its opinion on the agreement. However, the committee believes that it wasn’t necessary, because it will vote in summer on whether ACTA should be approved or not.

The European Parliament’s trade committee rejected the proposal with 21 MEPs voting against and only 5 in favor. So, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement would reach the Parliament in a few months. This made activists happy, while European protests against the treaty reached extraordinary levels.

A Pirate Party MEP and Shadow rapporteur on the treaty for the Greens said that referring the agreement to the court was no substitute for the political procedure necessary to check ACTA and determine democratically whether its introduction is in the interest of the states. According to them, only a democratic ratification process through the European and national parliaments could manage to provide such a judgment. That’s why they welcomed the current decision to continue with the process.

Within the following months, the treaty will be forwarded to committees in the European Parliament in order to finally reach the Parliament this summer. Rick Falkvinge, the Pirate Party founder, explained that if ACTA died in the European Parliament, the monopoly lobbies would have to start fighting uphill. On the other hand, if the treaty passes, the same monopolists get a lot of new powers to use. They therefore close the door for the foreseeable future behind the legislators for an important reform of the copyright and patent monopolies.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement was first revealed by Wikileaks 4 years ago, despite the authorities’ efforts of keeping it secret.

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