Green MEP for London, Jean Lambert, has reacted with dismay at the signing of a controversial agreement by the EU and 22 of its Member States which could potentially impinge the freedom of electronic communication and innovation worldwide.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement was created with the aim of establishing international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement, yet will deal with tools targeting internet distribution and information technology, meaning people could be prosecuted for merely sharing a link to a newspaper article or posting a video on YouTube.
The Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament have criticised the decision to proceed with the signing, highlighting persistent concerns about the legality of the deal and its compatibility with EU provisions on fundamental rights . The agreement will now be handed down for ratification by Member States and the European Parliament.
Commenting on the agreement, Jean, a member of the European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee, said: “The Greens in the European Parliament remain absolutely committed to ensuring that this so-called ‘agreement’ is not adopted at the expense of the rights of citizens – ACTA is a threat to our civil liberties and must be rejected. As the European Parliament and national parliaments now have their say as part of the ratification process, the Greens will push to ensure that ACTA is consigned to history.”
Notes to Editor
1. Critics have raised serious doubts about the compatibility of ACTA with EU law, particularly provisions on fundamental rights. For example, ACTA encourages its signatory states to step up co-operation with private actors, such as internet providers, for intellectual property enforcement in the absence of any minimum standards for legal procedures. This opens the door to undermining the basic rights of individuals with no protection for those affected.
Experts have also pointed out that ACTA could undermine access to medicines, particularly in developing countries, which are more independent on generics but were not even part of the negotiations.