ENDItorial: CET(A)CTA – Criminal sanctions provisions broadly identical
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Deutsch: CET(A)CTA – Strafrechtliche Sanktionen weitestgehend identisch
Towards the end of July 2012, a rather strange and surprising e-mail was sent from the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union to the Member States and the European Commission. The e-mail explained that the criminal sanctions provisions of the draft EU/Canada trade agreement are modelled on those in ACTA. This, the General Secretariat of the Council worries, presents a problem as, on the one hand, the conclusion and implementation of CETA are a declared priority of the Union while, on the other, the European Parliament will need to be asked to approve the final text of the Agreement.
Member States told EDRi were baffled by the e-mail. On the one hand, after all the controversy surrounding ACTA, they could not understand why such a blunt e-mail was sent in the first place. After all of the leaks surrounding ACTA, a more subtle message would have been logical. Secondly, after the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty, the task of coordinating such policies is now the responsibility of the Commission, so it was not clear why the Council took it upon itself to even ask the question.
Member States are not the only ones that are somewhat surprised by the Council's e-mail – the European Commission told the press only two weeks previously “that language being negotiated on CETA regarding Internet is now totally different from ACTA.” Has the Council been given the wrong draft of CETA? This seems like the only possible explanation. After everything that happened with ACTA, it hardly seems possible that the Commission would be seeking to mislead the public.
Many Member States still do not understand the political problems that surrounded ACTA and are therefore generally not opposed to provisions from ACTA being put into CETA. However, only two Member States clicked on “reply all” when responding to the Council's e-mail – one was a well-known supporter of ACTA from western Europe and, surprisingly, the other was one of the “new” Member States from South-East Europe.
The response from the South-East European member state also raised opposition to the inclusion of camcording in the draft Agreement. Camcording is such a non-issue that it was abandoned by the negotiating parties in ACTA, so it is bizarre that even stronger wording has now made its way into CETA. Even more strange is that a policy has found its way into the draft EU/Canada trade deal that is neither an EU policy nor a Canadian policy, but a US one. Michael Geist points in a blog post to a Wikileaks cable where the US described as “disingenuous” a Canadian claim that their anti-camcording legislation was an independent policy change that was not the result of lobbying pressure from the US.
Michael Geist blog: Wikileaks Cables Show Massive U.S. Effort to
Establish Canadian DMCA (29.04.2011)
Council E-Mail (07.2012)
Cannot publish yet to protect source
Don't believe every leak you read says EU Commission on CETA (11.07.2012)
(Contribution by Joe McNamee - EDRi)