posted by Thom Holwerda on Tue 4th Oct 2011 13:31 UTC
IconA few days ago, several countries signed ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. As you are probably aware, ACTA was drafted up in secret, and is basically Obama/Biden's attempt to impose the US' draconian pro-big business/big content protection laws on the rest of the world ('sign it, or else'). The European Parliament still has to vote on it, and as such, Douwe Korff, professor of international law at the London Metropolitan University, and Ian Brown senior research fellow at the University of Oxford, performed a 90-page study, with a harsh conclusion: ACTA violates fundamental human rights.

The Greens in the European Parliament, together with Korff, presented the result during a press conference today. You can watch the press conference as a video-on-demand, including the questions-and-answer sessions which followed, and you can download the full 90-page study as well.

Green MEP Jan Phillip Albrecht summarises the study's findings - and it ain't pretty. "As the study points out, encouraging the 'cooperation' between internet providers and the content industry amounts to privatised policing, violating the rule of law and the right to fair judicial process. ACTA also allows for the monitoring of internet users without initial suspicion, the handing over of their personal data to rights holders on the basis of mere claims and the transfer of this data even to countries without adequate data protection, all of which is in clear conflict with legal guarantees of fundamental rights in the EU," he states, "The agreement does not contain 'fair use' clauses or exceptions for trivial or minimal infringements. It therefore tilts the balance - both in terms of substance and of process - unfairly in favour of rights holders and against users and citizens."

The final conclusion from the study itself isn't much rosier. "Overall, ACTA tilts the balance of IPR protection manifestly unfairly towards one group of beneficiaries of the right to property, IP right holders, and unfairly against others. It equally disproportionately interferes with a range of other fundamental rights, and provides or allows for the determination of such rights in procedures that fail to allow for the taking into account of the different, competing interests, but rather, stack all the weight at one end," the study concludes, "This makes the entire Agreement, in our opinion, incompatible with fundamental European human rights instruments and -standards."

Of course, most of us already knew this, but it's always good to have a detailed study from a reputable source to point to whenever you enter into a discussion about this topic. ACTA is pure, concentrated evil in liquid form, and I find it inconceivable that anyone would support this - other than big business and big content, of course.

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