European Parliament wants more transparency on ACTA

By EDRi · March 25, 2009

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Deutsch: [Europäisches Parlament fordert mehr Transparenz bei ACTA |]

The European Parliament has included in the Draft Regulation regarding
public access to the European Parliament, Council and Commission documents a
reference asking for more transparency in the current negotiations on the
Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)

A recital in the text adopted by the European Parliament says:
“In accordance with Article 255(1) of the EC Treaty, the Commission should
immediately make all documents related to the ongoing international
negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) publicly

The new regulation considers that the basic principle of the new policy on
access to documents should be: “No legislative documents should be kept
secret.” MEPs adopted amendments to the draft proposal but postponed the
vote on the legislative resolution, leaving the door open for further
negotiations and a first-reading agreement.

The regulation foresees also the disclosure of the documents originating
from a Member State and received by the EU institutions, after the
consultation of the Member state, but without giving it a right of veto.
Also Member States shall seek to ensure that an equivalent level of
transparency is granted in relation to national measures implementing
normative acts of the EU.

The MEPs concluded that transparency should be extended also to the
international agreements where EU is participating. Special reference was
made to the agreement with the USA on the PNR that “must not give a non-EU
country or an international organisation the right to prevent the European
Parliament from accessing confidential information.”

Also, MEPs asked the Commission to make available all the documents related
to ACTA that might create a new international benchmark on intellectual
property right enforcement.

This decision came as a breath of fresh air for all international civil
rights activists that have asked several times for the publication of the
documents related to this international treaty. Especially after in US a
Freedom of Information Act request by Jamie Love, director of the non-profit
group Knowledge Ecology International, was denied by the chief FOIA officer
in the White House’s Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The subject of
the request were 7 specific documents, referenced by their exact title and
date. These documents are the proposals for ACTA text. The requested
documents “are being widely circulated to corporate lobbyists in Europe,
Japan, and the U.S. There is no reason for them to be secret from the
American public.”

However, the answer of the Obama administration was that the discussion
draft of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and related materials are
“classified in the interest of national security pursuant to Executive Order

A document published by Michael Geist in Canada reveals that also the
Canadian Government might be favourable to an early release of draft ACTA
“.. the Canadian delegation plans to argue for a transparent approach. . .
This approach would result in an earlier release of the text, which would
serve to alleviate domestic concerns about the scope of the agreement and
the perceived secrecy surrounding the process. The draft text could then
serve as the basis for broad-based public consultations. ”

Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council
regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission
documents (11.03.2009)

Access to documents: The European Parliament demands more transparency

Copyright treaty is classified for ‘national security’ (12.03.2009)

Obama Administration Rules Texts of New IPR Agreement are State Secrets

Canada Favours Early Release of ACTA Text (14.03.2009)

EDRi-gram: EU pushes for an international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade
Agreement (7.11.2007)

EDRi-gram: BitTorrent tracker sites threatened by draft ACTA agreement