Bullet points for ACTA debate in the EU
- “Practice what we preach, not what we do”. ACTA is a legally binding treaty for the EU and EU member states but only a voluntary global benchmark for the US. While the EU considers it a legal obligation, the US considers ACTA a “voluntary agreement” that despite clearly contradicting a number of US laws will have no legal impact in the US. Therefore, ACTA will give a competitive advantage to US businesses who will enjoy a more flexible system, for example with the US “fair use” of copyrighted material, while European innovation, especially SMEs will be constrained by the binding obligations of ACTA and other new EU legislation that will increase costs and risks in Europe with regards to copyright enforcement. The US Supreme Court has recently ruled that a law very similiar to ACTA that established very high damages and penalties for IP violations was unsconstititional.
- EU legislation laundering. No criminal IP enforcement measures presently exist in the EU. ACTA establishes criminal sanctions in the EU through the back door, by means of an opaque international negotiation as opposed to normal democratic legislative procedures, both in member states and in the EP, that would be far more transparent and participative.
- ACTA is a US promoted initiative that globally favours the interests of the US entertainment industry and does not benefit EU member state economies. As revealed by Wikileaks the US Government has placed great pressure on EU governments to protect the US cultural industry in Europe while recent academic studies have shown that digital “piracy” has little or no general economic impact on European economies but rather shifts cultural spending toward more European based cultural activities as opposed to the purchase US controlled contents.
- ACTA will actually promote more piracy by focusing legislation on repressive measures instead of the necessary copyright reform that would favour the blossoming of new innovative digital business models. The threat of high damages and criminal measures in ACTA will make digital initiatives that could provide attractive prices for consumers even more difficult in the EU and therefore will stimulate more illegal downloads.
- ACTA will constitute a barrier to the access to the vast cultural legacy of historic works. ACTA could seriously obstruct the access to millions of orphan works, that are either out of print or of unknown authors, by increasing the penalties and criminal risks of using these works. The fear of high damages and other remedies could inhibit future legal solutions to flexibilise the use and enjoyment of historically accumulated culture in the EU while the US has found new paths of increasing access in this field.
- ACTA victimises non-comercial sharing of digital content placing outside the law millions of internet users. Commercial scale is defined very ambiguously as any “direct or indirect economic gain” against the opinion of the European Parliament and international organizations.