Is the Canada/EU CETA agreement ACTA by the back door?

CETA is, like ACTA was, negotiated in secret. But like ACTA, some chapters have been leaked. One of these is the CETA IP chapter. Geist’s concern is that it in places it is an almost word for word copy of the same provisions in the ACTA agreement. 

“The European Commission strategy,” he comments, “appears to be to use CETA as the new ACTA, burying its provisions in a broader Canadian trade agreement with the hope that the European Parliament accepts the same provisions it just rejected with the ACTA framework.” He recommends that Canada should push for the removal of the IP chapter or risk losing the whole free trade agreement altogether; and notes that trade agreements without copyright issues are not unknown.

Today privacy activist Rick Falkvinge has added his own views. “If the Commission tried anything like that today and again,” he said, “like with this CETA thing, they’d be a) acting in bad faith, and b) asking for the political bitchslap of their lives squared – possibly up to and including being fired by Parliament.”

Falkvinge points out that the CETA IP chapter was written back in February, at a time when everybody believed that ACTA was a done deal. It is logical, he suggests, that the CETA authors would use the same terminology as that used in ACTA – which they believed was simply going to be rubber-stamped by the European Parliament. “Today,” he says, “reality looks starkly different. If the European Commission thinks they can get anything like this through European Parliament, they’re ignorant and stupid.”

The reality, of course, is that they are probably both right. An attempt by the EC to get the current CETA wording through the European Parliament would, in Falkvinge’s words, be “asking for the political bitchslap of their lives.” But until the chapter is actually removed or reworded, it remains, as Geist warns, “a backdoor mechanism to revive ACTA.”

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