My Blog: Comments on #INTA #ACTA Workshop (#ACTAws) – the #IPR and Copyright Enforcement Treaty

[oops, I’ve Published a draft, will add to this post later …]

(The workshop can be viewed here or downloaded (1.7 Gb) and played in VLC open source media player here. Thanks to François Revol @mmu_man for those.)

Commissioner for Trade, Kavel De Gucht, made completely transparent that ACTA is an Enforcement Treaty.

It is a Treaty to impose and allow others to choose to impose, in his view and that of ACTA supporters, some much needed enforcement of current laws [acquis] and Treaties (with a couple of ,they say, minor acquis changes) with regards to Intellectual Property Rights and Copyright (IPRC).

De Gucht is a big Dutch man, evidently has a temper, and evidently does not take kindly to having his fundamental views doubted.  I think we can accurately term him an IPRC Fundamentalist.

(He seems to have the “R” “P”, “F” from my term, BRPF, and with the insistence of enforcement, perhaps with the “B” or at the least, a small “b”)

Marietje Schaake ‏MEP (@MarietjeD66),  asked questions of the European Commission in 2010, regarding whether ACTA was an enforcement treaty or trade treaty.

De Gucht drilled home that the final version of ACTA before the INTA committee and European Parliament was, in his view, a very mild version compared to previous drafts and compared to what he and others would like to see. He called ACTA a “modest first step” in IPRC enforcement.

Evidence that ACTA is modest can be gleaned from what is missing from this final version of ACTA, that Parties to ACTA and member states of the EU have been asked to ratify. We have some access to some past drafts of ACTA, and such things as the Three-Strike-Rule did not make it to the final version of ACTA. Also, some of the compulsion in the wording has changed from “shall” to “may“.

I think it is fair to say that ACTA has been watered down and that IPRC Fundamentalists are planning to create less and less “modest” versions of ACTA in the future.

De Gucht drilled home that ACTA will merely be enforcing aqcuis and Treaties are currently in force and that were passed by previous EU institutions.  He said what is illegal now, will stay illegal; and what is legal now, will stay legal – that ACTA does not change any specific legalities. [I disagree with that, mainly on the criminality aspects of ACTA.] I note here that the EP now has much changed duties and responsibilities, post-Lisbon Treaty, and I think with ACTA we are seeing the EP flex its muscles more. I think this is causing (and will continue to cause) friction with the European Commission (EC).

Various speakers made mention of the various current EU acquis that ACTA is meant to enforce, these I have described more in previous posts in February. Many if not all of these acquis are in the process of being modified. I view these modifications and new instruments as additional “steps” and part of the IPRC Fundamentalist ideology of continued harsher terms for IPRC enforcement. De Gucht would (I believe) view them as being modest additional steps.

The European Commission was the main Party negotiating the non-criminalising elements of ACTA. De Gucht was forceful in reminding listeners thatMemberStatesand other Parties negotiated and have responsibility for the criminal elements within ACTA.

De Gucht and other IPRC Fundamentalists welcome the criminalising elements of the treaty, since they view copying IPRC as stealing. In their view, just as one is a thief if one steals an apple, one should also be considered a thief if one downloads a song/film without the IPR holders consent or if one sells/buys counterfeit goods.

…. to be continued

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