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.

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Comments on “ACTA Approval On Hold While EU Commission Asks EU Court Of Justice To Weigh In”

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15 Comments
Jacob Blaustein says:

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.

GMacGuffin says:

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?”

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

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.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

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.

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