Three core reasons for rejecting ACTA

Paris, March 29th, 2010 - One after the other, leaked documents unveil the truth regarding the negotiations of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Public comments focus on specific points or nuances in the positions of the various negotiating parties. In this context of partial information, La Quadrature du Net stresses three core reasons for rejecting the principle of ACTA itself: policy laundering; a "one-size-fits-all" approach that confuses different domains or activities in a manner that is dangerous for access to knowledge, health and innovation; strong risks for fundamental rights such as freedom of expression.

These three points have been repeatedly documented in each and every piece of information that has been disclosed, since the beginning of the ACTA process:

  • ACTA is policy laundering1 in which an international negotiation is used to circumvent democratic debates at national or European level and adopt policy that the Parliaments will have no choice but to reject completely or adopt as a whole. Congress might not even be consulted in the case of the United States2.
  • The promoters and drafters of ACTA have created a mixed bag of titles3, types of infringement and enforcement measures, in which life-endangering fake products and organized crime activities are considered together with non-for-profit activities that play a role in access to knowledge, innovation, culture and freedom of expression. ACTA would create a de facto presumption of infringement.
  • In the negotiations, the EU is pushing the worse parts of the former directive proposal on criminal sanctions for IPR enforcement (IPRED 2, withdrawn because of uncertain legal basis), that is criminal sanctions for abetting or inciting to infringement.

For further clarification regarding these three points, see our brief: "The fundamentals of ACTA"4.

"Contrary to the 'don't worry' statements of the negotiators and persons in charge of ACTA in national governments, what we are seeing is an all-out offensive on freedom of expression and fundamental rights and a process that seeks to establish circumvention of democratic control as a rule. ACTA must be dropped before any reasonable process of international cooperation in the fight against counterfeiting can begin", says Philippe Aigrain, co-founder and strategic adviser of La Quadrature du Net.

  • 1. "Just as money laundering consists in dissimulating the criminal origin of funds by recycling them in legal activities, policy laundering uses international organizations to put in place policy that is resisted by national institutions. Adopted as decisions which states are forced to implement, these policies circumvent democratic debate: 'Laundering is thus obtained at the cost of a circumvention of legislative processes'." Mireille Delmas-Marty, Libertés et sûreté dans un monde dangereux, Seuil, 2010, p. 133, our translation. The quote in the quote is from Colombe Camus, in La guerre contre le terrorisme, Editions du Félin, p. 109.
  • 2. See the op-ed by Goldsmith and Lessig in the Washington Post:
  • 3. Patents, copyright, trademarks, utility models, etc.
  • 4.