Brussels, 26 January 2012 — Today the European Union and member states signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in Tokyo, Japan. Signing is a first step to enable later ratification of the controversial agreement. The United States already announced they would not ratify it and their legislature would not be bound by it. According to the FFII signing is only the very start of the actual debate in Europe.
“Our representatives in the European Parliament still have to decide whether to consent. Without their consent the agreement is void.”, reminds FFII General Secretary André Rebentisch. “It’s a delicate issue because the European Commission failed to respect the European Parliament’s demands.”
And he adds another issue: “The ECJ should review the legality of the agreement under European law. ACTA raises serious legal concerns. We need clarity.”
In Poland an internet movement sparked and set the Polish government under strong pressure. Under the chosen procedure Poland or any other single EU member state could put legal questions before the European Court of Justice.
Behind closed doors, the European Union, United States, Japan and other trade partners negotiated the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. ACTA is a multilateral agreement which proposes international standards for enforcement of copyright, patents and other exclusive rights. In the coming months, the European Parliament will have to decide whether to give consent to the agreement or not.
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The FFII is a not-for-profit association active in twenty European countries, dedicated to the development of information goods for the public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, open standards. More than 1000 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights (intellectual property) in data processing.