Brussels, April 8th 2010 – An ACTA Oversight Committee will undermine the European Parliament’s power in intellectual property rights enforcement, according to the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII). A recently leaked Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) document shows negotiating parties want to create an “Oversight Committee”, which is planned to supervise the implementation and consider the further development of ACTA. It may also address “disputes that may arise regarding the interpretation or application” of ACTA.
“The EU and the ACTA member states will be bound by the decisions the Oversight Committee makes. A small group of specialists will be given the power to dictate the world’s IP enforcement policy. There will be no room left for the European Parliament to make constructive policy changes.”, says FFII analyst Ante Wessels.
Behind closed doors, the EU, U.S., Japan and other governments are negotiating ACTA. ACTA will contain new international norms for the enforcement of copyrights, trade mark rights, patents and other so called intellectual property rights. No drafts are published. Based on leaked documents, public interest organisations are concerned ACTA may limit access to medicines, limit access to technology needed to fight climate change, and introduce a “three strikes and out” policy for internet disconnection. The FFII fears that ACTA will treat software developers who are accidentally infringing patents with punitive measures designed for hard-core counterfeiters.
The Oversight Committee will either include representation from all ACTA countries or from only some countries. Public interest organisation Knowledge Ecology International reported earlier that the US Trade Representative has told members of US Congress it is their intention to marginalize the participation by consumer interest organizations in the new forum.
Ante Wessels: “Dedicated organisations tend to become champions of their speciality. Strong external checks and balances are needed to counter that. With ACTA, we rather seem to witness a deliberate attempt to create a captive in-crowd.”
Negotiations on ACTA will continue next week in Wellington, New Zealand, from April 12-16, 2010.
KEI reports on ACTA Oversight Committee:
FFII ACTA page:
FFII ACTA analysis:
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The FFII is a not-for-profit association, dedicated to the development of information goods for the public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, and open standards. More than 1,000 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights in data processing.