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Michael Geist's Blog

EP Committees Reject ACTA As Backlash Against Secretive IP Agreements Continues to Grow

Earlier today, three European Parliament committees studying the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement - the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI), the Committee for Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and the Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) - all voted against implementing ACTA. The rejection from all three committees confirms the lack of support with the Parliament for ACTA. A final European Parliament vote is expected in July with additional committee recommendations coming next month.

The strength of the anti-ACTA movement within the European Parliament is part of a broader backlash against secretive intellectual property agreements that are either incorporated into broad trade agreements or raise critical questions about prioritizing IP enforcement over fundamental rights. This week the Dutch Parliament voted against ratifying the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a move that some experts say could effectively kill ACTA (which is a "mixed agreement") throughout Europe. In addition to the two anti-ACTA resolutions, the Dutch Parliament passed a third resolution against similar treaties:

The House of Representatives,

- observes that treaties like ACTA lead to a further formalization of copyrights rules on the international level,
- observes that such treaties are very difficult to modify and as a result can be an extra impediment for future reforms of copyright law,
- observes that strict enforcement of intellectual property on the internet is no solution for the ongoing difficulties regarding copyright law and interferes with internet freedom,
- requests the government to vote against new similar treaties,
- requests the government to focus the copyright policy on economic growth opportunities offered by the internet through, amongst others things, new revenue models for legal content.

The opposition to ACTA and ACTA-style treaties (which obviously include the Trans Pacific Partnership and bi-lateral agreements such as CETA) is part of a growing international trend as elected officials and independent policy officials around the world voice their objection to these treaties.

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University of Ottawa Professors' Union Urges Rejection of Access Copyright Model Licence

The Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa is urging the University of Ottawa to reject the Access Copyright model licence. The APUO states:

APUO urges the University of Ottawa not to take the easier, but more costly step of paying an unaccountable and non-transparent licensing agency. In the spirit of a school that is poised to lead other Canadian universities by having become internationally recognized as a top research institution, it behoves us to listen to students and researchers who have voiced strong statements against accepting the model licence. APUO stands in solidarity with scholars and intellectuals who have recognized that this is a key opportunity to play a leadership role by rejecting the model licence and working toward better-managed solutions that are fair to our students and faculty, at the same time recognizing our obligations to rewarding the rights holders.

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