EU Parliament Opens The Door to Copyright Repression in TAFTA

Paris, 25 April 2013 — Today, the “International Trade” (INTA) committee of the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the proposed EU-US trade agreement – the “Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement” (TAFTA), also touted as the “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” (TTIP). The Parliament unfortunately decided to ignore the calls of civil society groups to keep “IP out of TAFTA”.

The members of the EU Parliament decided to encourage the inclusion of copyright, patent and trademarks in the negotiating mandate of the EU Commission, by adopting the following “compromise amendment”:

[The EU Parliament] stresses that intellectual property is one of the driving forces of innovation and creation and a pillar of the knowledge-based economy and that the agreement should include strong protection of precisely and clearly defined areas of intellectual property rights (IPR), including geographical indications, and be consistent with international agreements; believes that other areas of divergence in IPR should be solved in line with international standards of protection.

All the amendments calling on excluding provisions related to so-called “intellectual property” from TAFTA, as well as those calling for a more sensible approach to copyright and patent enforcement, were rejected.

“The European Parliament is not ready to draw lessons from the massive citizen mobilisation against ACTA last year. It has decided to stick to 'business as usual' by calling once again for a 'strong protection' of copyright and patent whereas the US and the EU already suffer from the most maximalist regimes in this field. After the ACTA fight, the negotiators of this new trade agreement – and in particular EU Trade commissioner Karel de Gucht – may once again attempt to use undemocratic negotiations to impose online repression in the name of copyright enforcement. Citizens must remain vigilant to influence the negotiations at the national level, and be watchful of EU institutions so as to avoid the worst.” declared Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net.

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