Update II: Recordings now on youtube!
Live broadcast finished less than 3 minutes after it started.
Update:There was no live broadcast, no real exchange of views and no real answers to questions. I'd say the meeting was a total failure.
There will be "exchange of views with the Commission" today. I hope there will be time for questions. Here are some prepared.
- Would the Commission agree that Member States' criminal sanctions and penalties relating to "inciting, aiding and abetting" are not harmonised in the area of intellectual property law? Then, if the EU's ACTA delegation is proposing texts essentially identical to what the Parliament voted on in its first reading on IPRED2, would the Commission agree that such activity is legislative in character?
- The legal basis for IPRED2, article 83 TFEU, says: "directives [not trade agreements] may establish minimum rules with regard to the definition of criminal offences and sanctions". What measures are the Commission taking to ensure a proper democratic procedure for IPRED2 will not be circumvented by ACTA?
- If the Commission made a formal agreement with the ACTA negotiating partners with regard to confidentiality, can the Commission confirm that it was authorised to do so by its negotiating mandate? If the Commission made such a formal agreement, will the Commission publish the text of the agreement? If not, why not?
- Will the Commission consider suspending the negotiations until all parties agree to renegotiate the confidentiality agreement put forward by the US delegation (the McCoy Agreement)?
- The Commission is legally obliged to inform the EP at the same level as Council and take its positions in due account at all stages of the negotiations. The existence of document 6437/10 with the title "ACTA negotiations - EU counterproposal - possible flexibility", dated 15 February is indicated on the Council's website. Has the Parliament been consulted to give its view on this "EU counterproposal"? Has the Parliament been informed about which developments necessitate this call for "flexibility"? Can the Commission provide the specific legal basis that it is using in order to justify the apparent non-application of Article 218 of the Treaty with regard to these ACTA documents.
- Given that ACTA participants have a deadline of 12 March to comment on the US/Japan draft dated 18 Jan 2010, when and how will the Commission get and integrate the comments of the European Parliament on that draft within that deadline? When will the Commission provide the Council with the draft? Can the Commission provide the specific legal basis that it is using in order to justify the apparent non-application of Article 218 of the Treaty with regard to these ACTA documents.
- Will the Commission undertake to fully respect the European Parliament's clearly stated view, expressed in report INI/2008/2133 that ACTA should only concentrate "on IPR enforcement measures and not on substantive IPR issues such as the scope of protection, limitations and exceptions, secondary liability or liability of intermediaries"?
- The Commission has guaranteed that "ACTA should not contain measures restricting end-users’ access to the Internet" in the context of a concern that the Telecoms Package decision would not be upheld. Would the Commission also guarantee compliance with e-commerce directive and say ACTA should not contain measures restricting internet service providers' mere conduit status?
- Does the Commission intend to propose measures to minimize the risk that - particularly in third countries where citizens do not have the protections offered by the telecoms package, ECHR and data protection Directives - ISPs will feel obliged by any new third party liability created by ACTA to implement extra-judicial measures such as "three strikes" policies? On what basis does the Commission believe that a failure to do this would not be in breach of Article 21 of the TEU?
I have not had time to analyse EDPS opinion on ACTA yet, but it raises even more questions regarding both the procedure and the content. This statement is astonishing:
EDPS particularly regrets that he was not consulted by the European Commission on the content of such an agreement.
I think it's time to put this farse to a halt and stop calling a lawmaking process a trade negotiation.
Please have a look at EDRi's FAQ too.
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