Back in March La Quadrature du Net (a non-profit association defending the rights and freedoms of citizens on the Internet) joined 47 European and International organizations in asking the European Parliament to exclude provisions related to patents, copyright, trademarks, data protection, geographical indications, or other forms of so-called intellectual property from the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA). This week the group reports that MPs have ignored those calls: in a plenary vote, the European Parliament adopted a mandate to the European Commission explicitly allowing it to "include strong protection of intellectual property rights (IPR)" in the proposed EU-US trade agreement negotiations.
"MEPs gave the go to the inclusion in TAFTA of copyright and patent enforcement provisions, against the demands of European and international organizations," said Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for the citizen organization La Quadrature du Net. "This decision is the first step to a new trade agreement which could hurt our fundamental freedoms and a free Internet in the name of protecting the interests of the entertainment industry. From a democratic perspective, it is essential for all forthcoming negotiations to be transparent and respectful of fundamental rights that we, citizens, play a role in the process."
The group says that members of the European Parliament have decided to once again push for the same kinds of provisions that were rejected last year with ACTA, and have decided to also ignore the calls for transparency while negotiations for this treaty occur.
The group urges citizens in America and Europe to hold their representatives accountable, to be vigilant about what they are doing and to demand the release of draft texts. Americans should probably focus on contacting their elected representatives in the Senate, who are charged with approving any international treaties the country enters into under the U.S. Constitution.