ACTA Approval On Hold While EU Commission Asks EU Court Of Justice To Weigh In

from the this-could-be-interesting dept

It appears that ACTA's main political backers, the EU Commission, have finally realized that they were increasingly in trouble in terms of actually getting ACTA ratified. The EU's main negotiator on ACTA, Karel De Gucht has now said that the Commission is going to ask the EU Court of Justice to weigh in on ACTA:
In recent weeks, the ratification process of ACTA has triggered a Europe-wide debate on ACTA, the freedom of the internet and the importance of protecting Europe’s Intellectual Property for our economies.

But let me be very clear: I share people’s concern for these fundamental freedoms. I welcome that people have voiced their concerns so actively – especially over the freedom of the internet. And I also understand that there is uncertainty on what ACTA will really mean for these key issues at the end of the day.

So I believe that putting ACTA before the European Court of Justice is a needed step. This debate must be based upon facts and not upon the misinformation or rumour that has dominated social media sites and blogs in recent weeks.
This could get interesting. As we've noted in recent weeks, the EU Court of Justice has actually been pretty good lately in expressing concerns about overbroad copyright enforcement.

Of course, other parts of De Gucht's statement are pretty questionable. He talks about how the EU Council "adopted ACTA unanimously" leaving out that they did so by hiding it in an agriculture and fisheries meeting. He talks about how ACTA "will not change anything in the European Union" but is merely about "getting other countries to adopt" stricter laws. However, some EU countries have already noted that they would have to change their laws to comply with ACTA.

Either way, it will be worth following the specifics of exactly what the EU Court of Justice is asked to review and how the process works.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 12:13pm

    Query

    So, maneuver to draw attention away from ACTA, or possible justice in the offing?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 12:16pm

    wonder how long it will take to convince the EU that this has to be adopted, 'for the good of the children'? perhaps the threat of inclusion on the dreaded 301 list will do it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Query

    Either that, or the legacy content industries just got some bought judges high up enough to matter.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Nathan F (profile), Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Query

    I think the EU Commission has seen the writing on the wall and are pushing it off to the Court of Justice to weigh in on it so that when it finally does go down in a flaming wreck they can say "We were trying to protect you! See! We sent it to the EU Court of Justice!"

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 12:35pm

    It is my understanding that the Court does not have the power to provide advisory opinions. If this is true, then the request will likely fall on deaf ears.

     

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  6.  
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    Traveller800 (profile), Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 12:39pm

    Re:

    we can only hope...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 12:43pm

    Re:

    Probably as quick as a bank transfer

     

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  8.  
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    Jacob Blaustein, Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 12:54pm

    Talk about arrogance.

    You said it yourself that De Gucht claims that ACTA won't change any laws while several EU members said, yes it will. Considering how good the courts have been latly on issues such as this, I am expecting them to say that ACTA just won't work. This makes me wonder why they went this route. It's obvious they feel that Acta will pass through the courts and prove all the "missinformation" on the net about ACTA is plain wrong. Considering how adamant the EU Commission has been to deny that there is anything wrong with ACTA, I think it may be a combination of arrogance and being far out-of-touch.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    GMacGuffin (profile), Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 12:57pm

    Smokescreen?

    ...I believe the European Commission has a responsibility to provide our parliamentary representatives and the public at large with the most detailed and accurate information available. So, a referral will allow for Europe’s top court to independently clarify the legality of this agreement.

    My understanding was the problem is not the legality of ACTA, but the potential for abuse and concomitant collateral damage; as well as the subsequent inability of countries to change their own laws afterward.

    If that is the case, then this whole thing is a smoke-screen, so the EU Commission can come back and say, "Hey, the EU Court of Justice says ACTA's perfectly legal? So what's your problem?"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Kenneth Michaels, Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 1:22pm

    Narrow Question asked of Court

    I heard a tweet, from someone who knows more than I, that the question posed to the Court is actually very narrow - one of human rights, etc. The Court could have been asked a broader question than the one actually asked.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Narrow Question asked of Court

    Narrow questions have been known to widen as evidence is presented on this sort of issue. It's happened once or twice at the Supreme Court of Canada where a narrow question was referred to the justices who came to the conclusion that they couldn't answer the narrow question without considering broader questions and implications.

    As someone has noted the Court may not have the juridicition to take on this reference which makes it both moot and political gamesmanship. The latter being all that may get EU member states and the EU parliament left that might get it passed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Jacob Blaustein, Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Re: Narrow Question asked of Court

    So do you think the courts would ask for more information?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Jacob Blaustein, Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 2:31pm

    Re: Smokescreen?

    People will then state that the problem isn't a matter of legality whatsoever of course, and since the Courts can't really advise on the matter will make the whole thing moot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 8:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Narrow Question asked of Court

    If the justices of the EU court behave as the SCOC have a couple of times in the past if the question presented isn't broad enough they may very well as for more information/evidence so that they can answer the question they were given. Once you had these things to a court it's then up to them to seek what they feel they need to answer the question which may not be quite what those who referred it had in mind. Put another way, the court is a free agent in this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 23rd, 2012 @ 7:50am

    I didn't vote for ACTA!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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