Reports this morning from EDRI, a European digital rights group, indicate that Europe has now dropped demands to include ACTA-style intellectual property criminal provisions within the Canada – EU Trade Agreement. The inclusion of IP criminal provisions in CETA was the source of considerable outrage in Europe in the aftermath of the European Parliament’s rejection of ACTA in early July. EDRI reports that the European Council obtained support over the summer from member states to drop demands for the criminal provisions, fearing those provisions could lead to a European rejection of the treaty (the Dutch government has already indicated it will not support CETA if it includes ACTA provisions).
The removal of ACTA’s criminal provisions leave only two copyright-related question marks in CETA. First, the ACTA border measures provisions have yet to be determined as they are being discussed within the context of protection for geographical indications. Second, Canada is still seeking the inclusion of criminal anti-camcording rules. Canada adopted those rules in 2007 under significant pressure from the United States. Europe resisted their inclusion within ACTA, resulting in a provision that is optional rather than mandatory. While Canada is seeking a mandatory rule, it seems likely this is a (very weak) bargaining chip, rather than a serious attempt to require criminal anti-camcording measures. Canada may drop the demand during negotiations later this month over pharmaceutical patent reform. Regardless, the European Parliament’s rejection of ACTA has clearly had a significant impact on CETA as the Internet and criminal provisions are now both apparently gone in the face of widespread European opposition.