August 22, 2011

Some EU documents on the European Parliament study on ACTA released

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The European Parliament Register released three documents on the European Parliament INTA Committee commissioned study on ACTA. The “Terms of Reference” document (pdf), dated 15 November 2010, is the most interesting. We noted weaknesses in the EP INTA study on ACTA earlier.

Regarding access to medicine, we noted that the study assesses ACTA’s impact on the EU’s domestic market, and assesses how well the EU will meet its international obligations on public health. Just meeting our “international obligations on public health” is by far not enough. We leave in place, and reinforce with ACTA, low-volume high-profit strategies. The study does not assess ACTA’s impact on other markets, while that is where most problems occur.

Did the INTA Committee frame the question too narrow? That does not seem to be the case, the “Terms of Reference” document requests: “ACTA and Trade in Medicines. Potential impact of ACTA on trade in medicines with particular regard to issues concern patents and access to medicines for developing and least developed countries. Impact of ACTA on commerce of generic drugs.” The authors of the study themselves took a narrow approach.

Regarding Civil liberties, the “Terms of Reference” document is limited to impact on civil liberties and privacy rights in the EU: “Potential impact of ACTA on civil liberties and privacy rights in the EU. Short presentation of the current situation and changes which may be result from the entry into force of the Agreement. Potential impact on EU and national legislation, if any.” This may explain the study’s shortcomings in this field.

The “Terms of Reference” document requests: “Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods: analysis on the basis of sound statistics” We noted earlier that the study is uncritical of industry numbers on piracy and counterfeiting, uncritical of OECD numbers on piracy and counterfeiting which are based on the industry numbers, lacks to incorporate findings from the Hargreaves report and the Media Piracy in Emerging Economies study. The study did not deliver on sound statistics.

The “Terms of Reference” document requests: “The impact assessment should cover an analysis on the on the mid- and long-term costs of a “Non-ACTA-situation”. Here, specific reference should be made to the TERA study “Building a Digital Economy: The Importance of Saving Jobs in the EU’s Creative Industries”.”

The “Terms of Reference” document does not request an assessment of the effects ACTA may have on green innovation and diffusion of green technology, needed to fight climate change.

As we have pointed out earlier, more and better impact assessments are needed.

order form (pdf)
acceptance (pdf)
Terms of Reference (pdf)