Civil Liberties Arguments Against ACTA
||The European Parliament rejected ACTA by a huge majority, today Wednesday 4th of July. Now, it is time to start a positive reform of copyright to adapt it to the digital era.
In this regard, La Quadrature du Net's platform of proposals provides a thorough analysis of the key stakes and a consistent set of proposals, for the copyright reform as well as related culture and media policy issues.
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Below are arguments that you can use to convince the members of the "Civil Liberties" (LIBE) committee of the dangers of ACTA.
The LIBE committee's next meeting is on March 20th, 2012.
- 1 A study requested by the European Parliament underlines the lack of safeguards and calls on the EU Parliament to reject ACTA
- 2 European Economic & Social Committee stresses that fundamental rights are not taken into consideration in ACTA
- 3 ACTA will lead to extra-judicial censorship measures
- 4 Mexican lawmakers stress the dangers of ACTA for freedom of expression and culture
- 5 ACTA is part of the Commission's dangerous copyright agenda
- 6 Criminalization of not-for-profit sharing was part of the EU Commission ACTA mandate
- 7 The ACTA text does impact not-for-profit activities
- 8 ACTA disrespects the position of the EU Parliament on criminal sanctions
A study requested by the European Parliament underlines the lack of safeguards and calls on the EU Parliament to reject ACTA
An independent study commissioned by the Directorate-General for External Policies of the European Parliament recognizes ACTA's lack of safeguards for fundamental rights, while underlining that it is "difficult to point to any significant advantages that ACTA provides for EU citizens beyond the existing international framework". According to the study, "unconditional consent would be an inappropriate response from the European Parliament given the issues that have been identified with ACTA as it stands".
European Economic & Social Committee stresses that fundamental rights are not taken into consideration in ACTA
In an opinion criticizing the EU Commission's IPR Strategy, the European Economic and Social Committee stresses that "fundamental human rights, such as the right to information, health, sufficient food, the right of farmers to select seeds and the right to culture, are not taken sufficiently into consideration" in ACTA, and that "this will impact on future European legislation geared towards the harmonisation of Member States' legislation." According to the EESC, "ACTA's approach is aimed at further strengthening the position of rights holders vis-à-vis the "public", certain of whose fundamental rights (privacy, freedom of information, secrecy of correspondence, presumption of innocence) are becoming increasingly undermined by laws that are heavily biased in favour of content distributors. ".
ACTA will lead to extra-judicial censorship measures
If ACTA is adopted, it will be possible for the entertainment industry to exert pressure on every Internet actor under the threat of criminal sanctions for "aiding and abetting" infringements (art.23.4) and under the guise of "cooperation" between both parties (art.27.3). ACTA also mentions "expeditious measures to deter further infringements" (art.27.1). Under this legal framework, Internet actors will be gradually compelled to deploy automated blocking, filtering of communications and deletion of online content. Such measures will inevitably restrict users' freedoms online.
Mexican lawmakers stress the dangers of ACTA for freedom of expression and culture
In June 2011, the Mexican Senate approved a resolution calling on the government not to sign the anti-counterfeiting agreement ACTA. In its conclusions, it argues that the digital chapter could lead to privatized online censorship, with harmful effects on Net neutrality (and therefore freedom of expression), access to communications or access to culture.
ACTA is part of the Commission's dangerous copyright agenda
By defending this SOPA-style policy in ACTA, the Commission is paving the way for the copyright industries' enforcement agenda, preventing any true debate on alternative to repression. This fits with the announced revision of the IPRED and eCommerce directives.
Criminalization of not-for-profit sharing was part of the EU Commission ACTA mandate
The Commission claims that ACTA does not target non-commercial users infringing on copyright. Why then does the 18 July 2007 discussion paper submitted in interservice consultation in the EU Commission for the negotiating mandate of ACTA include the criminalisation of not-for-profit sharing by individuals? The latter explicitly refers to the need of criminal sanctions for: “significant willful infringements without motivation for financial gain to such an extent as to prejudicially affect the copyright owner (e.g., internet piracy)”. This is a fundamentally flawed policy, and ACTA will make it impossible to reform in the EU while exporting it worldwide.
The ACTA text does impact not-for-profit activities
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.
ACTA disrespects the position of the EU Parliament on criminal sanctions
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".