The EU Commission Tries To Defend ACTA And Fails Miserably

from the shocking dept

We’ve already discussed the many, many concerns that people have that ACTA will go against current US law (though, it appears that negotiators have put in enough weasel words that they can pretend it doesn’t until a later date when the laws need to be updated). It seems that something similar is happening in Europe. A bunch of academics had written a letter to the EU Commission earlier this year, pointing out the many, many (sometimes serious) conflicts with EU law and the final draft of ACTA. Recently, the EU Commission responded (pdf). However, as pointed out by Slashdot, an analysis of the response by Ante Wessels shows that The EU Commission appears to lack basic reading skills.

Basically, as with the US analysis, the issue is that ACTA is dreadfully drafted, in such a way that many parts are vague or overly broad. This allows ACTA supporters to claim that there are ways to work around anything that people complain about — but in this case, part of the complaints was that the broadness and vagueness meant that it went beyond current EU law. The EU’s response was more or less to repeat the lie that the broad and vague definitions would mean countries could do their own thing and remain in compliance.

Basically, it looks like ACTA supporters on both sides of the Atlantic are now using this kind of strategy. When people confront you on something specific, point to the vague and broad language and pretend that the specific issues are solved by that. When people point to the problems with broad and vague language, insist that there’s nothing to worry about. What a debacle.

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Comments on “The EU Commission Tries To Defend ACTA And Fails Miserably”

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Anonymous Coward says:

“…though, it appears that negotiators have put in enough weasel words that they can pretend it doesn’t until a later date when the laws need to be updated…”

If this is repeated enough times perhaps some will start to believe it is true.

Those of us, however, who have followed the negotiations and vetted the proposed provisions against the US Copyright Law have arrived at a different conclusion. There as, of course, some who may disagree. Where their claims fall short is they have not as yet articulated specific, current, irreconcileable provisions vis a vis US law. “Maybe” is not “is”. “Might” is not “does”. Etc.

Perhaps there are issues that lurk in the background that have not percolated to the surface, but as of this date no definitive issues have surfaced.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Never heard of the law os unintented consequences, huh?

Okay, imagine this scenario:

ACTA is enabled in the EU. Silvio Berlusconi accuses his opponents in the media market of copyright infringement (Youtube etc.) Berlusconi takes them to court and wins again and again; because of ACTA, Berlusconi doesn’t NEED to re-write laws to win, as he has done in the past.

This is going to happen,whether you’vve accounted for it or not. This is going to make the UK superinjunctions look like 2+2=4.

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

Switch the Employees around

Ok this is an easy fix. Let the TSA management do the ACTA negotiations and let the ACTA negotiators manage the TSA. Job done.

So then you will get a treaty that is detailed and specific and expected to be followed to the letter of the law. On the other side, airport security will take on a more relaxed “we’re watching but nothing’s happened yet, so we’re not that worried” attitude.

Not an Electronic Rodent says:


Reading through the answers there it seem to me to read something like this:

Opinion: These provisions suck – they are overly broad and taking the broad interpretation they violate EU law.

Commission: Ah, but there’s that word “may” in there. We don’t have to do that bit so that’s OK.

Opinion: Yeah, but we’ve seen this stuff before once it’s agreed there will be a major push to make sure the broadest interpretation is used. It’s happened, like, EVERY time something like this is done, so it’s the effect of broadest interpretation that should be considered.

Commission: Well yes… but that’s a political question not a legal one so right now we can politically pretend it’s not going to happen and totally ignore you. Ha ha ha

What a crock.

Anonymous Coward says:

If you care to know what people who’ve thought about ACTA actually think go to and research the comments yourself. Our favorites from this site appear on there (as well as industry types, law professors and others) and, other than Free Software Foundation, none of them believe ACTA is going to do anything to effect U.S. law except in theory (orphan works legislation, psychological pressure on copyright issues). If you’re against the passage of ACTA because you’re an IP minimalist and the passage of anything that potentially enhances IP rights is a problem for you, then there’s nothing to be said (though I say focus on COICA – it’s actually going to do something). If you are a thoughtful citizen who wants sensible IP laws that protect artists and innovators while still preserving a robust public domain, ACTA shouldn’t bother you very much.

Not an Electronic Rodent says:

If you are a thoughtful citizen who wants sensible IP laws that protect artists and innovators while still preserving a robust public domain

I AM a thoughtful citizen who wants sensible IP laws. The IP laws haven’t been within driving distance of sensible for many years and the public domain is steadily being eroded by increasingly lengthy copyright terms that mean fewer things enter the public domain and more and more broad interpretations that allow corporations to gobble up and re-lock up things already in the public domain. I don’t have a problem with someone having a somewhat better chance to be paid for something they did, I do have a problem with someone else who did nothing expecting to still be paid for it 70 years after they are dead.

So yes, anything that has even the chance of stretching an already ludicrous situation further bothers me very much. As does the US politicians using secret backroom deals, bullying and bribery to get their way with other governments and trample over the rights of people in other countries as well as its own in order to protect the corporations that pay them most.

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