Question for written answer P-001085/2012
to the Commission
Syed Kamall (ECR)
Subject: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
I have been contacted by a civil society organisation which tells me that according to the Commission’s summary of its ‘Civil Society Meeting’ on 25 March 2011, ‘many rumours have circulated on “three strikes” measures and other measures restricting the access to internet. It is important to clarify that no such rules were ever proposed by any of the parties involved in the ACTA negotiations.’
The civil society organisation claims that this assertion from the Commission directly contradicts an alleged leak of the digital chapter of ACTA (originally published in March 2010 and reproduced in a European Parliament briefing document), which contains a footnote which proposed disconnection of (presumably ‘alleged’) repeat infringers as ‘an example of such a policy’. The full text of the footnote was:
‘[a]n example of such a policy is providing for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscriptions and accounts in the service provider’s systems or network of repeat infringers’.
1. Can the Commission either confirm or deny the existence of that footnote in the preparatory works of ACTA?
2. If it confirms the existence of that footnote, can the Commission point to subsequent preparatory work that confirms that disconnection of end users is not an example of the type or severity of punishment that should be imposed in the proposed private law enforcement foreseen by ACTA?
This is a very good question, and the Commission will not enjoy answering it. To answer the first sub-question, they will either have to admit that they lied about the contents of the March 2010 ACTA draft, or continue to lie about it (despite the fact that the document has been leaked and anybody can read it).
And to answer the second sub-question, they will either have to confirm that disconnection of end users is indeed what is foreseen by ACTA, or come up with some completely new references that nobody has heard of so far.
The answer from the Commission should appear in about 6 weeks in Kamall’s Europarl home page.
While we are waiting for the answer from the Commission, please take the the time to read an op-ed on ACTA by another MEP, Marietje Schaake from the liberal group. The liberal group has not yet formed a group opinion on ACTA, but Marietje Schaake is proof that there are at least some real liberals in that group.
Update: abwmaven explains the background to this question, including a formal question asked by French Socialist Françoise Castex on the importance of preparatory works when interpreting international agreements.