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Seminar on ACTA with the MEP David Martin in Edinburgh on 13th April 2012

On 13th April the European Parliament Office in Scotland held the seminar on the highly controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). ACTA is an international treaty aimed at combating Intellectual Property Rights infringements, namely counterfeiting and piracy, by enhancing international cooperation and enforcement.  In 2005, the OECD estimated that international trade in counterfeit/pirated products amounted to USD 200 billion annually, excluding digital products. Critics argue that it will stifle freedom of expression on the internet.  Earlier this year mass demonstrations were held in various European cities to protest against it and 2.5 million people signed a petition to the European Parliament calling for it to be scrapped.

The speakers of the seminar included the MEP David Martin, representatives from the European Commission, the Alliance Against the IP Theft and the Open Rights Group. The speakers and attendees who included journalists, academics and legal practitioners represented their arguments for and against ACTA. Moreover, the seminar was tweeted live with hundreds of tweets joining the discussion.

After the lively discussion at the seminar in Edinburgh, the ACTA rapporteur MEP David Martin told the audience that the aims ACTA is trying to achieve are important for the competitiveness of  the EU in the global market, however the possible consequences of this trade agreement might cause more damage than good. He concluded that "ACTA is a bad treaty and we should vote against it".

The fate of ACTA will finally be decided in the in the European Parliament in July.