Start collecting signatures on ACTA declaration!

Strasbourg, March 8th 2010 - The written declaration 12/2010 regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is now open for signatures. It has to be signed within three months by more than half of the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). It is a great opportunity for the European Parliament to prove its commitment to protecting fundamental rights and freedoms. Every EU citizen concerned about ACTA and the preservation of an open Internet can participate1 by getting in touch with MEPs2 and urging them to sign the written declaration.

The written declaration 12/2010 was initiated by Françoise Castex (FR, S&D), Alexander Alvaro (DE, ALDE), Stavros Lambrinidis (GR, S&D) and Zuzana Roithova (CZ, EPP). It expresses strong concerns that the ongoing negotiations on ACTA could severely harm freedom of expression, Net neutrality and the right to a fair trial, as well as privacy and access to medicine.

The written declaration defines red lines not to be crossed by ACTA negotiators, emphasizing that Internet actors should not be made liable for actions undertaken by their users, nor should they be compelled to monitor and filter their networks. The text is in line with the recommendations of the European Data Protection Supervisor in its recent opinion3 highly critical of the agreement as it is currently negotiated.

A dedicated campaign page4 has been set up to allow EU citizens to participate in collecting the signatures of the majority of the Members of the European Parliament. From Monday, March 8th to Thursday, March 11th, MEPs will meet in Strasbourg for a plenary session. From now on and until mid-June, plenary sessions5 will be the best periods to collect signatures on the written declaration.

"Signing the written declaration 12/2010 would show MEPs' commitment to protecting citizens' rights. The adoption of the written declaration will send a strong message to the Commission and Member States that the European Parliament will not let EU citizens' freedoms be undermined by opaque diplomatic negotiations. Every citizen and NGO concerned about ACTA can participate by calling MEPs and urging them to sign the declaration.", concludes Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson of La Quadrature du Net.

Written declaration on the lack of a transparent process for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and potentially objectionable content

The European Parliament,
– having regard to Rule 123 of its Rules of Procedure,
A. whereas negotiations concerning the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) are ongoing,
B. whereas Parliament’s co-decision role in commercial matters and its access to negotiation documents are guaranteed by the Lisbon Treaty,
1. Takes the view that the proposed agreement should not indirectly impose harmonisation of EU copyright, patent or trademark law, and that the principle of subsidiarity should be respected;
2. Declares that the Commission should immediately make all documents related to the ongoing negotiations publicly available;
3. Takes the view that 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;
4. Stresses that economic and innovation risks must be evaluated prior to introducing criminal sanctions where civil measures are already in place;
5. Takes the view that 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;
6. Points out that 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;
7. Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories, to the Commission, the Council and the parliaments of the Member States.

Translations, soon to be online on the EP website, are on our wiki.