In the early part of 2012 citizens of the world – particularly in Europe – took to the streets to protest, signed petitions, and gave politicians and bureaucrats an earful of disdain over the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). All of those efforts paid off, with members of the European Parliament inevitably voting against it.
It's a sore subject for Karel de Gucht, the EU Commissioner responsible for negotiating ACTA and other dubious treaties such as TAFTA and TTIP. When asked recently if there were any plans to resurrect the treaty, Karel de Gucht seemed to say (according to this TechDirt report) that the treaty was officially and forever dead:
"ACTA, one of the nails in my coffin. I'm not going to reopen that discussion. Really, I mean, I am not a masochist. I'm not planning to do that.
If the Commission advances new basic legislation, which I think she should, we will revisit the question, but I'm not going to do this by the back door."
But many of the worst provisions in ACTA just won't go away and continue to find themselves worded into new international trade treaties. For example, in Article 11.44, paragraph 2 of a new free trade treaty between the European Union and Singapore, there's this little nugget:
"In determining the amount of damages for infringement of intellectual property rights, a Party's judicial authorities shall have the authority to consider, inter alia, any legitimate measure of value the right holder submits, which may include lost profits, the value of the infringed goods or services measured by the market price, or the suggested retail price."
As TechDirt rightly points out, this text seems to have been pulled verbatim from ACTA. They note that several other bits of language from the "dead treaty" are also found in this new treaty.
The fear is that if the language of this treaty – including the provisions and language clearly taken from ACTA – are approved by the European Commission, the Council of Ministers representing the member nations, and the European Parliament, then they could likely be rolled into other treaties about trade currently being negotiated by the EU including CETA and TAFTA/TTIP.
Clearly this is another instance where citizens of those countries negotiating the treaty need to let politicians and bureaucrats know once again that these provisions are still unacceptable and should be rejected…