The Netherlands against ACTA in all its forms

By EDRi · September 26, 2012

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Deutsch: [Niederlande gegen ACTA in jeder Form |]

In response to an open letter sent by EDRi-member Bits of Freedom (BoF),
the Dutch government has confirmed that it opposes any controversial
ACTA-provisions in whatever form.

This confirmation was provoked by the news, only six days after ACTA was
rejected by the European Parliament, that a draft text of the Canada –
EU Trade Agreement contained provisions that were virtually identical to
provisions from ACTA. As the Netherlands set an important example by
rejecting ACTA long before the vote in the European Parliament, Bits of
Freedom requested the government to do the same with CETA or any
agreement alike. And it did.

More specifically in its letter of 17 September 2012, the government –
upon BoF request – confirmed that it would not agree to the
ACTA-provisions in CETA or any other treaty in which such provisions may
appear. It stated:

“The European Commission rightly agreed to respect the vote of the
European Parliament against ACTA and to observe this vote concerning
CETA. ACTA-provisions 27(3) and 27(4) regarding the liability of
Internet Service Providers are no longer part of the current draft of
CETA. Other provisions relating to the enforcement of intellectual
property rights are currently being studied with the aforementioned vote
in mind. If provisions do not correspond thereto, they will be changed
or deleted.”


“In light of resolution 288 of the House of Representatives [2], this
government will not agree – in whatever agreement this may be – to any
ACTA-provisions it voted against. Examples are provisions on the strict
enforcement of intellectual property on the internet and provisions that
stand in the way of future intellectual property reforms.”

The government further noted that currently there were no other treaties
similar to ACTA being negotiated.

This confirmation by the Dutch government is of course very good news.
However, due to recent elections, a note of caution is in place: the new
government that is currently being formed may decide differently. Seeing
the latest positions of the two major parties there is not too much
reason for concern: in their election campaign, the liberal party (VVD)
took a position against ACTA and similar treaties; the labour party
(PvdA) took position only against ACTA but did support resolution 288
(also mentioned above) by which the government was requested to vote
against treaties similar to ACTA.

Bits of Freedom hopes that the formal position of the Dutch government
against controversial ACTA-provisions in whatever form serves as an
example to policymakers in other countries to do the same. This will
hopefully help the European Commission accept its loss and realize that
the only constructive way forward is to start looking for acceptable
alternatives in an open and transparent way.

Translation open letter: Dutch government must reject CETA (1.08.2012)

Translations of Dutch parliamentary resolutions against ACTA (29.05.2012)

(Contribution by Simone Halink – EDRi-member Bits of Freedom, Netherlands)