Some simple notes for ACTA debate


DESPITE MANY DOUBTS AND LEGAL UNCERTAINTIES IN THE ACTA TEXT THE EC REFUSES TO ALLOW A European Court opinion on its legality and also rejects the carrying out of an independent study the impact of ACTA on innovation, development and fundamental rights. Why is the European Commission afraid of a court opinion and an empirical evaluation of ACTA?

– The lack of a clear definition of “commercial scale” could sanction the application of criminal measures against non-commercial file sharing on the Internet.

– The proposal of Internet Server legal liability and private policing of the net is like making the Post Office responsible for what is inside the letters they deliver,  under the guise of mandated “self-regulation”, has serious implications for judicial due process and for privacy.

– ACTA suggests measures that could undermine privacy: Peter Hustiinx, EU Data protection Supervisor on ACTA: “IP Rights should not be placed above individuals´rights to privacy and data protection”.  ACTA proposals could contradict EU data protection law.

– By supporting ACTA´s  proposals of  filtering and blocking of digital sources of information the EU could erode its moral high ground in defend some key human rights.

ACTA is economically regressive, hurts consumers and chills innovation.

ACTA sends out the wrong message about successful business models: ACTA  puts forward a global benchmark that suggests that more repression will help innovation and development; the opposite is the case.  More IPR repression ends up being ineffective, is used by non-democratic governments to stifle freedom of expression and often defends old rigid business models that deny global consumers competitive prices to many essential goods and cultural access. The threat of greater penalties for IPR violations chills innovation by preventing companies from taking risks, creating legal barriers to trade across borders

LEGISLATION LAUNDERING: EU laws through the back door.  The European Commission has used a secret international trade agreement to try to push through a series of repressive measures suggested by a few large economic interest groups that would have been very difficult to get through most national parliaments in an open debate. With ACTA a number of EU member states will be forced to introduce criminal sanctions in their national laws and the Commission will have new arguments to push forward the criminal measures (IPRED) against “piracy” that has been blocked in the Council for years due to opposition of many member states.  ACTA seeks to establish criminal sanctions for IP on a global scale.

ACTA AIMS AT CREATING A NEW MODEL OF GLOBAL GOVERNANCE THAT BYPASSES NORMAL PROCEDURES, TURNING THE BACK ON INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS: ACTA, and the ACTA institution it will create,  bypass normal multilateral organizations like the WTO or WIPO. It establishes a precedent where a few rich countries decide for the rest of the world a benchmark that afterwards would be the basis of free trade agreements that impose changes in national laws.


ACTA is opposed by most developing countries as being a tool for protectionist policies of the North as it proposes to drastically increase border controls that could be used to inhibit legal international trade. (just last week Dutch authorities seized Indian generic drugs) A European Parliament official policy department study published in December of 2011 on Intellectual Property Rights and the Fight Against Poverty concluded that ” the implementation and application of ACTA and other efforts to fight counterfeit could have negative effects especially on poor developing countries” “The EU should not push developing countries, especially least developed countries, to accept far-reaching IP standards…regarding seeds/agriculture and health/medicines”.  ACTA does just that!