Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament have today announced that they will reject the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). There is now a majority in the Parliament to vote against the ratification of this plurilateral treaty which was aimed at establishing international standards for intellectual property rights (IPRs). However, the agreement had come under severe criticism for its lack of precision and potential side effects on fundamental rights of individuals.
Fiona Hall MEP, the leader of the Liberal Democrat delegation in the European Parliament, commented:
“We have had a very close look at ACTA because the protection of intellectual property rights is important for our knowledge-based economy and for our consumers who need to be protected from potentially dangerous counterfeit products such as toys, medicines and electronics.
“On balance, however, ACTA falls short on too many fronts. First, it does not include many emerging economies, such as China, which are the main sources for counterfeited goods. Second, according to the European Data Protection Supervisor, ACTA would allow ‘indiscriminate or widespread monitoring’ of internet users without providing sufficient safeguards. This is why Lib Dem MEPs have decided to pull the plug on ACTA”
“The Commission must now take this forward sector by sector, looking at different types of IPR infringements and negotiating separate agreements that at the same time protect civil liberties and fundamental freedoms.”