Smoking gun on ACTA Criminal Sanctions

We discovered a smoking gun on the criminal sanctions aspect of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). A declassified document reveals that the Commission made proposals and fundamentally steered the negotiations on criminal sanctions in ACTA for which no corresponding EU harmonisation exists. There is no “Acquis” element on criminal enforcement of intellectual property rights, yet. Criminal sanctions in ACTA were formally negotiated by the Council “Presidency” on behalf of the EU member states. The findings reveal that the European Commission was much stronger involved than it previously admitted.

[National] Delegations proceeded to an exchange of views on the scope to be covered by the proposed criminal provisions. In this respect, the Commission representative indicated that the scope should be extended to include all Intellectual Property Rights enumerated in the Statement by the Commission concerning Article 2 of the Directive 2004/48 EC on the enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights, except for patent rights. ES, IT and PT were also of the view that the scope should be enlarged, in particular to include geographical indications and designs. However, the JHA Counsellors after being reminded of the content of the Directives for the negotiation of ACTA concluded that the scope of the criminal provisions’ chapter should remain unchanged as proposed in the joint Japan-USA proposal as of 12 September 2008.

Anti-Europarlament “forum shopping”

The European Commission made their own proposals for the criminal chapter of ACTA, the document shows. Criminal measures are not harmonised within the EU yet. With the ACTA member states and third nations harmonise them outside the EU. The European Commission conspired with EU member states to reach an agreement with third nations, disloyal to the “ordinary legislative procedure” within the EU framework. The “ordinary legislative procedure” puts the European Parliament representatives in the driving seat, even more so under the new Lisbon Treaty. With the ACTA process Members of Parliament only get the option to refuse their consent after negotiations are completed and the agreement is signed by member states. ACTA measures would prejudice their future EU legislation under the “ordinary legislative procedure”.

So far the Commission publicly said that it was not involved in the negotiations on the ACTA criminal sanctions and refused to answer all related questions.

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15 Responses to Smoking gun on ACTA Criminal Sanctions

  1. Pingback: And more not-so-nice stuff from the ACTA process | Die wunderbare Welt von Isotopp

  2. Kenneth Michaels says:

    This is somewhat off topic, but it does not seem proper that ACTA could become binding on the EU while it is not binding on the USA. As indicated in this web site: http://keionline.org/node/1115 , the Executive Branch of the USA argues that ACTA has no binding effect on its laws. As pointed out by an American legal scholar, the USA will not be bound under its laws because the USA Congress will not be ratifying ACTA. See this link: kdvncm.blogspot.com (with a citation to a legal article)

    Why is the EU putting itself in a position whereby it is binding itself but its major partner is not binding itself? It would be great if you could look into this, as I think that it should be discussed among the EU citizens.

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  14. awbMaven says:

    This seems strange and seems to read like the EU does not like business being conducted over the internet:

    “5. Raising awareness and communication
    5.1. Develop awareness-raising activities:
    ..
    — combat sales via the Internet by stressing the risk connected with Internet sales.”

    EU Customs Action Plan to combat IPR infringements for the years 2009 to 2012
    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2009:071:0001:0007:EN:PDF

  15. CensorRED says:

    “…the most efficacious way to control Internet content is through regulation of the ISPs or the principal access points for the Internet. To the extent the codes of conduct are memorialized in an ISP’s terms of service, they become contractual undertakings, enforceable as a matter of law. In this way, the law does assume a role. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) based in the United States, as private actors, are not bound by the First Amendment” —-a cohort of Mira LANSKY Boland—-2004