The decision on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a missed opportunity for the EU to protect its creative and innovation-based industries in the international market place.
“While we welcome the Parliament’s efforts to be seen as responsive to public concerns, organizations representing sectors employing over 120 million workers in Europe were calling for the adoption of ACTA,” said Jeffrey Hardy, Director of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) initiative Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP).
Anne Bergman-Tahon, Director of the Federation of European Publishers (FEP), a member of a coalition of over 130 organizations supporting ACTA said: “ACTA is an important tool for promoting European jobs and intellectual property. Unfortunately the treaty got off on the wrong foot in the Parliament, and the real and significant merits of the treaty did not prevail.”
Many MEPs had hoped to wait for the opinion of the Court of Justice before taking a final decision. CEO of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) Frances Moore said: “We now await the ruling of the Court of Justice of the EU and urge the European Parliament to make effective IPR enforcement a top priority in our external trade policy.”
Intellectual property rights remain the engine for Europe’s global competitiveness and a driver of economic growth and jobs. In the current economic climate, it is particularly crucial to protect these beyond the EU itself.
“Europe could have seized the chance to support an important treaty that improved intellectual property standards internationally. We expect that ACTA will move ahead without the EU, which is a significant loss for the 27 Member States,” said Alan C. Drewsen, Executive Director of the International Trademark Association (INTA).
The ACTA discussions are the biggest multilateral negotiation to be concluded in the post-Lisbon Treaty constitutional framework. Thomas Boue, Director of Government Affairs for the Business Software Alliance (BSA) said: “The infringement of intellectual property rights is a huge problem in Europe and there is a clear need to advance international norms and best practices for the enforcement of IP. ACTA would serve as an important step forward in raising the global standard for the protection of IP rights. It was unfortunate that the treaty was held back by inter-institutional differences and concerns over transparency.”
“Parliament says no to ACTA but stresses that ’global coordination of IP protection is vital’. We respect their position,” said Johannes Studinger, Head of UNI MEI Global Union. “Indeed, in the global digital economy, sustainable growth of creative industries requires effective enforcement of intellectual property rights. Enforcement policies without a strong international commitment remain ineffective. We call on EU institutions to work together instead of opposing each other and to translate this mutual commitment into effective policies.”
Those debating ACTA have invoked a number of principles and concerns. “The debate around ACTA has unfortunately been framed in terms of censorship and ‘breaking of the Internet’ rather than about protecting the economic basis for jobs in Europe,” said Dominick Luquer, Secretary General of the International Federation of Actors (FIA).
“Contrary to many of the statements made, the individual’s fundamental rights are fully respected by ACTA, and we look forward to the Court of Justice assessment in this regard,” said Dara MacGreevy, Anti-Piracy Director of the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE), representing the European Video Games Industry.
Looking ahead, we believe Europe’s politicians should continue their efforts to protect the intellectual property that underpins our innovative and manufacturing sectors, at home and abroad, online and offline. “We are encouraged by the statements made in the European Parliament that today’s vote was not a vote against intellectual property rights enforcement. Europe’s innovative manufacturing and creative industries are now looking to the other ACTA signatories to protect our rights internationally,” sai Alberto Paccanelli, CEO, President of EURATEX-The European Apparel and Textile Confederation.