Saturday

28th May 2016

Letter

Acta is a crucial step forward

  • 'Acta recognises the importance of strong intellectual property protection' (Photo: Douglas Heriot)

There has been a great deal of rumour and speculation surrounding Acta and it is unfortunate that the media increases these rumours and misinformation.

The title of your article is clearly misleading and gives the impression that the Commission admitted making errors while negotiating Acta.

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The Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic did not admit mistakes on Acta, he recognised the importance of social media and the need for the European Commission to be much more communicative in the future. It is indeed regrettable that the Commission did not communicate the true facts more effectively to the general public, via social media or any other means, but the wording of your headline gives the impression that the Commission regrets having negotiated Acta at all.

As you refer in your article to criticism surrounding Acta, particularly the fact that the Agreement undermines the freedom of expression and right to privacy, let me say that the respect for fundamental rights including freedom of expression, privacy and data protection are expressly mentioned as basic principles of Acta. What the Agreement seeks to tackle is the large scale illegal activity which is normally carried out by criminal organisations.

For the record Acta does not provide for a three strikes or graduated response system, nor does it oblige ISPs to monitor or filter content of their users. The Commission specifically opted not to exercise its potential competence in the area of criminal enforcement and it is for this reason that the treaty needs to be concluded and signed with both the EU and all 27 Member States.

Acta is a crucial step forward in the recognition at international level of the importance of strong intellectual property protection in developing the creative and innovative sectors of economies, creating good jobs, increasing cultural diversity, promoting technological advances, enhancing the rule of law, and boosting legal trade in products and services protected by intellectual property laws.

The International Confederation of Music Publishers supports the Commission decision to expeditiously refer the text to the Court of Justice of the European Union as a way to help build further confidence in the treaty. We look forward to the adoption of the Agreement by all the EU countries as well as its approval by the European Parliament.

Ger Hatton is Director General of the International Confederation of Music Publishers

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