ACTA, the controversial international trade agreement which threatens to impinge the freedom of electronic communication and innovation world wide has now been rejected by four European Parliament Committees in a further blow to the progression of the Agreement.
Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, has welcomed the outcome of the votes in the Civil Liberties, Legal Affairs, Development and Industry Committees, which recommend that Members of the European Parliament reject ACTA when it comes before plenary.
ACTA is a secretly negotiated trade agreement, created to combat the proliferation of counterfeiting and piracy. Although it may have been negotiated like other trade agreements, it is not simply an agreement on tariffs. Instead, it broadens the scope of criminal sanctions for internet distribution and information technology, meaning that people could be prosecuted for merely sharing a link to a newspaper article or sharing a video on YouTube.
Jean is against ACTA both for its content and the process by which it has been drawn up. ACTA also paves the wave for extra-judicial measures similar to those of SOPA and PIPA, meaning that internet service providers can take action against alleged infringements, bypassing due process and the right to a fair trial.
Jean, a member of the Civil Liberties Committee, said:
“The European Parliament has now delivered further blows to ACTA, with a number of committees voting to recommend rejection. The lead Trade Committee is set to deliver its verdict in June. Given the weight of public and political opposition to this problematic agreement, we hope that the Parliament will be able to finish off ACTA before the summer, with a final plenary vote against granting consent to ratification.
“In addition to concerns about data protection and internet freedom, there are also deep concerns about the potentially far-reaching implications of ACTA on fundamental rights, freedom of establishment and access to vital medicines.
“Intellectual property enforcement cannot entail a sweeping approach which puts at risk access to lower cost generic medicines. ACTA is the wrong instrument and will create more problems than it solves. The EP as a whole must reject it.”
Notes to Editor
1. The Civil Liberties, Industry and Legal Affairs Committees of the European Parliament all adopted their opinion reports on ACTA, recommending that the European Parliament withholds its consent. The lead European Parliament Trade Committee will vote on its report on 21st June. This will then be referred to the plenary of the European Parliament for a final vote on whether or not go give consent to the agreement.