European Parliament Official In Charge Of ACTA Quits, And Denounces The 'Masquerade' Behind ACTA

from the wow dept

This is interesting. Kader Arif, the “rapporteur” for ACTA, has quit that role in disgust over the process behind getting the EU to sign onto ACTA. A rapporteur is a person “appointed by a deliberative body to investigate an issue.” However, it appears his investigation of ACTA didn’t make him very pleased:

I want to denounce in the strongest possible manner the entire process that led to the signature of this agreement: no inclusion of civil society organisations, a lack of transparency from the start of the negotiations, repeated postponing of the signature of the text without an explanation being ever given, exclusion of the EU Parliament’s demands that were expressed on several occasions in our assembly.

As rapporteur of this text, I have faced never-before-seen manoeuvres from the right wing of this Parliament to impose a rushed calendar before public opinion could be alerted, thus depriving the Parliament of its right to expression and of the tools at its disposal to convey citizens’ legitimate demands.”

Everyone knows the ACTA agreement is problematic, whether it is its impact on civil liberties, the way it makes Internet access providers liable, its consequences on generic drugs manufacturing, or how little protection it gives to our geographical indications.

This agreement might have major consequences on citizens’ lives, and still, everything is being done to prevent the European Parliament from having its say in this matter. That is why today, as I release this report for which I was in charge, I want to send a strong signal and alert the public opinion about this unacceptable situation. I will not take part in this masquerade.

Pretty rare to find such direct honesty in political circles. That’s quite a direct and clear condemnation of the entire process. In terms of process, it will be interesting to see if this has an impact. While the EU did sign on to ACTA today, it still needs to be ratified by the European Parliament (more on that in a little while). Having Arif quit makes a pretty big statement, and hopefully makes it easier for Parliament Members to speak out loudly against ACTA… Still, this is an uphill battle. The supporters of ACTA have been working to get ACTA approved for years. To them, this is basically a done deal.

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Comments on “European Parliament Official In Charge Of ACTA Quits, And Denounces The 'Masquerade' Behind ACTA”

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DannyB (profile) says:

Daring to speak out

Anyone who dares to speak out against this obviously supports piracy.

When the public protests in person, it is blackmail.

When the public protests over the internet, it is nothing more than pirate Google and pirate Mike against all things copyright that we hold dear.

Can I have some campaign contributions now please?

Polina says:

Re: Daring to speak out

read what acta is about. if this passes the gouvernment will be allowed to watch your every step on the net. your porn sites, your youtube comedy clips you watch, the personal chats you have with your girlfriends, EVERYTHING. and as soon as they see a little mistake they will hand you right over to the police. do you really want that and think that it’s all just about online privacy??

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Daring to speak out

Uh… sorry Polina, they already do that. Got that power with Patriot Act I & II.

Heh. They didn’t even wait for the Patriot ACT. The Patriot Act went into effect on February 1, 2002. It was October 2001 when President Bush issued the secret presidential order authorizing the NSA to conduct surveillance activities inside of the United States.

EFF’s NSA Spying FAQ
Patroit Act – Wikipedia

Vaughan says:

Re: Daring to speak out

DannyB who are you? a member of MPAA? lol or just some kid who does nothing but watch propoganda on TV all day without knowing nothing.

did you actually read the above article?

this act is not just about movies or music. this will affect many different organisations & all walks of life.

it will literally prevent pharmaceutical companies from making generic drugs. in other words, you’ll have to go buy Nurofen+ instead of Ibuprofen, paracetamol, aspirin & so on at a much higher cost.

it strips away everyones right to privacy & freedom.

customs officers will be able to confiscate your iphones or Ipads at airports & border crossings if they contain music that you can’t prove was downloaded legally.

it’ll literally see the end of FREE software such as Media players (Winamp, VLC player) etc because those softwares will not be allowed to play DRM imprinted media, which reduces choice & then forces you to have to pay for those players in order to listen to your music.

it gives the Movie industry powers to literally have you arrested & extradited without even having a trial (they are doing this already in some countries such as the UK)

it can also affect you going into your favourite Game store & buying 2nd hand games or selling those old games you have because they say it’s not right & it costs them millions in lost revenue.

this act is a joke, it’s only going to get worse.. prepare for riots!!! because we the people of this planet have had enough of Corporatism. we the people of this planet have had enough of corrupt governments that pretend to be democratic, but then take bribes & hold secret meetings with no accountability or transparency. We the people of this planet, Demand our planet back!!!!

alex says:

Re: Daring to speak out

romanian parliament voted this ACTA this aswell so we plan on getting a big protest done on the streets ( including persons from aged 16 to 40 ) , we estimate we can get more than 50000 out there for our rights on privacy

i dont need any company to know how much money i have on my bank or what i m talking to on my instant messenger

this is insame what they re trying to do , take control of all europe with their stupid laws.i think everyone will quit internet services for an undeterminted period of time and we ll be using internet caffes .

Sam says:

Re: Daring to speak out

It doesn’t mean that at all. the people who speak out against these stupid laws speak out because they realize the laws won’t solve anything and cause huge problems for the entire world.
It really has nothing to do with piracy. Its all to do with or rights as humans and our fight against corporate power.

John says:

Re: Daring to speak out

Piracy isn’t the only matter involved. You can’t hold an ISP responsible for what their customers place online. They can’t possibly police every single file they upload. Neither is there anyway to stop them while uploading/downloading a file. It is impossible to detect what file it is they’re uploading/downloading and automatically stop them. They would have to blacklist websites such as YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, and even image hosting websites. Why? Because people upload copyrighted material there too. People have been arrested and fined just for posting song lyrics onto their website. Do you really want this? Do you really want to be blocked from websites you enjoy? Also have you noticed that a man who raped, murdered, and burned a woman got 20 years behind bars while the owner of MegaUpload got 50 years? Stopping piracy is a good thing indeed, but there has to be another way around it.

Patrick says:

Re: Daring to speak out

Really, anyone who speaks out against ACTA supports piracy? Have you even looked through the surface of the bill?

Like any other ‘named’ bill (I’m from the USA, so we see a lot of these, SOPA/PIPA being VERY recent examples) if you speak out against them, you are instantly deemed the ‘bad guy’ but once someone reads into the bill, they think whoever decided to write the bill is utter garbage. ACTA, much like SOPA/PIPA means well, but isn’t the right solution. A simple way of putting it, the solution requires a scalpel, while ACTA (as well as SOPA/PIPA) are tactical nuclear devices. They are EXTREMELY broad (requiring only allegations, not actual proof) to enforce. Before you blindly side with this bill, you should read into it.

colten m says:

Re: Daring to speak out

Your obviously a dipshit. Besides piracy affects few people. Most pirates end up getting it latter. And only Internet piracy is frowned on where as many others which could be considered just as bad are completely acceptable. Like your friend buys a song you borrow it and put it on your computer. Or as some may say share it. It works the same way for piracy. Someone buys it adds it to he Internet and their “friends” “borrow, share, give etc.” It to them. Only difference is that’s veiwed as bad for whatever reason. Your saying piracy is bad but have you ever borrowed or burnt a friends Dvd? Or have you ever gotten music off of a friends itunes? Same thing as piracy right there so stop bitching.

Joe says:

Re: Daring to speak out

You sir obviously have no idea of the implication of ACTA. No one in their right mind supports piracy and copyright infringement but this policy, ACTA, would severely and negatively impact many people and businesses. Have you also though that the industries this policy will curtail bring more to any economy than the entertainment industries so eager to get this bill passed? No, of course not, you are as blind or power hungry as many of the hard core ACTA supporters.

Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:

Re: Good people?

He’s a French Pol. So I wouldn’t exactly call him an honest bloke.

Kader Arif, is a French politician and Member of the European Parliament for the south-west of France. He is a member of the Socialist Party, which is part of the Party of European Socialists, and sits on the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade.

Might not be all bad, but not an honest bloke.

Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Good people?

WTF is wrong with you? Where in my comment did I mention race or socialism in reference to him being honest or not. He’s a politician. (Pol is short for politician)

You say “I’m neither French not Socialist, but neither am I racist or inclined to buy into offensive stereotypes.” and neither do I. So how the hell could you or any sane mind read something racist in to my comment?

You have issues and you need to deal with them. But don’t accuse me of something your militant mind can dream up.

Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Good people?

I must say that as many times as I’ve heard people call politicians dishonest I’ve almost never heard people qualify that they were French (or other nationality) or socialist (or other party) unless that was relevant. You’ll have to forgive people for thinking that it means something when you say something very, very rarely said. Sometimes a heuristic with a 99% success rate gets it wrong.

Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Good people?

Fine agreed. It was qualified because this is primarily a USA tech blog and he is a European Politician. But I don’t get how that assumption came about.

Of all the stereotypes related to French people none that I am aware of are that the French are dishonest. So how do you relate the two or filter it for the French part when the more obvious stereotypical relationship with dishonest is with politicians.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Good people?

You started off with saying that he was a “French pol.”
By shortening the word politician you implied emphasize the word “French”.

And also raising awareness to him being a member of a socialist party (knowing how a lot of Americans take a dim view on socialism), makes you seem to call out all French socialists as being dishonest.

Disclaimer: I’m Dutch, living in The Netherlands, and I believe in socialism. (compared to the Democrats in the US, I’d be considered extreme-leftist, whereas here, I’m more towards the center, but still left of the center.)

Anonoutside (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Good people?

Lest not we all pass by the obvious. Liberty is a french word, somewhere, deep down a french man remembered what his country once did to the tyrants who forced their hand and crushed liberty. I personally commend the guy, regardless of any past treasonous activity… maybe he will continue to stand up and spark a wave of European politicians making an impact for good instead of ill.

As an american says:

Re: Re: Re: Good people?

As an american, I dont appreciate the way that a large percentage of the world generalized all of us as being hatemongering violence-loving moneygrubbers. But I understand that those people are just ignorant and probably don’t know any better.

I could get even more in depth. As part-Cherokee, I dont appreciate the way people think of native americans as wild savages.

As part Irish, I dont appreciate the way people think Ireland is just full of drunk people.

As part Scottish, I dont appreciate the way that Scotland is construed as a sheep-loving nation.

My point is, don’t get all jumped up because people make jokes about things you might find offensive. Take gandhi’s method of thinking and just take the abuse. They will eventually realize that nobody appreciates it.

Nick Lenom says:

Re: Re: Good people?

@skeptical Cynic,
Your comment is racist and stupid. To label the french as dishonest people is totally inapropriate. Maybe you should educate yourself and grow up because it’s never too late whatever is your age .
Also for your own information , Kader Arif is an Algerian and if you want to know more of him, go to this link

Anonymous Coward says:

No inclusion of civil society organisations … lack of transparency from the start of the negotiations … exclusion of the EU Parliament’s demands … rushed calendar before public opinion could be alerted … impact on civil liberties … makes Internet access providers liable … consequences on generic drugs manufacturing, or how little protection it gives…

Deja Vu all over again.

aubreyfarmer says:

Re: Re:

The International Jewish Banking monopoly is making its move. Three step plan to success. Control a nations currency, then bribe the politicians, then oppress the people of that nation through debt slavery. The internet is the last bastion of free speech. For them to win, the internet must be managed the same way main stream media is managed. Nothing gets through the censors except propaganda. 110). “The influence of the Jews may be traced in the last outbreak of the destructive principle in Europe. An insurrection takes place against tradition and aristocracy, against religion and property. Destruction of the Semitic principle, extirpation of the Jewish religion, whether in the Mosaic or the Christian form, the natural equality of man and the abrogation of property, are proclaimed by the secret societies who form proviso governments, and men of the Jewish race are found at the head of every one of them. The people of God cooperate with atheists; themost skillful accumulators of property ally themselves with Communists; the peculiar and chosen race touch the hand of all the scum and low caste of Europe! And all this because they wish to destroy that
ungrateful Christendom they can no longer endure.” (Disraeli,
Life of Lord Bentinick pp. 49798)

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Hope this is a sign

As much as I’d like to think he wasn’t bought, I can’t help but think that maybe it’s just that his price wasn’t met? With everything that has been happening in this rapidly increasing downward spiral that has been the last decade in global politics, I just can’t help but think none of them can be trusted.


Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Hope this is a sign

I don’t say this in a cynical manner. Every politician is “bought” in one way or another. That is not always a bad thing. You don’t get elected to any major office with being helped. Some more than others. Even if the “bought” is only some group rallying around you. You still are bought to some extent.

I am glad he came out in the public manner he did and proud of him for doing so in a manner that will more than likely cause him some harm but offer more for the greater good.

That being said he did not do this just for the public good.

Anonymous Coward says:

If he had done this a few months sooner then maybe he could have stopped it, but now it’s probably too late.

Coming out against it now just means no one supporting ACTA will give him a 6 figure job for doing their bidding while he worked for the government, and perhaps let him make some money in a tell all book condemning just about everyone he worked with on ACTA (similar to the only FDA head in a few decades to not take a 6+ figure salary boost when leaving the FDA, I forget his name, which shows how successful he was at fighting the usual corruption in the agency).

Loki says:

Re: Re:

If he had done this a few months sooner then maybe he could have stopped it, but now it’s probably too late.

If he had done this a few months sooner, there wasn’t as much attention on it now. Coming on the heels of serious protests in Poland when a lot more eyeballs are looking at the issue, is likely to have a much larger impact than when most people weren’t even aware the bill existed.

Hell, the President signed this in September and people in this country are just now becoming aware of it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Yet another supporter of freedom resigns, meaning the position is now free to go to another corporate puppet. I hate how short-sighted and self-serving people like this are. If he had some actual balls, he’d stay in his position and come out against it there while doing everything he could to stop or hinder it from within the system. Now he’s abandoned everything.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

did you miss the part where he’s french?


actually, it’s probably not unlike what happens to people in the NZ cheif censor’s position: anyone with the moral capability to do the job correctly has no desire to and burns out pretty quickly if they do. when someone lasts too long in that job you start wondering about them somewhat.

(while they do filter for other things, the Vast majority of their job is going through movies and TV shows and the like, filtering for child pornography. they have underlings who’s job it is to check things and assign ratings and the like, but the person with that job has to watch all the disturbing crap and be the one to decide if it’s bad enough to outright forbid or not. that means dealing with a lot of really sick stuff.)

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Smoke & Mirrors

I doubt they're as ignorant as we'd like them to be.
No point wasting my own word explaining, so here's a nice movie reference:

Mr. Goodkat: The reason I’m in town, in case you’re wondering, is because of a Kansas City Shuffle.
Nick: What’s a Kansas City Shuffle?
Mr. Goodkat: A Kansas City Shuffle is when everybody looks right, you go left.
Nick: Never heard of it.
Mr. Goodkat: It’s not something people hear about. Falls on deaf ears mostly. This particular one has been over twenty years in the making.
Nick: Twenty years, huh?
Mr. Goodkat: No small matter. Requires a lot of planning. Involves a lot of people. People connected only by the slightest of events. Like whispers in the night, in that place that never forgets, even when those people do.

Violated (profile) says:


This one makes me laugh when I was reading this statement earlier but dismissed it as minor. This was because I thought “rapporteur” meant “reporter” and so assumed that this was just some journalist trying to make his own story.

So now “rapporteur” becomes my word of the day.

Well it is nice of him to quit over our civil liberties. ACTA being brought into Europe disguised as a fish was concerning enough. Public protest is turning against ACTA and we are right to be concerned about this trade agreement.

Right here is one good reason why the Tech Industry would help fund us to sum of millions of dollars to fight back against such bills and agreements when they do indeed want to make ISPs and websites liable for what their users do.

We do need a massive fight back to stop such stupidity and to protect public rights and a free, fair and open Internet.

Fight them on every level and at every place they are.

Anonymous Coward says:

what with Kader Arif resigning over ACTA and Viviane Reding saying that internet blocks etc are not ‘the EU way’ when she knows it already happens seems to indicate that there isn’t any difference between the politicians in the EU and the US. they are all as clueless as each other and all of the opinion that they can do exactly as their paymasters want without any repercussions from the public. about time that was proven more vehemently to be a fallacy on their part!

Pedro, Lisbon, Portugal says:

I must say that here, in Portugal, no one is debating this with no one. Only me and a few other (a very low number) people which has been telling other people about this problem and only just recently had opened their eyes for this thing after what happened across the atlantic (PIPA/SOPA). They thought this wouldn’t get signed but despite my ‘warnings’, it did. Now some people on a certain forum i frequent are pissed and don’t know what to do. Some political parties here don’t even know about this or don’t care since they have been too busy dealing with the economical crisis around here and neglected this thing, specially those that are in the government. I can only think about some portuguese people reading this writing to certain parties here and/or movements to alert them to the huge problem this is going to be. We can still fight this but now the battle has become way too hard, but not impossible. Look at the protests in Poland. Here? Meh, people won’t do this that easily. Something has to be done, NOW!!!

Remus says:


The problematic thing about this ACTA is that it is disguised as a trade agreement, which means that it doesn’t have to pass through congress and there’s not much that can stop it.

Compared to taking down SOPA and PIPA, I think half of the effort was due to the fact that congressmen were afraid to be the ones backing that down, knowing that nobody would ever vote for them. ACTA is different because there’s nobody to rely on to take it down.

We have a tough fight on our hands.

JR (profile) says:

US has not signed ACTA

Only the Senate has the power to approve treaties. Obummer signed it as an Executive order. That is not binding and is an impeachable offence. He has not kept any control over he Executive branch leading to frequent violations of the 1st , 4th and 5th amendments by the DOJ, ICE and the intelligence community. He also has negotiated a new treaty TPP in secret.

booboo says:


Christ , don’t these f+++king guys ever stop`! ? They are determined to force their will on the rest of the world via a barrage of these bills , SOPA / PIPA / ACTA they are all the bastard offspring of some twisted minds who think they have a god given right to rule the world on their own terms.
Fight them, theres so much at stake.

Yuri says:


Obviously ACTA is stupid. They are trying to catch air with their bare hands. Piracy isn’t a theft in any form. It helped a lot of music bands to get their popularity across the world. Arctic Monkeys wouldn’t even exist without the help of public. And when there’s even a masquerade behind this whole procession it makes me even more upset realizing how stupid those people up there are.

Robert Felix (profile) says:

PIPA SOPA_Use as Censor Tool By Special Interests

Could a party who disliked a website’s message, or felt it a threat to their ‘business’ interests shut down the site using PIPA or SOPA by falsely claiming infringement of copyright? Given a ‘sharp’ lawyer familiar with the administrative/appeals processes, could this clique keep the website shut down on the basis of copyright violations closed long enough so that its sponsers were bankrupted or the organisation supporting it is weakened or destroyed due to lack of a voice on the Net? If the copyright claim shutting such sites down was later proven to be frudulent or nonexistent, what would be the penalties against the party who used this information in the original SOPA or PIPA complaint? If it is a ‘civil’ penalty;this can be gotten easily around by having an incorporated shell company, in US law a legal person-file the complaint. If later sued and bankrupted, it vanishes into the paperwork universe it came from… In the USA, it is possible to get a copyright by mailing a letter with the material in it to yourself, and storing the postmarked letter away without opening it…If needed, this can be opened later in court and used as evidence of copyright, the postmark has year and date on it. Concerning criminal activities, it would not be that hard to ‘forge’ a postmark-since they are crude rubber stamps. What is to prevent ‘censors’ from using the “false alarm” of a bogus copyright claim of infringement against a website in order to shut it down using PIPA or SOPA to further their special interests-suppression of “heretical” material or perceived threats to a vested financial interest?

Frank Fredenburg says:

End of the internet

You can kiss the internet goodbye. At least the internet as we know it. If your planning to build a one world government that will be a large gulag, make sure you stop any chance of alerting the masses. They control the rest of the media. Now they need to get rid of the free flow of information that the internet supplies.
Expect them to move on gun confiscation soon. They can’t have millions of armed people, armed with hundreds of millions of guns, running around loose.
Maybe people should plan on turning to short wave radios after they shut down the internet. The only way to shut those down is by jamming the signals like the old Soviet Union did. They jammed signals at their border with Europe. I don’t see how they could do that on a national scale. I think the television industry might have something to say about having their transmissions jammed. Short wave transmission might represent a way to continue to get information out after the death of the internet.

Jason says:

Good people?

These are the dumbest of Americans living off large from the socialist social security checks, driving over the socialist highways enjoying the free socialist food stamps but complaining about socialism. These are the pathetic faux news viewers. In America we understand these parasites well and use them as condoms(teaparty, birthers etal) The only time we pay attention to them is the election year. They are almost dead so within a few years they would be gone and well call it good riddance. rotten and forgotten. So don’t get hyped up by their opinions because these parasites are almost out of this world and I mean literally

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