A letter sent on behalf of 21 pro-copyright outfits including the Motion Picture Association and IFPI shows how the European Parliament is being urged to sign the controversial ACTA anti-piracy agreement. The backroom lobbying effort document, which came into TorrentFreak’s possession, reveals how the organizations ask Parliament not to wait for a response from the European Court of Justice but simply sign “with no further delays.”
It is no secret that the pro-copyright lobby is active on virtually every political level imaginable. Through lobbying efforts these various groups hope to steer copyright legislation in a direction that favors their businesses.
Although organizations such as the MPA(A), IFPI and the BSA announce press releases in public on a regular basis, much of the hardcore lobbying occurs behind closed doors. Today we present one of these backroom lobbying letters that the groups would rather keep to themselves.
The letter in question was sent to Jerzy Buzek, the President of the European Parliament, and deals with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). In summary, ACTA paves the way for draconian anti-piracy measures to be introduced globally. The ACTA text was finalized last year, but the EU has yet to sign the agreement.
To fully understand the implications of ACTA, and to ask whether it is compatible with other European treaties, the European Parliament indicated that it would like to hear the opinion of the European Court of Justice.
However, this is not appreciated by the pro-copyright lobby, who want to see the agreement signed as soon as possible. In their letter they therefore urge the Parliament to skip the legal review and sign the agreement without asking further questions.
“We support ACTA and believe that this Treaty is important to protect Europe’s innovative and creative industries from unfair competition and consumers from fake and pirated goods in a globalised marketplace,” the letter starts.
But after the obligatory introduction it quickly moves on to the core message:
“While we welcome the prerogatives in IP and trade matters conferred to the European Parliament under the new Treaty, we are concerned that the procedure of seeking an Opinion from the ECJ will substantially delay the final adoption and implementation of ACTA and weaken the position of the EU vis-à-vis its international trading partners as a leader in proposing and supporting effective enforcement of intellectual property rights globally,” it continues.
In short, the pro-copyright groups argue that asking for a legal review at the European Court of Justice could hurt the EU because international partners (US, Japan, Australia etc.) would no longer see them as leaders in intellectual property enforcement. They advise the EU to leave the Court of Justice out of the process and simply sign immediately.
“Given the Parliament’s signal that it supports strong enforcement of IP provisions in the EU’s trade agreements, we hope that the European Parliament will give its consent to ACTA with no further delays,” the letter concludes.
The above is quite a bold request of course, and the 21 outfits that signed the letter are fully aware that it’s not something the public would like to hear about. This is probably the reason why none of the pro-lobby groups included or even referenced the letter in their frequent press releases. When trying to maintain a certain image, it seems that some things are better left behind closed doors.
TorrentFreak obtained a full copy of the letter (embedded below) of which excerpts appeared on IPtegrity earlier this week. According to the document’s metadata, the letter was not written by any of the pro-copyright groups but by Joanne Scobie of the lobby firm Policy Action, which is by itself telling.