What and When?
Immediate Action: The DEVE Committee has now published its first draft opinion (pdf). It contains many factual errors, does not see any problem with ACTA and access to medicines and no contradiction with the EU acquis.
What you can do is call your MEPs (see list below)!
You can also use the arguments we have collected below.
On 1 October, some of the EU’s ACTA “partners” have signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (US, Canada, Singapore, Australia, South Korea, Japan and Morocco). This plurilateral agreement, which is supposed to create an international gold standard on how to deal with counterfeit goods, was secretly negotiated by 39 countries. These negotiations bypassed national parliaments, international organisations and excluded civil society. Its provisions are so vague that it will go against fundamental freedoms and lead to privatised online censorship. It introduces new criminal sanctions that will have major implications for freedom of expression and access to culture, privacy, in addition to harming international trade and stifling innovation.
In February, the European Parliament will be formally given the dossier. It then plans to discuss the dossier with the International Trade Committee as the body in charge, with input from the Industry, Legal Affairs, Civil Liberties and Development Committees. The International Trade Committee will hold a hearing in March and the current plans are that the whole Parliament will vote on the dossier in May.
The European Parliament will soon have to consent or to reject this Agreement in order to conclude the ratification process.Your phone call can help swing this crucial vote. MEPs are being told everything is ok, but if their constituents, especially business owners and professionals, tell them that ACTA is still dangerous then we can Stop ACTA!
Who is Who?
The International Trade Committee (INTA) of the European Parliament is mainly in charge of the dossier. Following the resignation of the MEP in charge of the dossier, it is not currently known who will prepare a report for the INTA.
He will take into account the opinions issued by the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI), the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE), the Industry Committee (ITRE) and the Development Committee (DEVE).
The INTA Committee already held a meeting in November behind closed doors. However, in February, the Parliament will be formally given the dossier.
- International Trade Committee (INTA)
- – Rapporteur: To be decided (again)
- – Shadowrapporteurs in the INTA Committee:
- – Christofer Fjellner (EPP)
- – Niccolò Rinaldi (ALDE)
- – Carl Schlyter (Greens/EFA)
- – Syed Kamall (ECR)
- Legal Affairs (JURI)
- – Opinion: Marielle Gallo (EPP)
- Assistant: Jeanne Nutte
- Development (DEVE)
- – Opinion: Jan Zahradil (ECR)
- Assistant: Anar Kucera
- – Shadowrapporteurs:
- – Michèle Striffler (EPP)
- – Thijs Berman (S+D)
- – Carl Schlyter (Greens/EFA)
- Civil Liberties (LIBE)
- – Opinion: Dimtrios Droutsas (S&D)
- Assistant: Sofia Asteriadi
- Industry (ITRE)
- – Opinion: Amelia Andersdotter (Greens/EFA)
- Assistant: Julien Bencze
What Can I Do?
- Spread the Word
- Contact Members of the European Parliament a) Phone calls
b) Send an Email, a fax or a letter
- Support relevant organisations
1. Spread the Word
You can spread the word via social networks (Twitter, Diaspora, Facebook, Google+ etc.)
or blog about ACTA.
2. Contact Members of the European Parliament
a) Phone calls
You can phone your MEPs…but remember to always stay polite and calm. This is just an example of phone call, to give you an idea. It is not intended to be reused as such. Spontaneity is always better:
YOU: “Hello, I would like to talk to Ms/Mr MEP, please.
Assistant: Mrs/Mr MEP is not available, I am her/his assistant. Can I help you?”
YOU: My name is…, I’m calling from …, and I’m very concerned by the upcoming vote on the ACTA agreement.
Assistant: I see. We had calls before. I have no time.
YOU: But it is very important! The secret negotiations of the Agreement circumvent the democratic process and the European Parliament needs to show its commitment to the protection of EU citizens.
Assistant: Don’t worry. The text is not as bad as you’ve heard, everything will be fine.
YOU: (Use whichever argument of your own or an argument below).
For example: The interests of rights holders are put ahead of free speech, privacy and other fundamental rights. In July this year, a European Parliament study pointed out that “unconditional consent would be an inappropriate response from the European Parliament given the issues that have been identified with ACTA as it stands”.
Assistant: “I’ll tell Mrs/Mr MEP.”
YOU: “Thank you very much for listening to me. I can send you some information per email (see links below) and I’ll call you again shortly to know what he/she thought. Have a good day.”
Members of the INTA Committee
Members of the JURI Committee
Members of the LIBE Committee
Members of the ITRE Committee
Members of the DEVE Committee
b) Letters/E-Mails/Faxes to MEPs
Parliamentarians can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org,
faxed at +32 2 284 9xxx
and written to at European Parliament, Rue Wiertz, B-1047 Brussels, Belgium.
3. Support relevant organisations
There are already several local and European NGOs and citizen groups, such as EDRi, La Quadrature du Net, Digitale Gesellschaft or Bits Of Freedom and many more, fighting against ACTA.
If you do not have time, you can also consider a donation.
Arguments & Background Info
Trade and Innovation
The Agreement has become an Anti-Trade Agreement. The initial purpose was to establish a new international legal framework that countries such as India or China can join on a voluntary basis. However, as a result of the negotiations, China, India and Brazil harshly criticised the Agreement during a WTO meeting in October 2010.
The Agreement is not binding for the USA – the EU’s biggest competitor. This will create problems of legal uncertainty gives the US increased flexibility to breach the Agreement if it wishes that will provide a competitive advantage over the EU.
ACTA could also create unfair barriers to international trade.
As China already proves, informal and non law-based arrangements with Internet providers can easily be used as a non-tariff barrier to trade.
ACTA is also very likely to encourage anti-competitive behaviour. As policing responsibilities are imposed on Internet intermediaries, smaller Internet companies will not have the capacity to implement the policing requirements, which will give a significant advantage to larger competitors.
Free speech and privacy
The interests of rightsholders are put ahead of free speech, privacy, and other fundamental rights.
ACTA pushes Internet providers to carry out surveillance of their networks and disclose the personal information of alleged infringers to rightsholders.
It would therefore place the regulation of free speech in the hands of private companies.
Since the wording of the Agreement is so vague, it can also be easly interpreted in ways which would criminalise large numbers of citizens for trivial offences.
You can find detailed arguments in our booklet on ACTA (pdf)
and in our five one-page briefing documents which briefly summarise the most important issues. European Parliament Study
Reporters Without Borders: Analysis on ACTA and the Access to Medicines
FFII: Analysis on ACTA
La Quadrature du Net: Comprehensive Dossier on ACTA