ACTA Doubts Rampant In Europe; Industry Call For “Reasoned Assessment”Published on 13 February 2012 @ 11:48 pm
By William New, Intellectual Property Watch
Europeans came out by the thousands this week to protest the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), as it goes before the parliament and the remaining governments that have not yet signed on. But a large number of industry associations sent a letter pushing officials to carefully consider the agreement before dismissing it under popular pressure.
The past weekend saw large protests throughout Europe, according to the Access Now website and numerous news and social media reports.
Recently elected European Parliament President Martin Schulz on Sunday criticised the agreement, according to sources. Schulz said in an interview on German television network ARD: “I don’t find it good in its current form.”
A new Member of Parliament, David Martin of the ECR group, has been appointed to handle the ACTA in the European Parliament after the recent resignation of the MEP Kader Arif in protest against the agreement.
Twenty-two of the 27 European Union members have signed the agreement, but in recent days, several EU members including Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and now Germany questioning the agreement, which many say was negotiated in secrecy.
The first European Parliament debate on ACTA is expected to take place in the Committee on International Trade (INTA) on 29 February, and a workshop on the content of the agreement is planned for 1 March, according to the European Publishers Council.
Nearly 50 industry associations sent a letter [pdf] to national ministers and members of European Parliament pleading with them to disregard misinformation flying around in recent weeks and calling instead for a “calm and reasoned assessment of the facts.”
“ACTA is good for Europe,” said a copy of the letter to ministers (the parliament letter was nearly identical) circulated by the European Publishers Council. “ACTA will have no negative consequences as it does not depart from EU law.”
Signatories include some of the largest trade associations across Europe concentrated on intellectual property rights. The letter says they collectively represent thousands of European companies of all sizes and millions of workers in dozens of sectors.
William New may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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