633 to 13, EU Parliament votes to make ACTA public, and more sensitive to civil liberties and consumer protection

In a stunning 633 to 13 vote, the EU Parliament voted for a resolution on ACTA that addresses a wide range of criticisms that civil society groups have made of the process and substance.

The KEI statement on the EU vote follows:

“The vote in the European Parliament is a powerful move against secrecy in trade negotiations, and a timely reminder of important substantive concerns about the agreement. The US Congress needs to reflect upon the EU vote, and reassess its hands-off attitude toward the ACTA negotiation. The United States government now stands isolated as the only real barrier to making this negotiation more open. The recent leaks of the ACTA text illustrate how willing the negotiators are to meeting in secret to reshape global norms on intellectual property policy, without providing balance or safeguards for the public or for innovators.” James Love, Director, KEI

Here are some of the news reports and blogs writing about European Parliament vote.:

An unofficial text of the resolution is here.

Just a few highlights follow:

  • Expresses its concern over the lack of a transparent process in the conduct of the ACTA negotiations . . .
  • Calls on the Commission and the Council to grant public and parliamentary access to ACTA negotiation texts and summaries, in accordance with the Treaty and with Regulation 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents;
  • Stresses that, unless Parliament is immediately and fully informed at all stages of the negotiations, it reserves its right to take suitable action, including bringing a case before the Court of Justice in order to safeguard its prerogatives;
  • Deplores the calculated choice of the parties not to negotiate through well-established international bodies, such as WIPO and WTO, which have established frameworks for public information and consultation;
  • Calls on the Commission to conduct an impact assessment of the implementation of ACTA with regard to fundamental rights and data protection, ongoing EU efforts to harmonise IPR enforcement measures, and e-commerce, prior to any EU agreement on a consolidated ACTA treaty text, and to consult with Parliament in a timely manner about the results of the assessment;
  • Considers that in order to respect fundamental rights, such as the right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy, while fully observing the principle of subsidiarity, the proposed agreement should not make it possible for any so-called ‘three-strikes’ procedures to be imposed, in full accordance with Parliament’s decision on Article 1.1b in the (amending) Directive 2009/140/EC calling for the insertion of a new paragraph 3(a) in Article 1 of Directive 2002/21/EC on the matter of the ‘three strikes’ policy; Considers that any agreement must include the stipulation that the closing-off of an individual’s Internet access shall be subject to prior examination by a court;
  • Points out that ACTA provisions, notably measures aimed at strengthening powers for cross-border inspection and seizure of goods, should not affect global access to legitimate, affordable and safe medicinal products – including innovative and generic products – on the pretext of combating counterfeiting;

The 13 MEPs who voted against the ACTA resolution are reportedly from just 2 parties: UKIP and Partij voor de Vrijheid.