European Parliament Debates Anti-ACTA Petition
European Parliamentarians are set to debate whether to formally oppose an anticounterfeiting trade agreement (ACTA) being negotiated in secret by the European Commission with trading partners including the U.S., Canada and Japan.
However, civil liberties campaigners think the resolution is too weak and won't have the desired effect.The evening debate Tuesday at a plenary session of the Parliament in Strasbourg will be followed by a vote around midday Wednesday.The resolution mainly attacks the lack of transparency in the ACTA negotiations. It calls on the Commission to grant both the Parliament and the public free access to the draft ACTA texts, and warns that failure to do so would result in legal action against the Commission to the European Court of Justice.The resolution also makes reference to some of the substance of the draft treaty, which was leaked to the press in February, but without an official copy of the draft text, they haven't been able to react to its specific wording.According to the leaks, the U.S. has proposed a chapter of the treaty that focuses largely on copyright enforcement on the Internet. It proposes forcing Internet service providers (ISPs) to take "effective measures" to ensure that their subscribers do not illegally upload or download copyright-protected content such as music or movies.It also suggests that one way to do this would be for countries that sign up to the treaty to adopt policies such as the controversial "three strikes" rule, recently adopted in France, that requires ISPs to sever an illegal file-sharing subscriber's Internet connection after two warnings."It is a very strong resolution that leaves no room for doubt that the European Parliament demands that the Council and the Commission put all papers on the table immediately," said Christian Engstrom, a Swedish MEP from the recently created Pirate Party, which was set up to fight what it describes as the gradual erosion of E.U. citizens' civil liberties.The resolution has been proposed by four MEPs from the mainstream political parties as well as by Engstrom. They are center-right Czech Christian Democrat Zuzana Roithov