ACTA back from the dead in Europe

It seems that the European Commission believes that its elected politicians and consumer groups are stupid. After a long negotiated international trade agreement called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement outraged much of the world, politicians were strong-armed into dropping their support and many thought that was the end of it.

There were even co-ordinated shots of European parliament cheering that the bill didn’t pass and it was lauded as a win for democracy. 

However, it seems that the Commission has not stopped trying to butter up Big Content and has recycled ACTA and pretended it is something else.

According to the Human Rights group the EFF, the Canada-European Union and Trade Agreement (CETA) has cut and pasted all the nasty stuff which was in ACTA which managed to get everyone upset.

A leaked draft Canada-EU agreement shows the treaty has a number of the same controversial provisions, specifically concerning criminal enforcement, private enforcement by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and harsh damages.

These were the key reasons why the European parliament rejected ACTA, but because CETA negotiations were conducted in secret, they were not aware of them.

Canada and EU insist that the draft text remain secret so it is unlikely that anyone in the European Parliament is going to get the chance to complain this time.

CETA is designed to strengthen economic ties between Canada and the EU through “free” trade and increased investment. It is not clear why Big Content’s agenda on copyright would be included in it.

Far from being ashamed at their attempts to clamp down on European freedom in the name of protecting Big Content, Philipp Dupuis, the European Commission negotiator, actually bragged that ACTA-like criminal sanctions were still in the CETA draft.

This is despite the fact that 92 percent of the European Union Parliament voted against ACTA earlier this year.

Fortunately Dupuis might have bragged a little too soon. It seems that now the cat is out of the bag there is a ground-swell of action moving against it.

The Dutch government has stated that it would not accept CETA if the provisions are included.

Poland and a few other countries are calling on citizens to demand that their governments remove copyright provisions from CETA during the upcoming round of negotiations next week in Brussels.