Pirate Party Cautiously Welcomes ACTA Report

Pirate Party Australia cautiously welcomes the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties’ (JSCOT) report on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which recommends delaying ratification of the secretive Agreement until certain criteria are met[1].

The report makes many recommendations based on concerns Pirate Party Australia and others raised in submissions to JSCOT, particularly the necessity to define certain terms which have made the Agreement highly ambiguous and subject to varied interpretations. One such concern was the lack of methodology to differentiate between non-commercial and commercial rights infringements.

The Pirate Party is pleased with the report, which also draws attention to the current lack of support for the Agreement within the European Union, where five different European Parliamentary Committees have all recommended ACTA be rejected. These committees found that the Agreement was not economically or legally appropriate, nor did it conform to human rights obligations.

“It’s still not an outright rejection, although the requirements to allow ratification set the bar reasonably high, making ratification very unlikely,” said Brendan Molloy, Party Secretary. “We do not see any possible way that the Government could determine ACTA would meet these recommendations. ACTA should hopefully be dead in the water.”

The Party is also keeping an eye on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), whose leaked intellectual property and investment USTR draft negotiating chapters are at least as alarming as ACTA. This ACTA result comes days after it was revealed that the MPAA is given online up-to-date access by the USTR to the latest TPPA draft when even US senators cannot gain such levels of access.[2]

“Unfortunately we won’t have the EU to effectively block the TPPA,” said Simon Frew, Deputy President of Pirate Party Australia. “We are working with other Pirate Parties in the negotiating countries to put up as strong a resistance to this Agreement as possible. The USTR’s persistent attempts to dictate international policy on behalf of a few corporations through secretive Treaty negotiations must continue to be opposed.”

“The concerns we and others raised about ACTA and reported by JSCOT also apply to the Intellectual Property Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. In particular, the secrecy of negotiations which the JSCOT report discusses applies to the TPPA. We cannot have adequate representation without transparency.”

Pirate Party Australia hopes that the sensible treaty analysis shown by JSCOT with ACTA will continue should the TPPA ever see the light of day, and continues to demand that the current process of ‘consultation’ is replaced with an open and transparent forum where the actual content of the draft text may be discussed and critiqued.

[1] http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=jsct/21november2011/report.htm
[2] http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120622/23220319444/ustr-gives-mpaa-full-online-access-to-tpp-text-still-wont-share-with-senate-staffers.shtml