What is ACTA?
ACTA is an international trade agreement negotiated by the European Union, the United States, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Australia, Mexico, Morocco, Singapore as well as a few other countries, whose aim is to enforce copyright and tackle counterfeited goods (hence its acronym: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement).
Download and read the final version of the text.
The main problem with this treaty is that all the negotiations were done secretly, keeping the public and civil organizations out of the table. All the information until 2010 relied on leaks that reveal intentional secrecy to misled the public. ACTA negotiations started on 2007 and finalized in 2010.
Which countries already signed ACTA?
October 2010: Japan and United States, who crafted the treaty, together with Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea
January 2011 European Commission, in charge of negotiations, together with non elected representatives from 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech republic, Denmark,Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Luxemburg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Rumania, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.
The signature of ACTA by European countries does not mean the deal is done, needs to be ratified by the European Parliament. They will vote on june 2012to either ratify or reject ACTA. Please read more how to act and call your MPs, tell them tovote against ratification. This would disarm ACTA in Europe.
Help stop ACTA in Europe
The main two things to do are contacting Members of the European Parliament and helping spread the word about ACTA.
Current main action: call members of the INTA committeeto ask that their report on ACTA recommend the Parliament reject it, and to tell them about the dangers of ACTA.
Which countries have not signed ACTA?
Mexico, Switzerland and Germany (so far) In both countries situation is not clear. Mexican Senate voted a non-binding resolution rejecting the ratification of the treaty last year, after celebrating multi-stakeholder public hearings that show ACTA against Constitution.
Kader Arif, rapporteur for ACTA in the European Parliament quit his role as rapporteur saying:
”I want to denounce in the strongest possible manner the entire process that led to the signature of this agreement: no inclusion of civil society organisations, a lack of transparency from the start of the negotiations, repeated postponing of the signature of the text without an explanation being ever given, exclusion of the EU Parliament’s demands that were expressed on several occasions in our assembly.”
“This agreement might have major consequences on citizens’ lives, and still, everything is being done to prevent the European Parliament from having its say in this matter. That is why today, as I release this report for which I was in charge, I want to send a strong signal and alert the public opinion about this unacceptable situation. I will not take part in this masquerade.”
ACTA is legislation laundering on an international level of what would be very difficult to get through most Parliaments
Stravros Lambrinidis, Member of European Parliament, S and D, Greece
The European Parliament has had no representation in ACTA negotiations. Just accepting or rejecting an agreement is not an exercise of democracy as under the Lisbon Treaty.
Zuzana Roithova, Member of European Parliament, EPP, Czech Republic
It is extremely regrettable that democratic debate has been eliminated from talks that could have a major impact on such a fundamental freedom as free expression.
Reporters without Borders, European Parliament Sakharov Prize Winners
Any measures concerning people’s right to go online need to be brought in through the proper democratic channels, not via self-regulation, and made into EU law
Andrea D´Incecco, public affairs manager from EuroISPA (Business association of European Internet Service Providers)
We can only assume that the final text could do great harm in developing countries and undermine the balance between the protection of intellectual property and the need to provide affordable medicines for poor people.
Rohit Malpani, OXFAM, from a press release criticising possible impact of ACTA.
We are in danger of ending up with the worst of both worlds, pushing IP rules, which are very effective at stopping access to life-saving drugs but are very bad at stopping or preventing fake drugs.
Michelle Childs of Médecins Sans Frontières, Nobel Peace Prize winners, has issued a very critical statement on ACTA.