Parliamentary questions 17 August 2010 E-6483/2010
Question for written answer to the Commission Rule 117
Sidonia Elżbieta Jędrzejewska (PPE)
The views expressed on the negotiations being conducted by the Commission regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) often stress the high degree of secrecy surrounding the talks. Bearing in mind the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union requiring the European Parliament to be kept informed of any discussions conducted by the Commission in the context of its powers under Title V of that Treaty, and in the light of the written questions previously tabled: 1. Will the Commission initiate a dialogue with the European Parliament on the question of ACTA and, if so, when?
2. Does it consider that the conclusion of an agreement between the EU and ACTA should replace the agreement concluded between the European Union and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) under the WIPO Copyright Treaty adopted in Geneva in 1996?
3. On the basis of the negotiations so far conducted, can it be assumed that under the terms of the agreement with ACTA, Internet access and similar service providers will be required to disclose the identity of users to copyright holders?
4. How will the substance and legal effects of any agreement fit in with European information society policy?
14 October 2010 E-6483/2010 Answer given by Mr De Gucht on behalf of the Commission
1. The Commission regularly keeps Parliament informed on the progress of the negotiations particularly through the Committee on International Trade (INTA). Trade Commissioners, as well as the Trade Director-General, have addressed this issue numerous times in the last three years in regular meetings of the INTA Committee, in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), as well as in Plenary (9 March 2010 and 8 September 2010). In addition, the Commission has provided several dedicated briefings to interested Members of Parliament and their staff on all aspects of the negotiations in the course of 2010, and especially after each negotiating round, to inform Parliament on the latest state of play and to exchange views (the last such meeting was held on 1 September 2010 in Brussels, as was an informal debriefing on the results of the 10th round of ACTA negotiations).
Moreover, the Commission has provided Parliament, through the INTA Committee, with all the relevant negotiating documents in line with the framework Agreement between the Commission and Parliament.
2. ACTA will only address enforcement measures. It will not include provisions modifying substantive Intellectual Property (IP) law, such as the creation of new IP rights or the definition of their duration, scope of protection, registration, etc. Consequently, ACTA will not replace any agreement concluded under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organisation.
3. As stated by the Commissioner responsible for Trade in Plenary on 9 March 2010 and on 8 September 2010, the Commission will ensure that ACTA is in line with the current level of harmonisation of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement. There will be no indirect harmonisation of EU legislation through the ACTA agreement. Therefore, the EU position in the ACTA negotiations will reflect the European acquis in the area of IPR enforcement and any measure which concerns Internet service providers and, inter alia, disclosure. These EU measures are, in particular, Directive 2001/29/EC (Copyright in the Information Society Directive)(1), Directive 2004/48/EC (Enforcement of IPR Directive)(2); the relevant Data Protection Directives (Directive 2002/58/EC on the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector privacy which complements Directive 95/46/EC)(3), the directive on electronic commerce (Directive 2000/31/EC)(4) and, where applicable, the provisions of the regulatory framework for electronic communications (including Directive 2002/21/EC on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services)(5).
4. The Commission is committed to ensuring full compliance of ACTA with, inter alia, the EU measures referred to above and also its policies aimed at supporting the development and the competitiveness of the European Digital Economy. As a result, ACTA will not create obstacles to the emergence and to the provision of Information Society Services in Europe.
(1) Directive 2001/29/EC of Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society, OJ L 167, 22.6.2001.
(2) Directive 2004/48/EC of Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights (OJ L 157, 30.4.2004), OJ L 195, 2.6.2004.
(3) Directive 2002/58/EC of Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications), OJ L 201, 31.7.2002.
(4) Directive 2000/31/EC of Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the internal market (‘Directive on electronic commerce’), OJ L 178, 17.7.2000.
(5) Directive 2002/21/EC of Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services (Framework Directive), OJ L 108, 24.4.2002.