Will the New ACTA Rapporteur Stand For Citizens Freedoms?

Paris, February 7th, 2012 – Member of the EU Parliament David Martin, from the Socialist & Democrats group, has been appointed new rapporteur for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in the “International Trade” committee (INTA). Unfortunately, his record on protecting freedoms online is worryingly poor and should prompt EU citizens to act against ACTA and ensure that the EU Parliament will defend their rights by rejecting this dangerous agreement.

Having kept any concerns he might have had silent, previous rapporteur Kader Arif resigned and made a big show of disavowing ACTA1, while letting the dossier fall into the hands of a colleague potentially closer to the copyright lobbies. After his resignation, several other S&D Members of the EU Parliament (MEPs) who previously took stands against ACTA freaked out and refused the job of rapporteur. The appointment2 of David Martin, a British labour MEP with a poor record3 on defending freedoms on copyright enforcement and ACTA issues, is a worrying sign: the S&D group does not seem to understand that European civil society will judge all political groups on how well they stand for freedoms and the public interest by rejecting ACTA4.

“David Martin will have to prove that he understands ACTA is an irrecoverable circumvention of democracy, a text whose need was never demonstrated in any way, and which creates grave dangers for online freedoms for the sole benefit of a few special interest groups. Even more, he must show that this understanding does not fall short of the courage to recommend and obtain the rejection of this infamous agreement.”, said Philippe Aigrain, co-founder of the citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net.

“As a strong movement of European citizens is growing against ACTA, La Quadrature du Net calls on MEPs of all political leanings to demonstrate that they listen to their voices rather than to those of entertainment industry lobbyists. ACTA has been turned into an imprecise mess of a text after civil society fought off its worse provisions. But the true meaning of the final text must be interpreted in light of its overall goal: criminalizing not-for-profit sharing and turning Internet intermediaries into private copyright police and justice.” concluded Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for La Quadrature du Net.

Read La Quadrature's fact-sheet on ACTA and act against ACTA!