Transfer Pricing Associates

Is ACTA Dying?

post Wednesday June 20, 2012


What is ACTA?
ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, is a multinational treaty for to establish international standards for intellectual property rights enforcement. The agreement aims to establish an international legal framework for targeting counterfeit goods, generic medicines and copyright infringement on the online and would create a new governing body outside existing forums, such as the World Trade Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, or the United Nations.

Dead in the water!
ACTA has been negotiated as a “TRIPS-plus” (going beyond the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) standard for the enforcement of IP rights between the European Union member states, the United States and nine additional countries since 2007. After David Martin, reporter for the European Parliament committee on International Trade, the lead committee for ACTA, announced at a hearing last week in Brussels he would recommend a rejection, observers called the highly controversial agreement “dead in the water.”

Rough ride
A non-paper on intellectual property rights protection proposes a “G8 initiative to strengthen enforcement against counterfeiting and piracy, a G8 initiative to support voluntary best practices for securing global supply chains and a G8 initiative to promote pharmaceutical drug safety.” The voluntary cooperation in IPR protection through the G8 suggests that G8 countries are doubtful about the future of ACTA. Despite its rough ride, ACTA is certainly not yet dead.

Violation of freedom of expression and civil rights?
Opponents of ACTA have criticized the act for its adverse effects on fundamental civil and digital rights, including freedom of expression and communication privacy. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) among others, have derided the exclusion of civil society groups, developing countries and the general public from the agreement negotiation process and have described it as policy laundering. Consumers International, the EDRI (European civil rights and privacy NGO’s), the Free Software Foundation, the ASIC (a french trade association for web 2.0 companies) and the Free knowledge Institute together with the EFF states that  "the current draft of ACTA would profoundly restrict the fundamental rights and freedoms of European citizens, most notably the freedom of expression and communication privacy."

The final vote on ACTA in the European Parliament, scheduled for the July plenary session (July 3 – 5), is approaching quickly and will be influenced by the international trade committee's final report.


Image Courtesy of BNR

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