From talk to action – EP Committees to vote on ACTA next week

By EDRi · May 23, 2012

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Deutsch: [Den Worten müssen Taten folgen – Kommende ACTA-Abstimmungen im EP |]

After months of machinations, delays and politics, it appears that there
is no more scope for delay and all four of the Committees giving
Opinions on ACTA will finally vote next week. This will be a “make or
break” moment for ACTA, because a failure to pass texts calling for
ACTA’s rejection would create a sudden momentum for the Agreement –
building on the many ill-advised (or carefully planned) statements that
ACTA is “dead”.

Even though the position of several key political groups is clear, the
attraction of not taking a decision has proven too much for some
individual MEPs. Danish Liberal MEP Jens Rhode tabled (and then withdrew
his signature from) an amendment in the Industry Committee draft
Opinion, which would have meant that the Committee would not issue a
recommendation on whether to support or reject ACTA. The Liberal (ALDE)
Group has decided to reject ACTA. Despite this, a minority of Liberals
in the Civil Liberties Committee have proposed postponing a decision on
ACTA until after the ruling of the European Court of Justice (in about
18 months) and have even tabled an amendment referring to the protection
of “due process” in ACTA – even though there is no such provision in the

The conservative EPP group (the largest in the Parliament) is searching
for an impossible middle ground between rejecting and supporting ACTA.
They have been tabling amendments asking for clarifications from the
Commission regarding the unclear definition of “commercial scale” and
clarifications regarding privatised enforcement through Internet
providers. What they have so far failed to understand is that many of
the companies that will be “encouraged” to enforce intellectual property
law in ACTA are not European companies. If Google is already enforcing
US law in Europe (through the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, for
example), and the Commission can do nothing to stop this, how can the
Commission “clarify” or limit what Microsoft, Verisign, Paypal etc. will
do when they are “encouraged” by the US government to police the web on
a global level? They cannot.

It is therefore crucial for all concerned citizens and organisations to
contact the Parliamentarians in order to support the rejection of ACTA
in all four Committees.

The final committee vote in the International Trade committee is
scheduled to take place on 21 June, with a final Parliament vote due on
3 July.

For more information, see EDRi’s “Stop ACTA” campaign page:

For details of MEPs on each of the Committees voting next week see:

Civil Liberties Committee (vote scheduled 30/31 May)

Industry Committee (vote scheduled 30 May)

Development Committee (vote scheduled 4 June)

Legal Affairs Committee (vote scheduled 31 May)

(Contribution by Joe McNamee – EDRi)