After SOPA/PIPA in the US, ACTA Makes Its Way to the EU Parliament

Paris, January 23rd, 2012 – After the huge online protests against the extremist SOPA and PIPA copyright bills discussed in the United States, the EU Parliament starts working on their global counterpart: ACTA, the anti-counterfeiting trade agreement. Citizens across Europe must push back against this illegitimate agreement bound to undermine free speech online, access to knowledge and innovation worldwide.

Tomorrow, the EU Parliament “development” committee (DEVE) will hold its first debate on its draft opinion report1 on ACTA, presented by its rapporteur Jan Zahradil2, a conservative, euro-skeptic representative from the Czech Republic.

This disastrous draft opinion report is deceptive and tries to justify extremist repressive measures to protect the outdated regime of copyright, patents and trademarks3.

More worrying still, the draft report completely overlooks the widespread criticism against ACTA4, coming not only from NGOs defending access to medicines, such as OXFAM or Health Action International, but also from the EU's main trading partners.

It is extremely surprising that the draft report does not question the need for ACTA and does not criticize the way in which it was negotiated. Does the committee consider normal for non-elected civil-servants close to industry lobbyists to negotiate out of any form of democratic scrutiny? Or for emerging and developing countries to be totally excluded from the process?

The draft DEVE opinion report must be amended to reflect the crucial problems raised by ACTA. Even the study commissioned by the EU Parliament itself recognized that ACTA cannot be accepted as it stands5.

“Pushed by the same extremist lobbies as PIPA and SOPA in the United States, ACTA is a global initiative aimed at protecting rent-seeking industries who dominate the world economy. The draft opinion report presented by Mr. Zahradil in DEVE committee overlooks all the crucial issues of ACTA: its lack of democratic legitimacy, the outdated vision of international trade it tries to promote, the impact it will have on access to medicines in developing countries, but also on online free speech and innovation worldwide. Starting with the development committee, Members of the EU Parliament must take on these various issues, and reject this infamous agreement once and for all. Citizens must take action to make sure that the EU Parliament gets the word.”, said Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for La Quadrature du Net.

Learn more and act against ACTA

For how to act against ACTA, right now, please refer to our dedicated campaign page.

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ACTA procedure in EU Parliament

  • The International Trade (INTA) Committee of the European Parliament is the main committee working on ACTA.
  • The Legal Affairs (JURI), Development (DEVE), Civil Liberties (LIBE) and the Industry (ITRE) committees will first vote on their opinions after holding “exchange of views” on draft reports.
  • Opinions will then be sent to INTA to influence its final report, which will recommend the EU Parliament as whole to reject or accept ACTA.

See ACTA's procedure file: