As the ACTA treaty moves through the European Parliament for a final passage or permakill, it passes through several committees on its way to the final vote in Parliament, which possibly happens on June 11-14. The first committee to file a recommendation, the Industry, Research and Energy committee (ITRE), has just published their draft opinion on ACTA. This draft will be presented in committee on April 24, and come to a vote on May 8 (probably). The draft opinion of ITRE is very clear: reject ACTA.
The draft opinion of the ITRE committee, which is exemplary in its clarity (it’s just one page!), lists a couple of justification points followed by the recommendation to reject ACTA:
The draft opinion, in full, reads that the ITRE committee…:
- Welcomes the aims expressed by the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiating parties to tackle the trade in counterfeited goods;
- Notes that counterfeiting, copyright and trademark infringements are covered by ACTA thus creating a one-size-fits-all instrument of enforcement which doesn’t meet the unique needs of each sector; is concerned by the lack of definition of key terminologies on which the ACTA enforcement mechanisms are based; fears that this creates legal uncertainty for European companies and in particular [small-to-medium businesses], technology users, online platform and internet service providers;
- Notes that while the ambition of ACTA is to strengthen [European Union] industries, it appears to be contrary to the ambition of the [European Parliament] in the Digital Agenda to make Europe the scene for cutting edge internet innovation, as well as the strong ambition to promote net neutrality and access to the online digital market for [small-to-medium businesses];
- Recalls that data concerning the scale of IPR infringements are inconsistent, incomplete, insufficient and dispersed, and that an objective, independent impact assessment is needed for any additional legislative proposal;
- Is concerned 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, the requirement of which was recently ruled by the European Court of Justice;
- Therefore, feels compelled to call on the Committee on International Trade to withhold its consent to the agreement.
Short, sweet, and beautiful. “…withhold its consent to the agreement”. (My highlight.)
This draft opinion will be presented to the ITRE committee and discussed on April 24, and the rapporteur (the Member of European Parliament responsible for the drafting of an opinion and presenting the issue in committee) is Amelia Andersdotter (@teirdes on Twitter). After that, it will probably but not definitely come to a vote on May 8 (updated).
That name will probably sound familiar to readers of this blog. Ms. Andersdotter is a Member of European Parliament for the Swedish Pirate Party.
UPDATED: The article originally said that the ITRE vote was going to be on April 24; it’s the rapporteur that will present the issue and the draft opinion on that date. After that, a process follows where other members can suggest changes to the draft opinion, and then it all comes to a vote, probably on May 8. Thanks for the clarification, Teirdes.
UPDATE 2: It should be pointed out exactly what this document is: it is —
- the rapporteur’s draft for
- ITRE’s recommendation to INTA for
- INTA’s recommendation to European Parliament for
- the Parliament’s final decision on whether to accept or permakill ACTA.
INTA (the committee on international trade) will receive recommendations (“opinions“) from several more committees – probably at least that of Legal Affairs (JURI) and that of Civil Liberties (LIBE) – before writing its own recommendation to Parliament based on those and their own opinion. So while this document is plankton in the food chain, it’s still the right kind of plankton.