Regarding the current negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) between the EU and trading partners such as the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea, can the Commission confirm that its negotiating mandate is restricted to measures already covered by the acquis communautaire?
The ACTA initiative aims to establish international standards for enforcing intellectual property rights in order to fight the growing problem of counterfeiting and piracy more efficiently. Elements under discussion obviously include third-party liability provisions related to copyright-infringing material online. These provisions list circumstances in which Internet service providers may not be held liable for illegal content in their networks. However, it is unclear whether the intention is for the ACTA to establish stricter provisions going beyond the specific requirements in the EU eCommerce Directive, for example the ‘mere conduit’ exemption for intermediary service providers. How does the Commission intend to respond to the fact that these measures might go beyond the scope of the eCommerce Directive and the recently agreed Telecoms Package with its special focus on citizens’ rights (the so-called ‘Amendment 138’ issue)?
Furthermore, under the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon, Parliament has gained new competences in the field of trade policy and especially copyright legislation. How does the Commission intend to guarantee a more transparent and democratic negotiation process in this context?