Europe’s e-communications providers call on negotiating partners to avoid provisions that would hamper the development of the Information Society

Date

28 Jun 2010

Sections

InfoSociety

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA):

Europe’s e-communications providers call on negotiating partners to avoid provisions that would hamper the development of the Information Society

BRUSSELS – Europe’s leading e-communications service providers call on the European Commission and other negotiating parties of the ACTA agreement as they meet today in Lucerne (Switzerland) to ensure that the final agreement does not hamper the further development of the European Information Society and the Digital Single Market. 

In a joint statement to the negotiating parties, fixed and mobile operators, Internet Service providers and cable companies joined together to send a message to the negotiators and underscore the need for transparency. Operators are now making a public call for maintaining transparency and full respect of democratic oversight of new legislation by elected representatives until full completion of the negotiation process.

The final agreement on ACTA should not include provisions that jeopardise the existing legal framework, hinder the development of new e-services and limit European citizens’ rights to privacy. This would contradict the key objectives of the Digital Agenda for Europe.

E-communications providers are particularly concerned with a series of provisions which considerably contradict the EU acquis. According to the draft, the scope of criminal sanctions would expand beyond the existing EU legal framework which is limited to infringement of a commercial nature. The draft liability provisions contradict the “mere conduit” principle established by the EU eCommerce Directive. E-communications providers warn against any attempt to introduce a system where private entities such as ISPs are to scrutinize and police the content of communication between citizens. Such provisions would put confidentiality of communications at risk and would undermine the level of legal security needed for ISPs to exercise their activities. They are concerned that EU law could be changed from the “outside-in” via an international treaty.

E-communications service providers strongly believe in the importance of IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) for the economy. They are actively cooperating with rightsholders and consumer organisations in the fight against illicit file-sharing within the existing legal framework.

As reiterated by the recently adopted Digital Agenda, offering a wide choice of attractive legitimate online content services is the best response for stamping out illicit file sharing. It is therefore essential to develop the appropriate conditions for easing access to content and allowing new business models to emerge.

 Attached: joint industry statement