Christian Engström, Pirat

22 mars 2010

EU Commission disregarding the Parliament’s ACTA resolution

Filed under: ACTA,English,informationspolitik — Christian Engström @ 18:37

YouTube clips of the meeting (10 parts)

On March 10 the European Parliament adopted a resolution with an overwhelming majority asking the Commission to limit ACTA negotiations to counterfeiting only. This would mean concentrating on falsified physical goods, which we pirates agree is a real problem that should be combated.

Goods counterfeiting is a bad thing, but it is not the same as for example file-sharing on the Internet, which is a completely different issue.

The wording of the paragraph in question leaves no room for misunderstandings:

”9. Calls on the Commission to continue the negotiations on ACTA and limit them to the existing European IPR enforcement system against counterfeiting;”

But evidently this was not clear enough for the Commission. Today, at a ”stakeholder’s meeting” organized by the Commission on ACTA, the Commission surprisingly claimed that this is not the stance of the Parliament.

Swedish Pirate Johannes Schönning gives a detailed account of the meeting (partly in Swedish, partly in English). Euractiv also reports.

The Head of Unit of DG Trade of the Commission, Luc Devigne, dodged three (3) questions on the issue at the stakeholder meeting, refusing to acknowledge EP’s crystal-clear stance.

After the meeting in a newspaper interview (in Swedish), he went on to claim explicitly that ”The resolution makes statements on both counterfeiting and piracy in the digital world. We consider it to mean Parliament want us to negotiate further on both.”

I think the Commission´s behaviour is an astonishing display of institutional arrogance. It is one thing not to comply with the Parliament, but these kind of claims deliberately misunderstanding the Parliament are utterly ridiculous.

The resolution by the Parliament was as clear as it can be. Can’t they read?


Previous articles on ACTA

Andra skriver om ACTA: Johannes Schönning, Hax, Per Pettersson, Terobi, Terobi, Svensson, Opassande

Andra bloggar om: , , ,

18 kommentarer

  1. Wow, how arrogant the Commission behaves! Might this be related to Erik Josefsson find that the translation to Swedish was incorrect, mixing counterfeiting and digital piracy?


    ”Original engelska:

    9. Calls on the Commission to continue the negotiations on ACTA and
    limit them to the existing European IPR enforcement system against


    9. Uppmanar kommissionen att fortsätta förhandlingarna om ACTA och
    begränsa dem till de befintliga europeiska immaterialrättsliga
    skyddet system mot förfalskning

    EPs översättning till svenska:

    9. Europaparlamentet uppmanar kommissionen att fortsätta med
    Acta-förhandlingarna och begränsa dem till det befintliga europeiska
    systemet för att kontrollera efterlevnaden av bestämmelserna om
    immateriella rättigheter och för att bekämpa varumärkesförfalskning”

    Kommentar av Olofb — 22 mars 2010 @ 18:56

  2. The danish government is no better. In a paper with information to our local parliament before talks about ACTA you can read:

    ”6. Europa-Parlamentets udtalelser. Europa-Parlamentet bliver løbende holdt opdateret om forhandlingerne, og vil blive hørt, når den færdige aftale foreligger.”

    My translation: ”6. Statements of the European Parliament. The European Parliament is kept regularly updated on the negotiations and will be heard when the final agreement exists.”

    The document is dated March 11th. Looks like our government is trying to mislead our local parliament to believe the European Parliament has never stated anything about ACTA. And it is not quite true that the European Parliament is ”kept regularly updated”…

    The paper can be found here:

    Kommentar av Ole Husgaard — 22 mars 2010 @ 19:17

  3. Yeah, but it also goes on to talk about not allowing a 3 strikes law, personal border searches for digital piracy and so on. If the parliament doesn’t want them to negotiate on digital rights issues, how come the resolution gives explicit orders on how to take stance in those questions?
    It’s not a very well written resolution, considering that it should have been expected in advance that the commission would read it as satan reads the bible.

    / Gustaf Josefsson

    Kommentar av Gustaf Josefsson — 22 mars 2010 @ 19:21

  4. This is bullshit! How can they choose to interpret it like that?!

    Kommentar av W — 22 mars 2010 @ 19:33

  5. What would happen if a MEP simply demanded copies of all documentation of the negotiations. Could they refuse, and in that case, what’s the procedure to force them?

    Kommentar av Anders Troberg — 22 mars 2010 @ 20:26

  6. @Olofb: My guess is it’s unrelated. The Swedish version contained multiple translation mistakes, all due to, as people from the Swedish translation unit have put it, temporary changes in administration, leading to all non-binding texts being sent to non-lawyer-linguists. It’s a mistake in quality assurance, no doubt. We still have to bear in mind that the translations are still preliminary (and that they aren’t particularly important anyway).

    @Gustaf Josefsson: I agree with you that it’s not a very well-written resolution. As I see it, you have references to the entirety of the IPR enforcement system in points 8 and 10. Point 9 sets up a limitation to the effect that only trademark counterfeiting should be included. The problem is, why would the more likely interpretation be to disregard point 9? The more correct approach would be for the Commission to strive for exclusions of anything else than counterfeiting, while the provisions concerning e.g. digital copyright (no three strikes etc), would apply should the Commission not get its way in the exclusion issue. It is very unlikely that the EU would successfully be able to limit ACTA to counterfeiting only, considering that there are other parties involved. It therefore becomes necessary to include guidelines as to how the Commission should conduct its negotiations in other parts too. Or at least that’s my reading of it.

    The thing is, a resolution is not legally binding, but the Commission should strive to follow it in order to not risk having the final proposal voted down by the Parliament. Some tactics should apply. Stating that the Commission would work on limiting ACTA to counterfeiting, and be unsuccessful in the end, would still render the Parliament more happy than would to simply choose to ignore point 9.

    Kommentar av Johannes Schönning — 22 mars 2010 @ 20:35

  7. Goods counterfeiting is a bad thing, but it is not the same as for example Internet communication, which is a completely different issue.

    Said in those words, you do not have to explain what is wrong and why it is different, any nincompoop gets that.

    Kommentar av steelneck — 22 mars 2010 @ 23:14

  8. I have to admit that I read the resolution the same way as the Commission seems to do, i.e. that point 9 only stress the need to stay within the acquis and that point 10 highligt how important this is in respect of copyright in the digital environment (10. Urges the Commission to ensure that the enforcement of ACTA provisions – especially those on copyright enforcement procedures in the digital environment – are fully in line with the acquis communautaire ; demands that no personal searches will be conducted at EU borders and requests full clarification of any clauses that would allow for warrantless searches and confiscation of information storage devices such as laptops, cell phones and MP3 players by border and customs authorities;). You should also keep in mind that counterfeiting sometimes is used in respect of all IPR infringements, e.g. in the title ACTA.

    Kommentar av John — 22 mars 2010 @ 23:27

  9. ”The resolution by the Parliament was as clear as it can be. Can’t they read?”(Christian, see above)
    Sure, you might be right. If you want to ”misunderstand” something you must not look any further. There are obvious more posibilities one need:
    1. If both have the same wording, but they have different conzepts e. g.:
    ”Republican” Party
    2. If both have the same wording, but the intellectual capacity has different limits. (I don’t want to be disrespectful. I just look for ”causes” and solutions.)
    3. You were just asked to be polite…

    Kommentar av Idee — 22 mars 2010 @ 23:52

  10. ”Goods counterfeiting is a bad thing”

    Actually, as long as the counterfeit goods is not presented as original, I’m OK with it. I don’t feel cheated if I buy a Ferrari replica built on a Volkswagen chassis or a Breitling copy made in China, as long as the seller is clear about the status of the items.

    What’s needed is a clear ”manifest of origins” on all products, but, as most of the ”originals” are made in the same factories as the copies, I doubt the lobby will accept that…

    Kommentar av Anders Troberg — 23 mars 2010 @ 6:18

  11. Will the parliament take shit like this?

    Kommentar av Add — 23 mars 2010 @ 7:03

  12. Just a quiet wonder.

    For those who missed the webstream from the Commission yesterday,
    Now there’s a chance to see the meeting on Youtube.

    Acta Stakeholder Meeting on Youtube.

    PS: The meeting is organized in 11 clips.

    Kommentar av Jan — 23 mars 2010 @ 13:58

  13. Thanks Jan!
    Did someone know, that the Commission Members did get a handout or something like a transscript or is there a simultanous interpreter for each country the CMember represents? It could be hard to understand for the one or the other Member.

    Kommentar av Idee — 24 mars 2010 @ 0:54

  14. […] nun bald die aktuellen Dokumente gibt. Die Anhörung der Kommission am Montag hat nicht gerade den Eindruck voller Transparenz hinterlassen. abgelegt in: Digital Rights, Digitalkultur, EU, Events, General, […]

    Pingback av ACTA-Text ist raus : — 24 mars 2010 @ 2:48

  15. […] om detta; Christian Engström, Henrik Alexandersson, ACTA-bloggen (MP), Svensson, ACTA […]

    Pingback av Det därmed att lyssna « Andreas Froby – kandidat till kommunfullmäktige i Botkyrka — 24 mars 2010 @ 12:19

  16. Accepting the Parliament’s resolution would interfere with the commission’s goal of further EU integration, of course they disregard it.
    We live in a post-democracy.

    Kommentar av Mikael Gustavsson — 24 mars 2010 @ 17:05

  17. @16. Mikael Gustavsson: Why do you say that? What would ACTA do for EU integration, and why would EU integration not better be achieved through internal secondary legislation? ACTA would not directly affect integration thanks to dualism.

    Kommentar av Johannes Schönning — 24 mars 2010 @ 17:08

  18. According to, the full consolidated ACTA text has now been posted online;

    Klicka för att komma åt 201001_acta.pdf

    Kommentar av Peter — 24 mars 2010 @ 22:31

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