ACTA – new criminal sanctions for non-commercial copyright uses?

By EDRi · June 30, 2010

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Deutsch: [ACTA – Neue Sanktionen für die nicht-gewerbliche Nutzung von Urheberrechten? |]

A new round of negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
(ACTA) is in progress until 1 July 2010 at Luzern, Switzerland between 11
parties including the EU.

A document leaked from the EU Presidency dated 7 April 2010 shows that EU
member states intended to introduce under ACTA more criminal sanctions for
copyright infringements even for non-commercial reasons.

The EU Presidency document stated that the position of the EU Member States
is still under examination with regard to article 2.14.1 covering copyright
or related rights infringements. Some proposals of this article explicitly
plan to apply criminal sanctions to “infringements that have no direct or
indirect motivation of financial gain”.

“The ACTA agreement, by its opacity and undemocratic nature, allows criminal
sanctions to be simply negotiated. The leaked document shows that the EU
Member States are willing to impose prison sanctions for non-commercial
usages of copyrighted works on the Internet as well as for ‘inciting and
aiding’, a notion so broad that it could cover any Internet service or
speech questioning copyright policies. EU citizens should interrogate their
governments about their support to policies that obviously attack freedom of
speech, privacy and innovation” says Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for
La Quadrature du Net.

ACTA will also hinder access to medicine by preventing the production and
the exportation of generic molecules. “ACTA would affect the access to
treatments worldwide, because it will hinder the access to cheap generic
drugs. Without generic drugs, it would have never been possible for 4
millions people to have access to antiretroviral drugs. If concluded, ACTA
would be a terrible stepback for millions of people living with HIV
worldwide,” stated Pauline Londeix, spokesperson for Act Up-Paris.

Some countries, such as India, threatened to establish a coalition of
countries against the treaty as they believe ACTA is in conflict with
international trade law, and it undermines the balance of rights,
obligations and flexibilities that already exists within international law.

The Swiss Pirate Party together with their Pirate colleagues from Germany
and Switzerland organised a rally at the Lucerne train station. The Pirate
parties and a group of 12 non-governmental organisations are also having
short meetings with the Swiss and other delegations.

The Berne Declaration, Médecins Sans Frontières , ACT UP Paris, Knowledge
Ecology International, Oxfam, La Quadrature du Net, Third World Network, and
representatives of the Washington College of Law issued on 23 June an urgent
ACTA Communique, which attracted a huge number of signatories from MEPs,
academics and NGOs. The document states that the new treaty will encourage
internet service providers to police the activities of internet users by
holding internet providers responsible for the actions of subscribers,
conditioning safe harbours on adopting policing policies, and by requiring
parties to encourage cooperation between service providers and rights
holders. It will also encourage this surveillance, and the potential for
punitive disconnections by private actors, without adequate court oversight
or due process.

In a joint statement of the European associations of fixed and mobile
telecoms operators, European internet service providers, cable companies and
digital media organisations have also warned that the “proposed obligation
on online providers to reveal the identity of their subscribers directly to
right holders violates the existing EU data protection obligations.”

Also, the International Trademark Association and the International Chamber
of Commerce’s Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy submitted
joint recommendations and comments on the ACTA text and recommended
maintaining the “original, narrow scope of ACTA to trademark counterfeiting
and copyright piracy for ACTA’s effective implementation in different
countries.” According to them, “the scope of draft text of the agreement
includes a wide range of intellectual property rights, which risks diluting
the focus and overall strength of the trade agreement.”

International Experts Find that Pending Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
Threatens Public Interests (23.06.2010)

Leak: EU pushes for criminalizing non-commercial usages in ACTA (24.06.2010)

ACTA: International ‘three strikes’, surveillance and worse (23.06.2010)

The ACTA casino must be closed (28.06.2010)

Geist: Developing world opposition mounts to anti-counterfeiting agreement

Scope Of Anti-Counterfeiting Agreement Again A Big Issue In Round Nine

EDRi-gram: ACTA: European Commission transparently ignores European
Parliament (21.04.2010)