Thank you for your e-mail regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). I share your concerns about this agreement. ACTA is indeed very problematic and bears many risks. I will therefore vote against it in the European Parliament.
Protecting intellectual property is a legitimate goal, but a number of the means chosen by ACTA are disproportionate and harmful. ACTA would make it easier for holders of intellectual property rights to enforce their interests through 'privatised' means while the rights of users would not be safeguarded to the same extent. The agreement would introduce voluntary cooperation between internet providers and holders of intellectual property rights with the risk that users would face sanctions without due process.
ACTA would, for instance, make it possible to block or filter users' access to the internet. Moreover, the industry would be entitled to claim disproportionate damages because these claims would be calculated based on the sales value of all the files exchanged despite the fact that, had these files actually been sold, the numbers would be far lower. Furthermore, ACTA would make it more difficult for developing countries to access generic (i.e. affordable) medications.
Moreover, the way in which ACTA has come about is problematic. It was negotiated in secret talks by a 'coalition of the willing' against the opposition of developing and emerging countries. The negotiating documents are still not publically available and the drafts of the agreement were only made public following massive pressure by the European Parliament.
For all these reasons, the Greens in the European Parliament have fought against ACTA for the last two years. We commissioned two studies examining ACTA's consequences for fundamental rights and access to medicines, which proved the great problems and risks the agreement would entail (see links to the studies below).
After the signing of ACTA, it is now up to the European Parliament to ratify, or not, the agreement. Without Parliament's approval, the agreement cannot enter into force. The decisive vote will take place on July 4th.
My political group, the Greens/EFA, will vote against ACTA. However, it is important to put public pressure in particular on the largest group in the European Parliament, the conservative European People's Party (EPP), which has so far supported ACTA.
You can find more information about ACTA and our opposition to it by following the links at the end of this e-mail.