EU Trade Commissioner Makes Last Appeal For Delay Of ACTA VotePublished on 3 July 2012 @ 7:08 pm
Intellectual Property Watch
EU Trade Commissioner Karl De Gucht today made a last appeal to the European Parliament today to delay the decision on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in order to allow the European Court of Justice to give its opinion. But he met with strong indications that a rejection of the controversial agreement may be coming tomorrow.
With few exceptions, Parliament members – mostly from the conservative European Peoples Party Group (EPP) – announced they would reject ACTA in tomorrow’s vote, mainly due to vagueness in the legal terms like commercial use and risk of private policing of the internet.
De Gucht was heavily criticised by many for his handling of the dossier. Green Party Group member Jan Albrecht said that Parliament was not informed, even ignored, during the process, and that an attempt to ask for a Court opinion before signing the contract had not been supported.
Members of the Liberals, Socialists&Democrats, the Left Party Group and many smaller party groups said now it is time to take a political decision and in that acknowledge the opinions of the millions who had taken to the street against the agreement.
The rapporteur, British S&D member David Martin, concluded the lengthy debate in which many MEPs wanted to give their opinions on ACTA by saying what worried him was that those who listened to the protesters on the streets were said to be populists, while those listening to lobbyists of big companies were said to be responsible.
Martin’s recommendation for the vote tomorrow morning is to reject the agreement. He said the challenge all have to face after ACTA is to find the right balance between securing a living for creators and innovators while keeping the network open and free.
De Gucht agreed that there are gaps in substantive law with regard to IP protection, but said that if ACTA is not kept alive the substantive discussion might die down.
But many members of Parliament said that it was just without ACTA that the much-needed copyright reform in the digital age could take off without being restrained from the beginning.