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    EU To Request Publication Of ACTA Documents To Stop “Rumours”; Civil Society Meeting Planned

    Published on 22 March 2010 @ 3:51 pm

    By for Intellectual Property Watch

    Europe will request the publication of the current drafts for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) at the next ACTA negotiating meeting in New Zealand in April, European Union trade official Luc Devigne said today.

    Speaking at the third EU stakeholder meeting on the hotly debated ACTA today in Brussels, Devigne also said there is a meeting with civil society planned to take place alongside the New Zealand round.

    [Update: a video of the meeting is now available]:

    The European Commission is requesting the publication of the documents “so that rumours can be dispelled and we don’t have to comment on leaks,” said Devigne.

    The Commission official fiercely rejected the “rumour” that ACTA proposals include a “graduated response” – or “three-strikes-and-you’re-out system”- to cut off file sharers from the internet in cases of repeated copyright violations.

    “The three-strike-system is no one’s idea, no one has ever proposed that,” Devigne said after having answered several times to concerns about the internet cut-offs. Cut-offs currently are possible under EU law under the condition of a due judicial process.

    Several participants pointed to leaked documents containing three-strikes as an option. “Were these leaks fakes?” asked Joe McNamee from European Digital Rights (EDRI), the association of European civil rights organisations. Other civil rights groups’ representatives pressed the official to comment on the possibility of cut-off regimes being introduced on a “voluntary” basis by internet service providers giving in to the heightened pressure by civil right sanctions in ACTA. “No, they will not be induced either,” said Devigne.

    Devigne also rejected claims that private users could be targets of ACTA enforcement, something that US organisation Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) had read from an alleged recently leaked EU ACTA document that also contained criminal provisions on “inciting, aiding and abetting,” according to KEI.

    There would be “no criminalisation of the proverbial innocent housewife,” countered Devigne, and also there would be no searches of personal electronic items at the border. The much stressed mantra of the Commission negotiators was repeated over and over again: the Commission will stick to the EU acquis (the rules of EU competency).

    How this could be matched with the lack of EU harmonisation of criminal sanctions against IP infringement is still unclear to some observers. Devigne said he could not answer questions on the upcoming criminal law-follow-up directive (IPRED2) to the EU IP enforcement directive (IPRED).

    There was some support for ACTA shown at today’s meeting, for example from the International Trade Mark Association which again declared its hope to get ACTA in place as a gold standard, and the European Communities Trade Mark Association (ECTA). But scepticism about ACTA is still predominant as the debate in Brussels showed clearly.

    The Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) saw a risk that access to generic medicines might be hampered through stricter border measures in ACTA. The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) [corrected] warned that ACTA could hand a “powerful weapon” to software patent trolls.

    As long as information about ACTA is as sparse as it is, the fight will go on, and depending on what will be in the final documents it might intensify.

    Several members of the EU Parliament today participated in the ACTA meeting and pushed for an answer to how the Commission would react to a recent resolution of the Parliament on the possible limitation of ACTA to counterfeiting. Several representatives asked if the Commission would respect the requests of the Parliament, but there was no common understanding between the MEPs and Devigne about the text in the first place.

    When one participant asked if somebody must be lying when both EU and United States said ACTA would bring no change to their domestic law, Devigne said he could not say if other countries would have to adapt and one still had to wait for the final text.

    It also is premature, he said, to comment on the institutional arrangements for the ACTA treaty group or secretariat. There are proposals on the table for this, according to KEI and Canadian ACTA-expert Michael Geist, but a question of Karsten Gerloff, president of the Free Software Foundation Europe, about the future role of different stakeholders in such a treaty organisation was not answered. Gerloff told Intellectual Property Watch after the meeting that he was rather disappointed with the meeting. “The Commission has not been transparent and I doubt that citizens will be informed about what is negotiated in their name.”

    Monika Ermert may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     


    Leave a Reply

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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