The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement under negotiation encountered some staunch disagreement in Europe. The European Parliament voted 663-13 today on a resolution demanding the European Commission release all negotiating texts and brief the Parliament on the secretive agreement.
ACTA is an executive agreement under negotiation that could change the way copyright laws are enforced around the world and further deputize Internet Access Providers to police the Internet for violators. Members of the European Parliament also expressed concern today about ACTA demanding other nations cut off Internet access to those accused of illegal file sharing.
The following statement can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:
“It’s disappointing that it takes forward thinking European officials to initiate action on this. We hope the European Commission and U.S. legislators will use this resolution as a wake up call to take a step back and re-evaluate both the content of this agreement and the process of secretly negotiating a measure that will have broad implications for millions of Internet users.
“This vote makes it clear other democratic nations have concerns about the United States exporting the most controversial parts of the United States’ Digital Millennium Copyright Act around the globe.
“The Internet is such a great tool for democracy because it allows more people access to information. An agreement that could affect access to information for Internet users must especially be transparent and open. One of the historic beliefs by democracies is that if a new law really is good for the majority of constituents, it can withstand that sort of transparency.
The following comments can be attributed to Erika Mann, who served as a member of the European Parliament until 2009 and worked on intellectual property issues. Mann will be directing CCIA’s Brussels office, which opens this spring.
“Millions of Internet users will be impacted by ACTA, and right now, we do not know that impact as the negotiations and text of the draft agreement are largely secret.
“We hope the European Commission takes the overwhelming message sent by this vote as an opportunity to take another look at this measure, to find a more appropriate way to protect intellectual property rights and to talk with its other partners. The right place to negotiate IP protections is the World Intellectual Property Organization. WIPO has clear rules and a transparent process that involves all communities.”