[A2k] The Inquirer: MEP David Martin becomes ACTA rapporteur
thiru at keionline.org
Thu Feb 9 02:30:06 PST 2012
MEP David Martin becomes ACTA rapporteur
Shows worrying signs of support
By Dave Neal
Wed Feb 08 2012, 10:33
THE DRACONIAN Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has another European Parliament rapporteur, after the last one resigned in protest.
Minister of the European Parliament (MEP) David Martin has taken over the job vacated by Kader Arif, the MEP that quit the position because ACTA was written in secrecy and rushed to signing.
"I want to denounce in the strongest possible manner the entire process that led to the signature of this agreement," Arif wrote when he resigned.
"As rapporteur of this text, I have faced never-before-seen manoeuvres from the right wing of this Parliament to impose a rushed calendar before public opinion could be alerted, thus depriving the Parliament of its right to expression and of the tools at its disposal to convey citizens' legitimate demands."
The new rapporteur might not agree however, at least according to internet rights group Laquadrature du Net, which said that he has a track record of serving corporate interests and will have to work hard to convince treaty opponents that he understands the ramifications of ratifying the agreement.
"David Martin will have to prove that he understands ACTA is an irrecoverable circumvention of democracy, a text whose need was never demonstrated in any way, and which creates grave dangers for online freedoms for the sole benefit of a few special interest groups," said the group's co-founder Philippe Aigrain.
"Even more, he must show that this understanding does not fall short of the courage to recommend and obtain the rejection of this infamous agreement."
In a statement released on his party's web site, Martin said that he will be open in what he does around ACTA, but did not show any of the disgust for it that his predecessor expressed.
"I want the Parliament to have a facts-based discussion and not a debate around myths. That is why I want to have an open debate with all actors concerned. ACTA is meant to be about better enforcement of existing copyright and intellectual property rights through international cooperation," he said.
"ACTA should not change existing European law in this area. I will be going through the text thoroughly and take legal advice (including through the European Court of Justice if necessary), to ensure that ACTA respects the existing body of EU law. I will not be rushed and will be open and transparent in my deliberations."
The treaty is widely opposed at the popular level but is supported by entertainment industry cartels, large corporations and their politicians. It seems to be losing ground in Europe, though, where a number of countries are indicating that they will not ratify it
Source: The Inquirer (http://s.tt/15AXT)
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