If Europe rejects ACTA, will it actually go away?
Posted in: Government & Policy at 30/06/2012 21:30
On Thursday, the fifth and final European Union Parliamentary committee voted to reject the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). This signifies a major blow to ACTA, but its standing in the EU still comes down to the European Parliament vote scheduled during the first week of July. After this final vote decides the agreement's adoption in Europe, however, the future of ACTA for the rest of the signatory countries unfortunately remains cloudy.
Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is a plurilateral agreement designed to broaden and extend existing intellectual property (IP) enforcement laws to the Internet. While it was only negotiated between a few countries, it has global consequences. First of all, it will create new rules for the Internet, and second, its standards could be applied to other countries through the U.S.'s annual Special 301 process. Negotiated in secret, ACTA bypassed checks and balances of existing international IP norm-setting bodies, without any meaningful input from national parliaments, policymakers, or their citizens. Worse still, the agreement creates a new global institution, an "ACTA Committee", to oversee its implementation and interpretation that will be made up of unelected members with no legal obligation to be transparent in their proceedings. Both in substance and in process, ACTA embodies an outdated top-down, arbitrary approach to government that is out of step with modern notions of participatory democracy.
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