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    European Parliament Rejects Referral Of ACTA To EU High Court

    Published on 27 March 2012 @ 10:20 pm

    By for Intellectual Property Watch

    The Committee of International Trade of the European Parliament today voted against referring the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

    After a tumultuous session, INTA Committee Chair Vital Moreira urged a vote that failed with 21 INTA members opting against handing the much-debated dossier over to the Court. On Monday, Liberal Member of Parliament Sophie in’t Veld in the Civil Liberties Committee demanded complete access for the MEPs to all documents from the negotiation process.

    The European Parliament will now stick to the original timetable for ACTA with a decisive vote in INTA – the lead committee – expected on 29-30 May, and a decision by the plenary in its June session. Questions about how a potential ‘no’ vote on ACTA by the European Parliament might impact the Commission’s next steps were premature, a spokesman of EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht, wrote in answer to a request by Intellectual Property Watch. A DG Trade representative during the Monday LIBE Committee meeting laid out the timetable by the Commission. The Commission intends to send its questions to the ECJ by the end of April.

    The delay and potential silencing of the discussion in the European Parliament of the referrals were of concern to NGOs that lobbied MEPs to instead carry on with their work and reject ACTA “independently of the ECJ referral,” as Health Action International, Oxfam, Médecins Sans Frontières and the Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue wrote yesterday. The coalition denounced the Commission’s move as “an attempt to deflect growing protests and avoid ACTA being definitely rejected by national governments and the European Parliament.”

    The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure in a letter to the LIBE Committee said that, “To give the Parliament political space, the Court may decide to highlight problematic aspects, without finding a fatal flaw. This would obscure that the EU and the world need robust safeguards that will stand even under pressure.”

    Civil liberties group La Quadrature du Net called on users to push MEPs to stick to the process that would allow a quick rejection of the agreement.

    During the INTA Committee today EPP member Daniel Caspary not only criticised the lack of text tabled for vote today, but he also recommended to get clarity on how member states want to proceed first. As long as the ones who sat at the negotiation table were unable to sign up to what they themselves had negotiated – and put their signature on in the Council – it was questionable if the Parliament should delve into a several year-long procedure, he said. The ECJ’s decisions take around two years. Caspary recommended inviting the European Council for clarification on the next steps from member states, especially non-signatories. Cyprus was reported by the DG Trade representative to proceed to signing, but Germany is still hesitating.

    In the LIBE session on Monday, Liberal MEP Sophie In’t Veld tried to push once more for openness, at least now. In’t Veld in 2008 had filed a complaint because she was not granted access to negotiation documents. The case currently is pending before the European Court of Justice, she said.

    Yet In’t Veld said she meanwhile has received minutes from negotiations in which by mistake Commission officers had highlighted graphs instead of blackening them out. It was very revealing to see, she said, what EU negotiators did not want to be seen by the Parliament. In’t Veld said these and other documents from the negotiations should be made fully available and together with the many studies from EU services and commissioned studies should be taken as a base for the decision to be taken on ACTA.

    Transparency still is an issue with ACTA for the Parliament and for the public. In a letter published by FFII today, the NGO deplored a decision by the vice president of the European Parliament, Rainer Wieland, to uphold a decision not to release the legal service’s opinion on ACTA. It is “disheartening to see our 500 million people parliament defend secrecy,” FFII wrote.

    So even if the Parliament can proceed with their vote on ACTA in summer – and outrun the Commission and their referral to the ECJ – the question remains, will the Parliament really “put ACTA to bed” as Green Party Member Jan Philipp Albrecht wrote, or will it “bury ACTA” as Socialists and Democrats MEP Bernd Lange announced after today’s vote? ACTA-opponents certainly cannot be sure.

    Socialists and Democrats will hold a public debate with civil society on 12 April.

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

     

    Comments

    1. ACTA til afstemning i EU-parlamentet uden afgørelse fra domstolen. dSeneste says:

      [...] European Parliament Rejects Referral Of ACTA To EU High Court [...]


    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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