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Top Euro beaks to probe ACTA for rights breaches

Reding wants court to check anti-counterfeiting treaty's small print

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Europe's Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding has asked the European Court of Justice to peruse the small print of the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) to ensure that it is "fully compatible" with fundamental rights.

The international treaty to combat counterfeiting and piracy lost its digital copyright provisions some time ago, but Reding still wants legal eagles at the ECJ to clarify that the implementation of ACTA won't lead to the blocking of websites.

She said laws that would have authorised the agreement's so-called "three-strikes solution" to protect copyright from pirates have been scrubbed out in the EU.

Reding continued in a characteristically opinionated statement:

In spite of significant political pressure, I instead supported – in the name of the European Commission and in close alliance with the European Parliament – the inclusion of an 'internet freedom provision' in the final text of this legislation.

This 'internet freedom provision' represents a great victory for the rights and freedoms of European citizens. Under this provision, 'three-strikes laws', which could cut off internet access without a prior fair and impartial procedure or without effective and timely judicial review, will certainly not become part of European law.

She argued that the "situation" must not be changed by ACTA, which is being discussed in the European Parliament and at a national level among the EU's member states.

"Even though the text of the ACTA agreement does not provide for new rules compared to today's legal situation in Europe, I understand that many people are worried about how ACTA would be implemented," she said.

All of which seems to suggest that Reding is hoping to dispel the myths about the agreement coming out of the anti-ACTA camp. ®

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