[ffii] FFII letter to European Court of Justice on ACTA
ante at ffii.org
Tue Nov 13 11:07:40 CET 2012
[ ACTA / Economy / Innovation ]
FFII letter to European Court of Justice on ACTA
Brussels, 13 November 2012 -- The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)
is not compatible with human rights treaties or the European Treaties,
according to the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII). The
FFII writes this in a letter to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
This spring, the European Commission asked the court its opinion on whether
ACTA is compatible with the European Treaties, in particular with the Charter
of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The European Parliament did not
wait for the court's opinion and rejected ACTA on 4 July 2012 in a 478 to 39
vote with 165 abstentions. The commission did not withdraw its request for an
opinion after the parliament's decision. The commission announced that if the
court finds ACTA compatible with the European Treaties, it may re-propose ACTA
to the parliament.
In its letter to the court the FFII argues that the commission's request is
not admissible, as the parliament already took its decision. In case the court
finds the request admissible, the FFII makes some observations.
The copyright and patent systems need reform, according to the FFII. FFII
analyst Ante Wessels: "There are serious problems concerning access to
medicine and knowledge, and patent trolls have a stronger position than
independent rediscovery inventors. This is detrimental for societies. It is
time to put inventors back in the driver's seat. Current copyright and patent
law interfere disproportionately with citizens' rights to access to knowledge
and with the rights of remix artists, independent rediscovery inventors and
follow-up inventors. By strengthening enforcement, ACTA makes the interference
with these human rights even worse."
The FFII also notes that ACTA puts an impossible task on Internet service
providers. Ante Wessels: "Under the threat of high damages and criminal
measures, Internet service providers will have to protect a copyright system
which disproportionately interferes with human rights. At the same time, they
will have to protect human rights. It is foreseeable that this will go wrong."
ACTA is a multilateral agreement which proposes international standards for
enforcement of copyright, patents and other exclusive rights.
The FFII letter is an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief.
Summary FFII amicus curiae brief on ACTA
The brief argues that ACTA is not compatible with international human rights
instruments, the European Convention on Human Rights, the EU Charter of
Fundamental Rights, or the European Treaties.
The brief notes that citizens' rights are involved in the referral of ACTA to
the EU Court of Justice, but that citizens themselves are not involved. The
referral is about the people, without the people. Therefore the Foundation for
a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) respectfully asks the Court to
consider its observations.
The brief argues that the European Commission's request for an opinion on ACTA
is not admissible. The European Parliament already rejected ACTA.
In case the Court finds the ACTA referral admissible, the brief makes some
observations. The first section refers to opinions finding ACTA not compatible
with fundamental rights and the European Treaties. The section discusses the
main arguments against these opinions and concludes they fail to convince.
The second section explains that ACTA is not necessary, because the
counterfeiting numbers are massively overstated.
The third section explains that ACTA will be ineffective, disregards adverse
effects of fighting counterfeiting, and lacks proper focus in targeting
The fourth section explains that ACTA will make existing problems worse. The
section discusses problems concerning access to medicine; access to affordable
legal music, movies, games, and software problems; the lack of an assessment
of the impact ACTA may have on our ability to fight climate change; the lack
of an impact assessment on the potential effect of ACTA on the availability of
seeds; the need to rethink copyright, patent and enforcement law; and foreign
extraterritorial privatised enforcement that undermines the European
Convention on Human Rights and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
The fifth section explains that the ACTA negotiations lacked openness and
harmed international organizations and developing countries.
The sixth section assesses whether ACTA is compatible with article 15 of the
UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the EU's
extraterritorial obligations, human rights impact assessments, the Guiding
Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the European Treaties.
The brief concludes that ACTA is not compatible with international human
rights instruments, the European Convention on Human Rights, the EU Charter of
Fundamental Rights, or the European Treaties.
FFII letter to the Court of Justice of the European Union, original pdf:
FFII letter to the Court of Justice of the European Union, html export with
FFII ACTA blog:
FFII ACTA analysis:
Permanent link to this press release:
ante (at) ffii.org
+31 6 100 99 063
FFII Office Berlin
Malmöer Str. 6
Fax Service: +49-721-509663769
Email: office (at) ffii.org
The FFII is a not-for-profit association active in twenty European countries,
dedicated to the development of information goods for the public benefit,
based on copyright, free competition, open standards. More than 1000 members,
3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their
voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights (intellectual
property) in data processing.
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