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Press release

Anti-counterfeiting agreement: Parliament must be fully informed

External/international trade - 10-03-2010 - 15:02
Plenary sessions
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While supporting efforts to protect intellectual property rights through an international anti-counterfeiting agreement, MEPs insist that the European Parliament must be kept abreast of the negotiations and that data protection and privacy rights of citizens must be safeguarded. They would also rule out the introduction of a "three strikes" internet disconnection as a penalty for three online copyright infringements.

The Commission and the Council should grant public and parliamentary access to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiation texts and MEPs should be fully informed in good time about their initiatives, says an EP resolution adopted on Wednesday by 633 votes in favour, 13 against, and 16 abstentions. Otherwise, Parliament "reserves its right to take suitable action, including bringing a case before the Court of Justice in order to safeguard its prerogatives"
Parliament called on the Commission to continue the negotiations on ACTA and limit them to the existing European intellectual property rights enforcement system against counterfeiting".
ACTA would be a new multilateral agreement to strengthen the enforcement of intellectual property rights and combat counterfeiting and piracy of goods such as clothing of luxury brands, music, and films. The negotiating parties - the EU and other OECD countries - have jointly agreed on a confidentiality clause to keep negotiations secret.
In its resolution, Parliament voices concern over the lack of transparency in the negotiations, and the fact that no parliamentary approval was sought for the negotiating mandate.
MEPs recall that, since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009, "the Commission has had a legal obligation to inform Parliament immediately and fully at all stages of international negotiations".
ACTA provisions "should not affect global access to legitimate, affordable and safe medicinal products, including innovative and generic products", says the resolution.
No personal search, no "three-strikes"
MEPs also call for an impact assessment to be carried out with regard to fundamental rights and data protection and demand that no personal searches be conducted at EU borders. Parliament also requests "full clarification of any clauses that would allow for warrantless searches and confiscation of information storage devices such as laptops, cell phones and MP3 players by border and customs authorities".
Finally, MEPs want to ensure that the agreement does not make it possible for any ‘three-strikes’ procedures to be imposed.. For example, people should not lose their internet access as penalty for three infringements of online copyright, when downloading music, films or any other intellectual product.
REF.: 20100309IPR70280