Legal Arguments Against ACTA

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Below are arguments that you can use to convince the "Legal Affairs" (JURI) committee's members of ACTA's dangers.




ACTA will set up a new legal framework[modifier]

EU elected representatives won't be able to modify ACTA[modifier]

ACTA will prevent the EU and its Member States as well as other signatories to change their copyright and patent laws, and to fix their broken and brutal enforcement policies to adapt to the new economy of sharing.

On damages and border measures, ACTA goes beyond EU law[modifier]

In an opinion released last year, leading European academics shows how ACTA clashes both with EU law and with the enforcement provisions of the TRIPS Agreement - which is binding for the EU - particularly on border measures, damages, commercial scale definition and lack of safeguards.

Opinion of EU legal scholars on ACTA

ACTA will target individuals[modifier]

ACTA disrespects the position of the EU Parliament on criminal sanctions[modifier]

ACTA's overbroad definition of commercial scale runs counter to the EU Parliament position on the IPRED 2 proposal in 2007. According to the EU Parliament, acts "carried out by private users for personal and not-for-profit purposes" should be excluded from criminal sanctions. ACTA contradicts this by expanding the commercial scale definition to acts providing "indirect economic advantage".

EDRi's analysis of ACTA's "criminal sanctions" chapter

ACTA covers for-profit and not-for-profit infringements[modifier]

ACTA modifies the scope of criminal sanctions in EU Member States, ensuring they will be applied for cases of infringement on a “commercial scale”, defined as inducing “direct or indirect economic or commercial advantage” (art. 23.1). This term is vague, open to interpretation, and just plainly wrong when it comes to determining the scope of proportionate enforcement, as it does not make any distinction between commercial and non-profit infringement.

Article 23.10 of ACTA

ACTA bypasses democratic process[modifier]

Transparency was only made possible under the pressure of civil society[modifier]

Contrary to the Commission's claims, transparency on ACTA was only made possible after negotiation documents were leaked by insiders worried of ACTA's consequences. These leaks forced the negotiators to release negotiation texts in the Spring of 2010, more than 3 years after the beginning of the negotiations. Preparatory documents, which are key to interpret ACTA's vague provisions, remain confidential, as most of content of the EU Parliament's legal opinions on ACTA.

ACTA will continue to circumvent democracy[modifier]

In the future, ACTA's scope could also be easily expanded through the “ACTA committee”. The latter will have authority to interpret and modify the agreement after it has been ratified, and propose amendments. Such a parallel legislative process would create a precedent to durably bypassing parliaments in crucial policy-making, and is unacceptable in a democracy.

Article 36.2 of ACTA