European Parliament Rapporteur Recommends Rejection of ACTA

The controversial international anti-piracy agreement known as ACTA may soon be put to a bitter end in Europe. The European Parliament member responsible for monitoring the treaty’s progress through the European Union is saying publicly that it should be soundly rejected.

British MEP David Martin, the Rapporteur for ACTA, announced that he will recommend that the treaty be rejected. He issued his conclusion in a report to the International Trade Committee, the main body involved in the ACTA debate. He will submit a final draft of his recommendation later this month, but an early draft can be found here (PDF).

Here is the most important part of the recommendation:

"Unintended consequences of the ACTA text is a serious concern. On individual criminalisation, the definition of “commercial-scale”, the role of internet service providers and the possible interruption of the transit of generic medicines, your Rapporteur maintains doubts that the ACTA text is as precise as is necessary.

The intended benefits of this international agreement are far outweighed by the potential threats to civil liberties. Given the vagueness of certain aspects of the text and the uncertainty over its interpretation, the European Parliament cannot guarantee adequate protection for citizens' rights in the future under ACTA.

Your Rapporteur therefore recommends that the European Parliament declines to give consent to ACTA. In doing so, it is important to note that increased IP rights protection for European producers trading in the global marketplace is of high importance. Following the expected revision of relevant EU directives, your Rapporteur hopes the European Commission will therefore come forward with new proposals for protecting IP."

The US, a large number of European countries, Australia, Canada, Japan and several other countries have signed the ACTA treaty, but many countries have not officially ratified it. A vote on ACTA's ratification is due to take place this summer in Brussels.

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