How to act against ACTA: DEVE
- Today, the EU Parliament “development” committee (DEVE) holds its first debate on its draft opinion report on ACTA.
- Its rapporteur is Jan Zahradil, a conservative, euro-skeptic representative from the Czech Republic
- The report is disastrous, it is deceptive and tries to justify extremist repressive measures to protect the outdated regime of copyright, patents and trademarks.
- Worse, the draft report completely overlooks the widespread citicism against ACTA, coming not only from NGOs defending access to medicines, such as OXFAM or Health Action International, but also from the EU's main trading partners.
- Also extremely surprisingly, the draft report does not question the need for ACTA and does not criticize the way in which it was negotiated.
- Does the committee consider normal for non-elected civil-servants close to industry lobbyists to negotiate out of any form of democratic scrutiny?
- Or for emerging and developing countries to be totally excluded from the process?
For more details, see EDRi's thorough criticism of this draft opinion report which counters each of the draft opinion report's 7 bullet points.
What to do
The draft DEVE opinion report must be amended to reflect the crucial problems raised by ACTA. Even the study commissioned by the EU Parliament itself recognized that ACTA cannot be accepted as it stands.
Call the members of the DEVE committee and tell them about the dangers of ACTA and how their report overlooks all these dangerous problems.
The main points are:
- ACTA turns Internet companies (ISPs, service providers) into a private copyright police by forcing to take legal responsibility for what their users do online.
- ACTA brings broad and dangerous criminal sanctions in loosely defined way.
- ACTA bypasses democracy and opens the door to a parallel legislative process, which the European MPs should be particularly angry about.
Example phone call
Here is an example phone call, to give you an idea of how such a conversation may go.
It is not intended to be directly reused as such, only to provide a guide, an example.
Remember, spontaneity is always better…
- YOU: Hello, I would like to talk to Mrs/Mr MEP, please.
- Assistant: Mrs/Mr MEP is not available, I am her/his assistant. Can I help you?"
- YOU: I am MyName, calling from MyCountry, I am very much concerned by the ACTA agreement and DEVE's draft opinion about it.
- Assistant: I see. We had calls before. I have no time.
- YOU: But it is very important! The whole ACTA negotiations circumvented the democratic process and could radically alter the Internet and citizens' freedoms.
- Assistant: Don't worry. The text is not as bad as you've heard, everything will be fine.
- YOU: An analysis by leading law scholars shows that current versions go beyond the EU acquis, that ACTA cannot be accepted as it stands. The ACTA agreement lets the Commission negotiate on civil and criminal sanctions. It is not just a trade agreement. The DEVE committee must show its commitment to protecting EU citizens and include all the crucial problems of ACTA in its report. Mrs/Mr MEP should help shape the DEVE report to present this information against ACTA."
- Assistant: "I'll tell Mrs/Mr MEP."
- YOU: "Thank you very much for listening to me. If you wish, I can send you reference documents. I'll call you again shortly to know what he/she thought. Have a good day."
Tell us how it went
Come to this pad to simply write down the name of the MEP you just called, how it went, if they are for or against ACTA, etc. It will help others get a feeling of the situation, arguments that work or not, etc.
You can read the following resources for more info:
The following resources are helpful in better understanding ACTA:
- Impact assessment of ACTA on fundamental rights
- Study on ACTA and access to medicine
- FFII's analysis of ACTA
You can go back to the main page explaining How to act against ACTA.