Reply to my email opposing ACTA from Struan Stevenson MEP

Dear _______

Many thanks for your email to Struan Stevenson MEP regarding the

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

As you may be aware, representatives from EU member states have been

signing off the agreement and it will now go back to the European

Parliament for consent within the next few months. ACTA is what is known

as a “mixed agreement”, which means that, certain key elements such as

criminal enforcement of intellectual property rights is a member state

competence and will not decided at the EU level.

We share some concerns being expressed over ACTA and have called,

amongst other things, for the European Commission to be more transparent

and open in its negotiations with other stakeholders. In fact, Struan’s

Conservative Colleague Syed Kamall MEP, is the shadow draftsman for the

ECR on this report and has tabled parliamentary questions asking for

clarity on this issue:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+WQ+E-20

10-0217+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=EN

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+WQ+E-20

10-0726+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=EN

The European Commission has also been asked to confirm that ACTA is

compatible with EU treaties and the European Parliament’s legal services

have been asked whether the European Court of Justice could rule in the

future that adaptations in existing EU legislation would be required if

a plaintiff were to bring a case.

In addition, shadow rapporteur Syed Kamall MEP is about to submit a

parliamentary question in conjunction with a civil society organisation

that aims to clarify whether rumours on “three strike” measures

restricting internet access were proposed by the parties negotiating the

agreement. If this were the case, Mr. Kamall has asked the European

Commission to confirm that disconnecting end-users is not an example of

the type of criminal punishment foreseen by ACTA. Nevertheless, one

should be aware that nothing prevents member states from implementing

their own legislation on the matter (France’s “HADOPI” law being a

notorious example).

We have repeatedly been assured by the European Commission that ACTA is

not about checking or monitoring personal laptops at airports and

censoring websites, yet was drafted in response to rights-holders,

including authors and clothing labels, who feel that their business is

damaged by international large-scale counterfeiting.

As the EU’s 2020 Strategy underlines, the protection of IPR is a key

driver in areas such as research, innovation and employment. In order

for it to be more effective in the fight against counterfeiting – which

is a worldwide phenomenon – the European Commission believes that

stronger international cooperation among the major world players is

needed.

Despite several attempts to achieve a multilateral agreement (which was

the European Commission’s main goal), it could not be pursued because of

resistance and opposition from some countries, so an agreement between

those that did want to go ahead seemed to be the best way of addressing

specific concerns at an international level. Please bear in mind that

those who decided not to be part of the initial negotiations are free to

join at a later date.

Overall, we still have some concerns over ACTA, specifically with

relation to privacy issues, and will continue to seek answers that

address them before deciding upon a final position when this is sent

back to the European Parliament.

I hope you find this information useful and thank you again for your

email.

Best wishes,

Catriona

Catriona Meehan

Office of Struan Stevenson MEP

President of the Iraq Delegation

Senior Vice-President of the Fisheries Committee

European Parliament

Brussels

Tel.: +32 2 2833544

Fax.: +32 2 2849710

email: struan.stevenson@europarl.europa.eu

www.struanstevenson.com

www.youtube.com/StruanStevenson

My reply to that:

Dear Catriona

After carefully reading your email and some research here I still am under the impression that the MEPs of this country have still not realised how serious this is! I am a Greek national myself, here only for a few more years but I still want the best for this country for at least as long as I am here. Scotland has been a home to me when my own country can simply not offer me one and that is something I really appreciate.

You say there have only been “some” concerns when really there have been a lot of concerns and many riots and protests opposing it by those who really know what ACTA is about. The citizens of Europe remain upset about and vigilant against this treaty, with protests against ACTA being held in over 100 European cities earlier in June, following up on similar earlier protests that were equally Europe-wide. MEPs across Europe should not be asking questions, they should be opposing it strongly if representing their people is what they do! ACTA is fundamentally flawed at what it’s claiming it’s trying to do. But it’s especially good at setting the foundations for an Orwellian society at a time when even switched off mobiles can be used to spy on people.

A parable I once read comes in mind when two friends are walking up a rivers’ banks when suddenly babies come floating down the river. One friend jumps in to try and save them one by one, whereas the other one will walk up the river, find the person who throws them in the river and stop him! Who do you think will save the most babies? ACTA does nothing to stop the producers of counterfeit goods but waits to arrest the people who have bought them, often unbeknown to them that these are indeed counterfeit goods.

In the following paragraph

“We have repeatedly been assured by the European Commission that ACTA is

not about checking or monitoring personal laptops at airports and

censoring websites, yet was drafted in response to rights-holders,

including authors and clothing labels, who feel that their business is

damaged by international large-scale counterfeiting. ” I will once again say that if those business models are flawed that is their problem and should change them! Counterfeiting can be solved at a state level by systematic policing, not by infringing on our rights! Why should billions of people have to pay the price because a few thousands feel they could be making bigger profit?

As for International Trade, you are no doubt aware of the assessment report here where it’s clear in numbers that Europe does not gain from stronger copyright or patent protections; the EU27 is already at a net loss of 25 billion USD per year through these exclusive right constructs. Europe gains from weaker protection,  not stronger: it cannot possibly be a policy goal by itself for Europe to increase the international trade deficit.

Respectfully

_______ ________

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