European Parliament Passes Resolution “Welcoming” ACTA

European Parliament Passes Resolution “Welcoming” ACTA

Approves controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), but only with the condition that the European Commission confirm that its “implementation will have no impact on fundamental rights and data protection, on the ongoing EU efforts to harmonise intellectual property rights enforcement measures, or on e-commerce.” Adds that “three-strikes” is off the table and that anti-camcording laws are “optional.”

It’s been a long and winding road for the controversial international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) which, after having been finalized just last month after years of negotiations, has passed an important hurdle in the European Parliament.

Today MEPs passed a resolution effectively approving the ACTA with 331 votes in favour, 294 against, and 11 abstentions.

The “negotiated text reflects the main concerns expressed by Parliament over recent months,” says the resolution, tabled by Christian Democrats (EPP) and European Conservatives and reformists (ECR) who welcome the European Commission’s repeated statements that ACTA will not go beyond or require any changes in the existing EU intellectual property rights legislation. They point out that in this area, “EU law is already considerably more advanced than the current international standards”

The MEPs have also asked the European Commission “to confirm that ACTA’s implementation will have no impact on fundamental rights and data protection, on the ongoing EU efforts to harmonise intellectual property rights enforcement measures, or on e-commerce.”

They admit that the ACTA “will not solve the complex and multi-dimensional problem of counterfeiting,” but they do consider it a “step in the right direction.”

The approval is a reminder that a number of its earlier objections to the treaty have been addressed.

Of particular importance was that “no ACTA signatory, and particularly not the EU, may be mandated to introduce ‘three strikes’ or similar regimes, as an internet disconnection penalty for three online copyright infringements.”

The European Parliament also “hails” the fact that ACTA signatory countries aren’t required to make camcording a movie in a theater a criminal offence, that it’s “merely optional”.

Several other things that the European Parliament wants to make clear with the resolution is that the it ACTA should not “impose harmonisation of EU copyright, patent or trademark law,” and that it should not “harm global access to legal, affordable and safe medicines.”