EU Parliament member quits ACTA, calling it a masquerade

By Lee Kaelin on January 27, 2012, 10:00 AM

In an unprecedented move, the French MEP Kader Arif has quit his position of scrutinizing the upcoming Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) for the European Parliament, calling the passage through the EU policies system a masquerade.

"I want to denounce with utmost vigor the process that led to the signing of this agreement: no association of civil society, lack of transparency from the beginning of negotiations, successive postponements of the signing of the text without any explanation being given, setting aside the claims of the European Parliament [despite those views being] expressed in several resolutions of our Assembly," Kader Arif said in a statement translated from French on his website yesterday.

ACTA aims to create a centralized intellectual property enforcement policy for each of the European member countries. The European Parliament will vote on it in June, after the EU’s International Trade committee (INTA) reviews it in its current form. Arif was previously assigned as a "rapporteur" with special responsibility for the treaty.

He said he had "faced unprecedented maneuvers from the right wing of Parliament to impose an accelerated schedule to pass the agreement as soon as possible before the public is alerted, thereby depriving Parliament of its right of expression and the tools at its disposal to carry the legitimate demands of citizens."

The controversial treaty in its current form will not mean any changes to EU law, and has already had many of its more severe clauses removed during negotiations that happened behind closed doors. It will however affect EU citizen’s civil liberties, the responsibility of ISPs over Internet traffic and possible copyright violations by its customers, as well as the manufacturing of generic drugs according to Arif.

He is very concerned that ACTA could have a major impact on the lives of European citizens, and says the treaty appears to be produced in such a way as to make the European Parliament have no say. Upon stepping down from his post Arif firmly stated that he would "not participate in this charade."

It is unusual to see such honesty in political circles and gives a very clear and direct message. Despite this, the EU signed it Wednesday, so it’s now up to the European Parliament to decide. Those in support of ACTA believe it is now a done deal, but perhaps Arif’s condemnation of the whole process will encourage others to speak out as well.

Image credit: Wiki Noticia

User Comments: 9

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Guest said:

holy sh-it this is serious....can you see the domination of this planet?

bielius bielius said:

wait, is norway affected by ACTA? Since Norway is not in the EU, it should not be...?

yRaz yRaz said:

Why isn't Techspot covering ACTA more?

Zoner1501 Zoner1501 said:

yRaz said:

Why isn't Techspot covering ACTA more?

No kidding, this is worst then SOPA/PIPA

Guest said:

No more generic Cetirizine that helps me through the day. Also no more Twisternederland Fail Compilations, no more Arnold Schwarzenegger's 160 Best Quotes, no more review of Warner's movie or EA's game other than overwhelmingly positive, cause any other obviously violates company's good name. And, no! Big companies won't impose it on you over night. It will be your ISP forcing You to cut it out in fear of liability from MAFIAA's lawyers. And the new breed of lawyers: coming after settlement from little ones, before sueing you in the name of corporations.

MrTomTom said:

Wouldn't it be more productive to vote NO against this outrageous ACTA instead of "rage-quitting" ?

I'm just wondering.

Guest said:

@ MrTomTom that's the thing. Passing ACTA is not a democratic process. That's all the row inEurope about it right now. Big companies passed it behind voters back. And U.S. administration seems to push it through with blackmail on EU politicians on a base that if you're not with u.s., you're against u.s. And what country would like to be not the partner of big US?

ramonsterns said:

Who needs freedom when you can force people to make you an extra million in revenue?

Sadly, this is the human race we're talking about and there are actually people who think this is good and the number of people who oppose this will eventually buckle under the social pressure and start buying crap again.

I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

Guest said:

@ramonsterns: I very much approve of your comment. Help me build my spaceship ?

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