[Ip-health] FFII letter to the Development committee on ACTA

Ante ante at ffii.org
Mon May 7 01:31:04 PDT 2012

FFII letter to the Development committee on ACTA

May 7, 2012
By Ante

On May 14th 2012, the European Parliament Development committee will vote on 
its draft opinion on ACTA. The deadline for amendments (consent or rejection) 
is set for tomorrow at noon. Today the FFII sent a letter to the European 
Parliament Development committee.

Dear Members of the Committee on Development,

We are writing to express our concerns with the draft opinion on the Anti-
Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Many known issues are not reflected in 
the draft. The draft is a serious threat to the credibility of the Institution 
and the Union.

We note that global pricing problems (low incomes, high prices) also play a 
role in Eastern and Southern Europe. ACTA will increase the impact of 
austerity regimes. While not all voters may care about the situation of people 
in third countries, they do care about their own situation. ACTA, and this 
draft opinion, may undermine the support for the Union itself.

We understand the deadline for amendments is set for the 8th May at noon. We 
would like to suggest an alternative draft opinion, please find this draft 

Yours sincerely,

Ante Wessels

Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure

Alternative draft opinion

Short justification

ACTA was negotiated outside the World Trade Organization (WTO) and World 
Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). All countries and stakeholders 
benefit from a well-functioning international intellectual property governance 
model led by WIPO and the WTO. Ratification of ACTA will undermine the 
authority of those institutions, causing immeasurable harm to the development 
of global IP norms. [1]

The Development Agenda has emerged as a critically important policy initiative 
for the developing world since it offers the promise of focusing global 
intellectual property policy on the specific needs and concerns of the 
developing world. Should ACTA derail the WIPO Development Agenda, the effect 
would be felt throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America. [2]

Media piracy is probably better described as a global pricing problem. High 
prices for media goods, low incomes, and cheap digital technologies are the 
main ingredients of global media piracy. If piracy is ubiquitous in most parts 
of the world, it is because these conditions are ubiquitous. [3] The global 
pricing problem also plays a role in access to medicine and diffusion of green 
technology, needed to fight climate change. [4] An approach, like ACTA, that 
does not solve global pricing problems, but only heightens enforcement, will 
not solve global media piracy and counterfeiting problems, but will only 
increase social costs.

ACTA increases the risks and consequences of wrongful searches, seizures, 
lawsuits and other enforcement actions for those relying on intellectual 
property limitations and exceptions to access markets, including the suppliers 
of legitimate generic medicines. This, in turn, is likely to make affordable 
medicines more scarce and dear in many countries. [5]

The global pricing problems also play a role in Eastern and Southern Europe. 
ACTA will increase the impact of austerity regimes.

There are still concerns regarding fundamental rights. [6] In countries with 
less strong legal traditions and fundamental rights protection, ACTA will have 
a more negative impact than in the EU.

The European Parliament INTA study on ACTA cannot recommend to provide consent 
to ACTA if conformity with the EU Acquis is sine qua non for granting consent. 
This study also concludes that there does not appear to be any immediate 
benefit from ACTA for EU citizens. [7]

* * *

The Committee on Development calls on the Committee on International Trade, as 
the committee responsible, to propose that Parliament declines to give its 


[1] Michael Geist, The trouble with ACTA: an analysis of the Anti-
Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, EP INTA Workshop on the Anti-Counterfeiting 
Trade Agreement (ACTA)

[2] ibid

[3] Media Piracy in Emerging Economies, edited by Joe Karaganis 

[4] http://acta.ffii.org/?p=675

[5] Sean Flynn with Bijan Madhani, ACTA and Access to Medicines 

[6] http://www.edri.org/ACTAfactsheet

[7] European Parliament International Trade committee study on ACTA 


(end of letter)

As indicated by the footnotes, the letter contains quotes from Michael Geist 
("All countries ... global IP norms" and "The Development Agenda ... Latin 
America"), Joe Karaganis (editor) ("Media piracy ... are ubiquitous") and Sean 
Flynn with Bijan Madhani ("ACTA increases the risks ... many countries").

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