European Parliament ACTA Resolution Passes Overwhelmingly, Threatens Possible Court Action

Michael Geist
University of Ottawa
March 10, 2010

The European Parliament today overwhelming approved a resolution on ACTA calling for transparency and raising concerns about substantive elements in the treaty such as the prospect of three strikes and personal border searches.  The final vote was 633 in favour, 13 against, and 16 abstentions.  The final approved text raises further issues:

  • the European Parliament "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"
  • It says "further ACTA negotiations should include a larger number of developing and emerging countries, with a view to reaching a possible multilateral level of negotiation"
  • provides 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"
  • warns 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"

As for next steps, the European Parliament clearly wants action as the resolution also states that it "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."   This marks a major step toward ACTA transparency, highlighting the near-unanimous discomfort with the process and substance of ACTA to date.

(CC) Michael Geist.



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