The European Commission Is Moulding a (New?) Copyright on the Same Hackneyed ACTA Model

Paris, 3 March 2015. Press Release.

On 1 July 2014, the European Commission adopted a communication entitled “Towards a renewed consensus on the enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: An EU Action Plan”, which borrowed several concepts from the draft of the ACTA trade agreement. In the European Parliament, far from following the tone set by the Reda report on copyright reform, several draft reports are following the Commission's lead.

As the responsible committee, the Parliament's Committee for Legal Affairs (JURI) is working on a report, drafted by Pavel Svoboda, of which a first version is online. As explained by La Quadrature du Net, this text “contains a number of disturbing points regarding repression and enforcement that bring back to mind highly contested provisions from the ACTA agreement, and encourages an extra-legislative approach to fighting ‘commercial scale counterfeiting’”..

For years, the expression “commercial scale counterfeiting” has been denounced and fought because of how unclear, imprecise and ambiguous it is. Without a very clear definition, it is and will remain a dangerous notion capable of causing collateral damage.

The Commission's communication and the JURI Committee's report emphasise the importance of helping SMEs. April would like to stress that copyright, patents and other “rights” are also used as weapons for anticompetitive behaviour (by large companies) or parasitism (by “Intellectual Property Firms”), for instance.

Drafts of the other committees' reports are also available for review: the Opinion of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the Opinion of the Committee on Culture and Education.

These reports will be discussed, amended and voted on in the coming weeks. Each of us must take action and make the MEPs listen to our demand for updating the European legislation in a more balanced way, that would protect the public's rights and access to cultural works.

“We will need everyone's help to get the MEPs to overhaul copyright in a balanced way and avoid yet another incarnation of ACTA.” declared Frédéric Couchet, the Executive Director of April.

April, once more, points out the problems with the term “Intellectual Property”.

About April

A pioneer of Free Software in France since 1996, April is a major player in the democratisation of Free Software and open standards, and in their spread to the general public, professionals and institutions of the French-speaking world. In the digital era that is ours, it also aims to inform the public on the dangers of an exclusive appropriation of information and knowledge by private interests.

The organisation is a non-profit and it has over 4,000 members, who use or produce Free Software.

For more information, you may visit, contact us by phone at +33 1 78 76 92 80, or use our contact form.

Press contact:

Frédéric Couchet, Executive Director, +33 6 60 68 89 31