[A2k] The European Commission Wants to Bring Back ACTA Through the Back Door!
La Quadrature du Net
contact at laquadrature.net
Thu Jul 3 10:08:13 PDT 2014
Themes: COPYRIGHT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION, NON-LEGISLATIVE MEASURES, ACTA, SOPA, COMMERCIAL SCALE
La Quadrature du Net – For immediate release
Permanent link: https://www.laquadrature.net/en/the-european-commission-wants-to-bring-back-acta-through-the-back-door
The European Commission Wants to Bring Back ACTA Through the Back Door!
*** Paris, 2 July 2014 — As the current European Commission sees out its last days following the European elections, it has just published an “Action Plan to address infringements of intellectual property rights in the EU”  reusing some of the major concepts of the ACTA agreement that was rejected by the European Parliament in 2012 following an important citizen mobilisation. Its contents are also inspired by proposals pushed by France at the European level , letting fear an increased implication of technical intermediaries in the enforcement of copyright and their progressive transformation into a private copyright police force. ***
By reusing the objective of fighting against “commercial scale” counterfeiting, the Commission has chosen to reactivate one of the worst mechanisms  of the anti-counterfeiting agreement ACTA. This vague expression threatens to include non-commercial online sharing activities and introduces the same legal uncertainty which was at the heart of the citizen mobilisation against ACTA, right up to its final rejection by the elected representatives of the Parliament.
The same commissioners who pushed ACTA, Karel de Gucht and Michel Barnier, now seem to be considering bypassing the European Parliament to implement this fight against “commercial scale” counterfeiting. They are in fact planning to introduce “non-legislative measures” implying the signature of simple agreements between representatives of the cultural industries and technical providers, like advertising agencies and online payment services.
These measures are directly inspired from the May 2013 Lescure  Report and from the Imbert-Quaretta Report  recently published in France, which La Quadrature has already denounced as potentially leading to an exra-judicial application of copyright law, converting these intermediaries in a private copyright law police force . The Commission wishes that such a system be generalized in the European Union through “Memoranda of Understanding”, providing a framework for contractual agreements negociated by private players.
Such methods will lead to the bypass of democratic procedures of control. But the Commission also proposes to reinforce the protection of intellectual property at an international level with multilateral negociations . Such statements give good reason to fear that, once again, as with the ACTA  agreement, or as foreseen for the CETA  and TAFTA  agreements, “intellectual property” questions will be treated in an opaque way during free trade agreements, leaving elected representatives with hardly any leeway.
These announcements are all the more shocking given that the Commission launched at the end of 2013 a public consultation  on the evolution of copyright in the European Union. An unprecedented number of responses showed the interest European citizens have regading this issue. But disregarding civil society, the Commission has decided to publish its plan to fight counterfeiting before the publishing the White Paper it had committed to work on following the consultation. A number of leaks  concerning this White Paper have already shown that, in any case, the Commission is only considering mere cosmetic reforms, while recommending still more extra-judicial measures.
La Quadrature du Net denounces the behavior of this Commission, a Commission largely discredited by its support of ACTA and which still ignores the lesson taught the hard way by the Parliament's clear refusal in 2012. The future Commission must reject this repressive and anti-democratic approach in order to study the possibility of a positive reform of copyright  at last.
“The European Commission seems to think that European citizens, whose mobilisation led to the rejection of the ACTA agreement, have no memory. But the same causes have the same effects, and the European civil society will again reject this dangerous vision copyright enforcement” concluded Lionel Maurel, cofounder of the association La Quadrature du Net.
* References *
2. See the Mireille Imbert-Quaretta report: https://www.laquadrature.net/en/node/8241/ [fr]
5. https://www.laquadrature.net/en/node/8241 [fr]
6. https://www.laquadrature.net/en/node/8246 [fr]
** 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
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