September 9, 2010 | By Gwen Hinze

European Parliament Asks EU ACTA Negotiators to Protect Citizens' Fundamental Rights

In a victory for democracy and transparency, the European Parliament adopted Written Declaration 12/2010 (WD 12) on the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement earlier this week. WD 12 calls on EU negotiators to ensure that ACTA does not weaken citizens' fundamental rights of freedom of expression, privacy, and judicial due process, and will not require Internet intermediaries to act as copyright police at the behest of the entertainment industry. WD 12 also calls on EU negotiators to make the ACTA negotiation texts public, and to ensure that ACTA's proposed border measures do not interfere with access to affordable medicines.

WD 12 became the official position of the European Parliament on ACTA when it was signed by 377 Members of the European Parliament prior to today's deadline — more than the required majority of MEPs (369). While the written declaration is not binding on the European Parliament, its adoption by a clear majority sends an important political signal to EU ACTA negotiators at a critical time — just before the next, and possibly final, round of ACTA negotiations taking place in Japan later this month. The European Parliament must give a "consent vote" for the EU to be bound by ACTA; WD 12 should be seen by EU negotiators as a clear statement about how the MEPs will approach that vote.

Kudos and special thanks to our friends at La Quadrature du Net who led this effort, our amazing European EFF activists, fellow members of EDRi and the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue, and our other allies who worked tirelessly to explain the impact of ACTA and convince Members of the European Parliament to sign WD 12 despite various pressures and constraints.

Let's hope that EU negotiators now recognize that ACTA should protect the fundamental rights of all citizens and 'net users, and not just the narrow interests of major content businesses.

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