ACTA In Parliament: Kill Or Repair?

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By Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch

Opponents and proponents of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in the European Parliament have positioned themselves in meetings of several committees preparing opinions.

As the head of the Liberal Party Group (ALDE) joined Greens and Socialists & Democrats in rejecting the agreement negotiated behind closed doors between the European Union, United States, Japan and seven more countries since 2007, some observers declared ACTA was dead.

Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) rapporteur Marielle Gallo and several representatives of her party group, the conservative European Peoples, on the other hand pointed to the merits of better intellectual property enforcement and asked for the potential to “repair” some of the shortcomings and make an attempt to renegotiate.

Representatives of the European Commission reacted by warning that Europe would be left behind while the other ACTA partners go ahead, and the Commission especially attacked this week’s critical statement by the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) as unbalanced and highly “selective”. The EDPS on 24 April questioned ACTA because of its vagueness and potential negative effect on fundamental rights.

As the ACTA debate is raging through the various committees, the lead rapporteur, David Martin, has postponed the vote of the International Trade Committee to 20 June, shifting the plenary vote to early July, swiftly followed by the Legal Committee, which also postponed its vote on its own opinion and send more questions to the Commission on ACTA’s framework. Some ACTA opponents quickly warned against manoeuvring through the delays.

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