Feeds

MEPs try again to force ACTA transparency

Show us yer negotiation documents

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The European Parliament has repeated its call for greater transparency in negotiations over an international intellectual property agreement. A majority of MEPs has signed a declaration demanding the publication of negotiation documents.

The European Commission began negotiating the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) on the EU's behalf nearly three years ago, and secrecy has surrounded the process ever since. It is being discussed outside of the remit of existing trade groups the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

Users' rights advocates have from the start expressed fears that the treaty could erode protections in national laws for users' rights.

The declaration signed by the majority of MEPs, and therefore adopted as the official position of the Parliament, demands that the European Commission publish all the negotiating documents in relation to ACTA and opposes further harmonisation of EU copyright, patent or trade mark law.

In a debate in the European Parliament the EU's Commissioner for Trade Karel de Gucht said that the agreement was not "about checking on the content of travelers’ laptops or computers [and will] not lead to limitation of civil liberties or harassment of consumers".

"[ACTA] will not change any EU legislation through the back door", he said, also claiming that the agreement would not restrict access to generic medicines.

A draft of ACTA was published in April, following a threat from the European Parliament that it would take the Commission to the European Court of Justice if it did not give the Parliament access to documents on negotiations being carried out on Europeans' behalf.

"The Commission should immediately make all documents related to the ongoing negotiations publicly available," said the MEPs' declaration. "The proposed agreement should not force limitations upon judicial due process or weaken fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and the right to privacy."

"Internet service providers should not bear liability for the data they transmit or host through their services to an extent that would necessitate prior surveillance or filtering of such data," it said. "[And] any measure aimed at strengthening powers of cross-border inspection and seizure of goods should not harm global access to legal, affordable and safe medicines."

Earlier this year India wrote to WTO and WIPO claiming that because it went further than some existing WTO and WIPO agreements, ACTA undermined the authority of those international agreements. It also said that despite the fact that India was not a negotiating party to ACTA, its generic pharmaceuticals industry could be harmed by the treaty.

See: The declaration (2-page Microsoft Word document)

Copyright © 2010, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.