ACTA IS BACK: Leaked docs show Canada/European Commission trying to sneak ACTA into Canada & back into Europe

Michael Geist sez,

Last week, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to reject ACTA, striking a major blow to the hopes of supporters who envisioned a landmark agreement that would set a new standard for intellectual property rights enforcement. The European Commission, which negotiates trade deals such as ACTA on behalf of the European Union, has vowed to revive the badly damaged agreement. Its most high-profile move has been to ask the European Court of Justice to rule on ACTA's compatibility with fundamental European freedoms with the hope that a favourable ruling could allow the European Parliament to reconsider the issue.

While the court referral has attracted the lion share of attention, there is an alternate secret strategy in which Canada plays a key role. According to recently leaked documents, the EU plans to use the Canada - EU Trade Agreement (CETA), which is nearing its final stages of negotiation, as a backdoor mechanism to implement the ACTA provisions.

The CETA IP chapter has already attracted attention due to EU pharmaceutical patent demands that could add billions to provincial health care costs, but the bigger story may be that the same chapter features a near word-for-word replica of ACTA. According to the leaked document, dated February 2012, Canada and the EU have already agreed to incorporate many of the ACTA enforcement provisions into CETA, including the rules on general obligations on enforcement, preserving evidence, damages, injunctions, and border measure rules. One of these provisions even specifically references ACTA. My post includes a comparison table of ACTA and the leaked CETA chapter.

Go read the rest. The European Commission -- a gang of unelected technocrats in the pockets of multinational corporations -- are hell-bent on seeing ACTA turn into European law, even if the elected chamber rejects it. They can't imagine why treaties that will impact everything we do on the Internet (which will be everything we do, shortly) shouldn't be negotiated in secret with a bunch of corporate bums who're looking to line their pockets at public expense.

The Canadian government is almost certain to go along with this -- a more textbook example of corporate lickspittles you will never find. It's up to Europeans to save Europe from its bureaucrats and Canada from its politicians.

ACTA Lives: How the EU & Canada Are Using CETA as Backdoor Mechanism To Revive ACTA


  1. It really is disappointing to see our Canadian government showing their true colours as the corporate shills they clearly are. Please Europe, you’ve done this once, you can do it again. Some of us Canadians will stand by you as best we can within this mockery of a representative democracy.

  2. Since they’re going to keep on doing this every time they’re defeated by anything vaguely democratic, eventually they’ll just give up and force it through anyway. So what I’m wondering is, why are they bothering to even ‘discuss’ it in secret?

    Why the pretence? Ultimately it’s a technical issue, and technical always, eventually, trumps political. Unfortunately economical can trump both. But when the 99% are outlaws, don’t the 1% become somewhat irrelevant?

  3. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever. Until we kill it dead.

  4. that is not dead, which can eternal lie…

    It’s like trying to kill the Hydra… every head you chop off, a fresh one grows back…

      1. It’s a nice strategy. One to replace the chopped, another to discourage further chopping.

        Fortunately (or unfortunately for the choppee) it’s an unsustainable strategy against a sufficiently patient persistent chopper.

        But you may need a large supply of patient persistent choppers. Foxes, rabbits. Logistics. Y’know.

  5. With all these treaties and laws being implemented to monitor us and take our freedoms, er, I mean, protect copyright, what exactly is the hierarchy of all this? How can all these laws and treaties function without overlapping and contradicting each other? Please excuse my ignorance in these matters.

    1.  They don’t.  The laws and treaties all overlap and contradict each other. 

      That’s the point.

      An environment in which the law is a complex mess that incriminates everybody gives all the power to, for example, corporations that have large teams of staff lawyers.  And makes it impossible for individuals to defend themselves effectively.

  6. Clearly, the response is to stop supporting the content cartels as much as possible.  It is not technically possible to completely boycott them due to the conglomerative nature of the music, TV, and film companies, but the more we can support independents and the less we fork out to the MAFIAA, the better.  It may also be good not only to avoid products and services that promote Big Content vendors, but to write to them and explain why.

    No matter what, remember: the big media need us, not the other way around.

  7. This is going to keep happening until we make the very contents of these bills illegal. 

  8. The people have to win every battle every time to postpone this encroachment. These guys only have to win once,  and they permanently gain ground that never seems to get rolled back, no matter how immoral or inept or impractical.
    That means we can’t win without also doing some other angle. Is there another angle? A bill of digital Rights Of The People that has a path to becoming law?

  9. Seriously, this is it, we’ve got to stop being re-active and start being pro-active. I.e. instead of trying to repeal the weekly edition of ACTA, we should start proposing a law to forbid all new treaties/laws like ACTA for the forseeable future, call it “IP trade agreement & law moratorium for 20 years” or something.

  10. “Church and State may unite to form an insurmountable barrier against the extension of thought, the moral progress of nations, and the felicity of nature; but let it be recollected, that the guarantee for moral and political emancipation is already deposited in the archives of every school and college, and in the mind of every cultivated and enlightened man of all countries.”

    ‘Principles of Nature’ by Elihu Palmer

  11. The other piece that is essential to know about CETA is the style of dispute settlement it is structured through. Very regretably, CETA is continuing with the Investor State dispute mechanism from the NAFTA trade contract which allows corporations to sue government if they interfere with their “right to profit”. In 2010, for example, the Canadian government paid out $130 million to AbitibiBowater Inc for their claim to their water and timber rights in Newfoundland after they shut down their businesses there. With the combination of elements of ACTA in CETA enforced by this style of dispute settlement which promotes corporate rights through lawsuits in trade tribunals, CETA could become an even worse threat than ACTA alone. Thank you for your work resisting ACTA.

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