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Hard Facts about ACTA

So you want a "facts" based discussion about ACTA - here we go

Tuesday 7 February 2012, by mond


“I want the Parliament to have a facts-based discussion and not a debate around myths. That is why I want to have an open debate with all actors concerned.”

David Martin MEP and the new Rapporteur for ACTA in the European Parliament

While my previous Article on ACTA was also based on facts one might argue it is also slightly opinionated. Now lets just stick to the plain hard undeniable facts: No opinion, no hearsay, no interpretation: Just the bare facts. Now it will be interesting to see if he and others will like to talk about these facts.

Fact #1: ACTA was negotiated in secrecy: negotiations started in mid-2006. It only came to public attention through different leaks. The first leak of a ACTA discussion paper occoured in 2008. [1]. Even one of the leaked cables also notes that:

“The level of confidentiality in these ACTA negotiations has been set at a higher level than is customary for non-security agreements ” Cable 08ROME1337

Now three are my be different interpretations of this facts and there seem to be a lot of far fetched excuse for the secrecy. But the fact remains that the people who pushed the ACTA deprived the public from their democratic rights here.

Fact #2: The negotiations excluded developing countries and least developed countries even though these countries are highly effected by the ACTA. Also a fact is that the TRIPS-plus negotiations in the WTO got stuck because of the resistance of these countries, who found out that higher “IP” protection does not benefit them. Now counting one and one together it should be clear that ACTA well not benefit these countries but harm them. It is also a fact that 10 million people are starving each hear, even thought there would be enough food on the plant to feed them. Now it follow that ACTA is likely to increase the number of people starving each year. So it is a fact: ACTA kills. [2]

Fact #3: One might like the recent aggravations in copyright (DMCA, EU-DMCA, etc..) or one might dislike them. (Most people seem to rather dislike them and most big corporations seem to like them.) However people see this “IP” rights. It is a fact that the ACTA treaty once signed would make it extremely hard to have these laws reversed. So it is a fact that ACTA will cement the status-quo. ACTA is very vague in some places and certainly allows even more restrictive “IP” laws it will not allow for more flexible and modern laws. So it is a fact that ACTA is an “IP-maximalist” treaty.

Fact #4: ACTA will increase prices for commodities: Now one can think that trademark protection is fair or not. The fact is that some people like to buy e.g. cheap fake Gucci-bags knowing that they are fake. They are not interested in the genuineness at all. Now if we have stronger enforcement if these “IP” rules then the consumers have to pay higher prices. So prices for consumers will go up.

Stay tuned for more facts about ACTA.

Franz Schäfer, February 2012

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