Last week’s revelations
that the Canada – EU Trade Agreement’s intellectual property chapter draws heavily from the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement sparked widespread media coverage across Europe (initial post
with links to coverage, more here
, and here
). After initially refusing to comment, the European Commission, clearly sensing the growing public pressure, provided a response
in which it claimed that the leaked February 2012 text was outdated and that the Internet provider provisions in CETA (which had mirrored ACTA) had been changed. While the initial response came via Twitter, a more detailed statement was circulated to many Members of the European Parliament and others. The statement included the following:
- All FTAs negotiated by the EU, including CETA, contain chapters on IPR enforcement. They are just one aspect of a comprehensive approach. CETA is not different.
- The Commission fully respects the vote of the EP of the European Parliament on ACTA and the IPR related text of CETA is being reviewed in order to remove or adapt elements that are considered problematic in the opinions and reports adopted by European Parliament.
- The draft text of CETA of February 2012 (on which the press comments are based) is outdated and reflects thinking at a time before the ACTA vote in EP. It should come as no surprise that certain provision resemble ACTA, which both Canada and the EU had negotiated. In the meantime, negotiations have evolved and the February 2012 text no longer represents the current state of the negotiations.
- For instance, even before the ACTA vote in the EP, the provisions on IPR enforcement on the internet had already evolved. For instance, Articles 27.3 and 27.4 of ACTA, which are considered problematic in the EP, are no longer reflected in CETA.
- The final result of the IPR chapter of CETA is likely to be very close to the IPR chapter of the Korea FTA, which was endorsed by a broad majority in the Parliament, and which has been in force for over a year now.
The European Commission statement not only confirms some changes in CETA, but suggests that the final version will look like the EU – South Korea Free Trade Agreement. This disclosure raises its own set of concerns for both Europeans and Canadians. This posts outlines six major areas of concern given the current uncertainty with CETA, its linkages to ACTA, and the influence of the EU – South Korea FTA.
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The European Commission has revealed that it is currently being sued over ACTA secrecy. In October 2010, MEP Marietje Schaake asked several questions of the EC including one on non-transparency. The EC’s response now includes “since this issue is currently the object of a court case lodged by an Member […]
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Newly leaked documents
produced by the European Commission provide insight into the EU’s view on the ACTA Internet enforcement chapter. The analysis confirms what should be obvious from the text – ACTA retains the flexibility that exists at international law in the digital lock rules by linking circumvention with copyright infringement. The EU interpretation again demonstrates that the Bill C-32 digital lock rules go far beyond what is required within WIPO and now within ACTA. Indeed, the European Commission states unequivocally that ACTA does not cover access controls nor acts not prohibited by copyright (would could include fair dealing). This provides further evidence that compromise language that links circumvention with actual copyright infringement is possible within Bill C-32 that will still allow Canada to be compliant with WIPO and ACTA.
The full European Commission analysis:
As far as technical protection measures (TPMs) are concerned the aim of this provision is that only circumvention undertaken to commit an IP infringement can be made subject to civil or criminal liability.
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The European Commission has posted a response to one of the many questions raised by members of the European Parliament about ACTA. The EC seeks to pacify the ACTA concerns by arguing that the treaty will be limited in scope and is targeted at commercial activities: The Commission can inform […]
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The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the state of Canadian economic rules ahead of the negotiations on a Canada – EU free trade agreement (hat tip – Jamie Love). The consultation includes a full chapter on intellectual property including questions on satisfaction with Canadian IP law, whether […]
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