[A2k] Will the EU Parliament Let TAFTA Turn Into Another ACTA?

La Quadrature du Net jz at laquadrature.net
Wed Apr 24 02:47:20 PDT 2013


Themes: TAFTA, TTIP, EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, COPYRIGHT, TRADE AGREEMENT

La Quadrature du Net – For immediate release

Permanent link: https://www.laquadrature.net/en/will-the-eu-parliament-let-tafta-turn-into-another-acta


Will the EU Parliament Let TAFTA Turn Into Another ACTA?



*** Paris, 24 April 2013 — On 25 April next, the “International Trade” (INTA) committee of the European Parliament will vote on a draft resolution [1] on the proposed EU-US trade agreement, the “Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement” (TAFTA), also touted as the “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” (TTIP). After the ACTA, SOPA, PIPA and CETA fights, once again the negotiators of this new trade agreement try to use it as an opportunity to impose online repression. With Thursday's vote, Members of the European Parliament can and must remove “intellectual property” provisions from the negotiations, and avoid an undemocratic trade agreement that will inflict the worst of both regimes’ rules on the other party. Instead, the current version of the resolution that will be put to vote on Thursday proposes to “include strong protection of intellectual property rights (IPR)” in TAFTA. ***

Following the Civil Society Declaration “IP out of TAFTA” [2] released by almost 50 European and International organisations, La Quadrature du Net calls on MEPs to exclude from the upcoming TAFTA any provisions related to patents, copyright, trademarks, trade secrets, or other forms of so-called “intellectual property” rights. To this effect, La Quadrature du Net publishes a voting list for the key amendments [3].

On 28 November 2011, the European Union and United States set up a high-level working group on growth and jobs, aiming at finding accurate solutions to the economical crisis. On 13 February 2013, the final report – which resulted from a year-long consultation of key industrial players – stressed the need for a Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA). Barely 10 months have passed since the MEPs supported by European citizens and civil society organisations voted to unconditionally reject ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. At the time, civil society groups and citizens across Europe called for more openness and transparency. A call that still needs to be heard today, in the context of new trade talks.

No transparency on pre-negotiation and negotiation texts means no guarantees for the European citizens. In 2010, the EU Ombudsman [4] underlined [5] that citizens had to be informed about ACTA. Citizens should be informed of any provision which could infringe their fundamental rights, especially freedom of speech, the right to a fair trial and access to knowledge.

The decision-making process on TAFTA is still in its infancy. On Thursday, the European Parliament will vote to mandate the EU Commission to lead negotiations with the United States. The Council decision is expected before the summer break.

Once again, La Quadrature du Net demands the general exclusion of any provisions in trade agreements that undermine fundamental freedoms, the development of free software or access to affordable generic drugs for millions of people; it calls on INTA MEPs to take into account the opinions expressed last year by citizens during anti-ACTA mobilizations during Thursday's vote.

“This resolution vote of the 'International Trade' committee is a key opportunity to exclude any forms of so-called 'intellectual property' from TAFTA. MEPs can make clear that repressive measures threatening our fundamental freedoms have nothing to do in this new trade agreement. European institutions must hear the citizen rejection of ACTA. It is critical to avoid a precedent of undemocratic processes injecting copyright enforcement provisions in all trade agreements. It's time to make global copyright law more flexible and fit for the digital era!” concluded Philippe Aigrain, co-founder of citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net.

In order for the European Parliament to send a clear signal, La Quadrature du Net calls the INTA MEPs:

    to adopt amendments excluding provisions related to so-called “intellectual property” from TAFTA, such as:
        Amendment 114
        Françoise Castex (France - SD) proposes to remove the following paragraph:

            11. Stresses that the agreement must include strong protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), including geographical indications; believes that other areas of divergence in IPR should be solved in line with international standards of protection;


        Amendment 164
        Yannick Jadot (France - Greens/EFA) proposes to add the following paragraph:

            13c. Considers that the well functioning domestic court systems and robust property rights protections of both partners make special investor protection provisions dispensable; calls on the Council to exclude the faculty of Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement from the negotiating mandate


    to reject amendments strengthening copyright from TAFTA, such as:
        Amendment 119
        Christofer Fjellner (Sweden - EPP) proposes to remove the text struck out, and to retain this paragraph:

            11. Stresses that the agreement must include strong protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), ***including geographical indications;*** believes that other areas of divergence in IPR should be solved in line with international standards of protection


        Amendment 115
        Henri Weber (France - SD) proposes to replace:

            11. Stresses that the agreement must include strong protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), including geographical indications; believes that other areas of divergence in IPR should be solved in line with international standards of protection;

        by:

            11. Stresses that it is essential for this agreement to guarantee maximum protection levels and the effective implementation of provisions concerning personal data and intellectual and industrial property rights, including geographical indications;


    The complete list of the amendments is available here [6] and La Quadrature's voting list for the key amendments is here [2].

    



* References *

1. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2009_2014/documents/inta/re/929/929186/929186en.pdf

2. https://www.laquadrature.net/en/no-copyright-in-eu-us-trade-agreement

3. https://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/TAFTA_INTA_20140425

4. An ombudsman is an official elected by the European Parliament, with a significant degree of independence. He is charged with representing the interests of the public by investigating and addressing complaints of maladministration or violation of rights.

5. http://press.ffii.org/Press%20release/Citizens%20have%20a%20clear%20interest%20in%20being%20informed%20about%20ACTA%20EU%20Ombudsman%20concludes

6. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2009_2014/documents/inta/am/932/932451/932451en.pdf






** About la Quadrature du Net **


La Quadrature du Net is an advocacy group that defends the rights and freedoms of citizens on the Internet. More specifically, it advocates for the adaptation of French and European legislations to respect the founding principles of the Internet, most notably the free circulation of knowledge. 

In addition to its advocacy work, the group also aims to foster a better understanding of legislative processes among citizens. Through specific and pertinent information and tools, La Quadrature du Net hopes to encourage citizens' participation in the public debate on rights and freedoms in the digital age.

La Quadrature du Net is supported by French, European and international NGOs including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Open Society Institute and Privacy International.

List of supporting organisations: https://www.laquadrature.net/en/they-support-la-quadrature-du-net


** Press contact and press room **

Jérémie Zimmermann, jz at laquadrature.net, +33 (0)615 940 675

http://www.laquadrature.net/en/press-room







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