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Archive for the ‘ACTA’ Category

The MEP F. Castex asked about the public access to ACTA preparatory documents. By international standards access to negotiating documents is required for the interpretation of legal documents in Courts (historical / teleological standard method of interpretation):

Parliamentary questions 14 March 2011 E-002345/2011 Question for written answer to the Commission Rule 117 Françoise Castex (S&D)

Access to the preparatory works of the ACTA Treaty

With regard to the response of 15 December 2010 to my written question on ACTA (P‑9179/2010), I would like to make the following observations.

As the Commission has confirmed, the EU has ratified the Vienna Convention on compliance with international treaties and the ACTA agreement will be applied in accordance with this Convention.

Article 32 of the Vienna Convention refers to the ‘Supplementary means of interpretation’ which require access to ‘supplementary means of interpretation, including the preparatory work of the treaty and the circumstances of its conclusion, in order to confirm the meaning …’ if the text ‘leaves the meaning ambiguous or obscure’.

In accordance with the Vienna Convention I would like to know whether Parliament will have access to the preparatory works of the ACTA Treaty while in the process of formulating an opinion and with sufficient time before Parliament gives its opinion on the Treaty?

Parliamentary questions 20 April 2011 (E-002345/2011) Answer given by Mr De Gucht on behalf of the Commission

Following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, precise arrangements were made between the Commission and the Parliament in order to ensure that the Parliament is fully informed, at all stages of trade negotiations, of the evolution of those negotiations, so that at the end, it is able to provide its informed consent to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). In the case of the ACTA negotiations, this included the communication to the Parliament of the different versions of the text which were issued after each negotiating round, as well as reports of the negotiating rounds. Additionally, in the numerous Commission replies to oral and written questions and in its replies to two EP Recommendations and one Declaration, there are detailed considerations and explanations about the negotiations at its different stages. These documents constitute the key preparatory work of the treaty and provide detailed information about the circumstances of its conclusion.

In addition to providing these preparatory documents, the Commission services have provided dedicated briefings to interested Members of the European Parliament on all aspects of the negotiations, after the various negotiating rounds and remain available for any additional clarifications deemed necessary.

Of course Castex had a case here. It is unacceptable that the preparatory documents are still not disclosed.

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Liam Aylward confronts the Trade Commission’s beating around the bush.

Question for written answer E-003581/2012
to the Commission
Rule 117
Liam Aylward (ALDE)
Subject: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
Recently, the Commission referred the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to the European Court of Justice. The Commission took this decision so that it could ask the Court whether ACTA is incompatible – in any way – with the EU’s fundamental rights and freedoms, such as freedom of expression and information, or with data protection and the right to property where intellectual property is concerned.
– As the Commission is aware, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement has been the subject of much public interest. In this regard, can the Commission give an indication of the proposed timeline for the European Court of Justice’s ruling on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement?
– Furthermore, the Commission has previously stated that ACTA is an ‘enforcement treaty’ and that, therefore, current legislation will not need to be amended in order to comply with it. Can the Commission clarify how ACTA will be implemented in the Member States if current legislation is not amended?

Even under the current regime an enforcement directive exists which is implemented in member states laws. True, enforcement laws does not mean substantive law but that is not the issue but a misconception at DG Trade and most probably the insufficiency of the confidential negotiating mandate of the Commission.

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Jedes Jahr findet im Haus der Wirtschaft am 26. April, dem Welttag des Geistigen Eigentums, eine Konferenz von BDI und BMJ statt. Dieses Jahr ist zum Beispiel der Herr Schlegelmilch, dem ACTA zur “Karriereförderung” bei DG Trade in den Schoß gelegt wurde, anwesend. Der neue Mr. ACTA bei Kommissar De Gucht.

Nun ist das sinkende Dossier sicher sehr umstritten (nicht nur von meiner Seite, auch von Leuten, die mehr an der Substanz sich stoßen) und es gibt ja Demonstrationen der Jugend zu ACTA in ganz Europa. Da liegt es nah, dass auch irgendwer eine Demo zu der Konferenz am Welttag anmelden könnte. Ich war auch schon mal bei einer dieser 26 April Konferenzen im Haus der Wirtschaft zu Gast, während draußen Greenpeace und Netzwerk Freies Wissen wirkungsvoll gegen Entwicklungen im Patentrecht demonstrierten. Die kleineren Chargen beim BDI waren ganz panisch und in den Paranoia-Modus versetzt. Die Konferenz hat es nicht beeinträchtigt. Die Medienarbeit schon.

Nun der verspätete Aprilscherz. Dieses Jahr soll es präventiv eine Pro-ACTA Demo beim BDI geben der Musikindustrie. Und dann wurde auch noch ein angeblicher Aushang der Werbeagentur Spreeproduktion auf der Suche nach Studentenkomparsen bekannt. Ich dachte mir: Entweder will da jemand die alle viral versenken oder ein paar Sicherungen sind durchgeknallt. Es passt jedenfalls in die neuere Strategie mehr auf eine aktivistische Kommunikation zu setzen, und Google antagonistisch auszugehen.

Da dürfte es einige geben beim BDI, denen das ACTA Dossier gar nicht so recht ist. Ein Schutzabkommen mit Drittstaaten ohne Maßnahmen gegen Wirtschaftsspionage ist ohnehin Makulatur.

Update: BDI, IFPI und auch die Agentur Spreeproduktion haben sich distanziert. Nach dieser Lesart wollte jemand einen dummen Scherz mit dem BDI, IFPI und Spreeproduktion treiben.

Erklärung:
Seit 24.04. kursiert in Berlin, bei Twitter und Facebook ein Aushang.

spreeproduktion distanziert sich ausdrücklich davon – wir haben diesen Aufruf nicht initiiert!

Des Weiteren weisen wir darauf hin, dass wir die Urheber dieser Aktion ermitteln und rechtliche Schritte gegen sie einleiten werden.

Virale Kreativität ist den Machern nicht abzusprechen.

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So that’s the question from the Commission to the European Court of Justice:

“Is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) compatible with the European Treaties, in particular with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union?”

Too short? You can’t ask another question under Art 218(11) TFEU. Interestingly the EU Commissioner didn’t publish the referral notice.

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EU Commissioner Karel De Gucht asks the European Parliament to delay the vote on ACTA until the European Court of Justice has delivered its opinion. The EU observer quotes him:

ECJ ruling “…an important input to European public and democratic debate,”

What he doesn’t consider is that the IPR lobby is willing to surrender ACTA but not the entire Article 207 TFEU process which is challenged by the ECJ ruling invoked by De Gucht. And finally, the upcoming IPRED+ is more interesting than the dossier which allegedly does not change anything.

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Canadian professor Michael Geist comments on recent developments in Europe:

The European Parliament’s INTA Committee yesterday soundly rejected a proposal to refer the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to the European Court of Justice for review. ACTA critics viewed the proposal as a delay tactic designed with the hope that public opposition to the agreement would subside in the year or two it would take for a court review. The 21-5 vote against the motion means that the INTA committee will conclude its ACTA review later this spring with a full European Parliament vote expected in June or July. The lack of support for ACTA within the European Parliament is now out in the open with multiple parties indicating they will not support the agreement.

Not quite. It rather seems that the conservatives (EPP) are unwilling to accept ACTA as an Europarl elections topic. The substantial questions arises whether a fast burial is beneficial as long as the fundamental treaty questions underlying Article 207 remain unreviewed by the court, and DG Trade continues with more of the same in bilaterals. Certainly the delay tactics would be beneficial to grow and sustain a broader popular movement. I am told the liberals didn’t like a fast burial.

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Infojustice hat sich den Spaß gemacht ACTA und TPP zu vergleichen. Schön tabellarisch, gründlich. Natürlich, gegen TPP sieht ACTA harmlos aus. Weder ACTA noch TPP enthalten übrigens Bestimmungen für gezielte Schüsse.

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Der Handelsausschuss stimmte mit großer Mehrheit (21 zu 5) gegen den Verweis an den EGH und der Plan ist tatsächlich noch im Sommer über ACTA abzustimmen. Für Kommissar Karel de Gucht muss das ein Affront sein.

“We have to bring that discussion back to the rational part. …I would expect all member states to wait the outcome of the procedure before the Court of Justice before they take final decision on their national procedure. This would be only normal.”

Siehe auch die Pressemitteilung von LQDN.

Mir wurde gestern zugetragen, dass nur ein “lobotomiertes Hühnchen” für den Interim-Bericht des Parlaments und den EGH-Verweis zu ACTA sei. Ich bin so eines. Ich finde es auch wichtiger, dass der EGH die Rechtsfragen des Art 207 klärt als ACTA schnell parlamentarisch zu verwerfen.

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Man erinnere sich an das Rechtsgutachten zu ACTA, das zuerst vom Ausschuss veröffentlicht wurde. Merkwürdig war, dass danach mein Antrag auf Dokumentzugang negativ beschieden wurde, mit aberwitzigen Argumente wie der “Störung des Ratifikationsprozesses”, die noch einmal im Zweitantrag bestätigt worden sind. Ich habe damals nicht auf das Dokument von meinem Blog aus verlinkt, weil der Status ungeklärt war. Irgendwie ist dieser Sachverhalt aber auch dem Parlament nicht verborgen geblieben.

Nun erhält auch mein niederländischer Kollege Ante Wessels einen Bescheid vom Vize-Präsidenten Rainer Wieland (CDU), der sich da wohl ein wenig in etwas verstiegen hat. Rainer Wieland behauptet die Veröffentlichung durch den Ausschuss sei illegal gewesen. Der brüskierte JURI-Vorsitzende Klaus-Heiner Lehne (CDU) war da anderer Meinung.

Ante Wessels hat einen exzellenten Bericht zu dem Schreiben von Wieland verfasst. Lesepflicht!

Ich finde es immer wieder spannend wie wackelige Argumente in einer Auseinandersetzung plötzlich mit allen Regeln der Kunst ausgebaut werden. Nun wird aus dem Hut gezogen, dass die Veröffentlichung den Ratifikationsprozess in Drittstaaten stören könnte. Drittstaaten sind Staaten ausserhalb der EU. Dafür gibt es aber überhaupt keine Rechtsgrundlage in der Dokumentzugangsvorschrift EC/1049/2001, es sei denn man möchte wieder auf eine Beeinträchtigung internationaler Beziehungen abheben.

Ich habe keine Ahnung, wieso die Debatte so surreal wird, aber vielleicht ist das ein Streitigkeit in der CDU Fraktion im Europaparlament, die hier ausgetragen wird, oder der eurobegeisterte Abgeordnete Wieland möchte einen Gang zum Gerichtshof erwirken. Oder der Frühling macht uns alle ganz albern.

As to your allegation that the coordinators of the Legal Affairs committee [Klaus Heiner Lehne] had decided to disclose the legal opinion I have to inform you that contrary to your allegations, no decision exists to fully disclose document SJ-661/11 which has been formally adopted by any competent political body of the European Parliament.

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Just got this press release from my colleagues from Quadrature du Net:

ACTA: The EU Parliament Must Face Its Political Responsibility
Brussels, March 26th, 2012 – Today is the beginning of a decisive week for the future of the ACTA procedure in the EU Parliament. Tomorrow, Members of the EU Parliament (MEPs) may decide whether to vote on ACTA in the next few months as originally planned, or to follow the rapporteur David Martin in buying time and defusing the ongoing debate through technocratic manoeuvres. … Whereas the EU Commission has already announced that it will refer ACTA to the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) to assess its compatibility with EU Treaties and fundamental rights in order to buy time, the ACTA rapporteur in the EU Parliament, MEP David Martin (S&D, UK) is pushing the same strategy. He has proposed that the “International Trade” committee (INTA) draft an “interim report” [1] before recommending consent or rejection of ACTA, and that the EU Parliament make its own referral of ACTA to the ECJ (which has already been strongly opposed by his own political group). As La Quadrature explains in a memo [2] sent to MEPs, both initatives must be dismissed. Both the interim report and an ECJ referral are useless, and will only serve to delay the final vote, considering ACTA proponents think the agreement would be rejected, were the Parliament to vote on it in the coming months.

Of course a swift rejection would be more clear cut. What Quadrature overlooks is that while there is a referral to the Court the European Parliament cannot vote on it, Parliament cannot do anything. And when Parliament does not join the case via Article 219(11) TFEU how could it make the Court consider its own issues and prerogatives? I can’t see why a interim report would be harmful as it keeps the debate going and won’t have any effect on a prolongation of the process.

LQDN demonstrates that their voting expectations do not depend upon the ECJ rerferral but their procedural input is quite a bit confusing. I had some strange artefacts in my DSL connection and then found out the ethernet cable between the router and the splitter was broken. You could argue that LQDN add some fog of war and inserted confusion in the process. I just wonder if MEPs would switch to a different cable. If you dismiss the current proposed procedures of the rapporteur David Martin as “delay” tactics what’s the actual alternative for Parliament?

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