Well folks just to let you know, I've had another reponse to my email of the other day. Let me know what you think!
Thank you very much for your email concerning copyrights enforcement and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Please note that I also respond on behalf of Malcolm Harbour MEP and Anthea McIntyre MEP as I take responsibility for all correspondence to Conservative MEPs from your area. My colleagues and I have been following these issues very closely. If finalised, ACTA will provide a WTO (TRIPs - Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) plus legal framework against counterfeiting and piracy and harmonised rules on civil and criminal enforcement and on customs procedures, as well as improved cooperation between authorities and stakeholders. This may result in a more effective reaction against large scale traffic on counterfeited and pirated goods and in a stronger deterrent against criminal organisations which are often behind these activities. The European Commission had said it expects to conclude negotiations before the end of the current year. However, negotiating positions are still quite distant and an agreement has not been reached on a number of key issues. The negotiations have been strongly criticised by many stakeholders who regard the ACTA deal as an attempt to restrict civil liberties and infringe privacy rights. The relative lack of transparency of negotiations has also been questioned and helped the dissemination of (often) unfounded or at least unsubstantiated claims on the agreement under negotiation. The problem is that a balance must be struck between negotiating confidentiality and the need for democratic oversight; this is not an easy task. A resolution has been signed which aimed to address these fears, while making it clear that a certain level of confidentiality must be maintained in order for negotiations to progress. This resolution hopes to achieve more transparency by calling for the increased information to be made available; this will enable us as MEPs to properly monitor the negotiations, and to ensure that the wishes of EU citizens such as you are properly taken into account. Conservative MEPs in the European Parliament fully support calls to improve transparency throughout the negotiations, including the release of texts, and the UK is currently in bilateral discussions to try and gain support for the public release of documents at the earliest possible opportunity. Important safeguards for citizens were included in the recently adopted "Telecoms Package" by the European Parliament and the Council and the EU mandate is clear that no changes to existing Member State legislation should be required. Furthermore, the European Commission, which has been involved in the ACTA negotiations, has given its assurance that no three strikes methods or changes to the liability of Internet service providers will be imposed on Member States in the agreement, while data privacy will be fully respected and there will be no provisions on customs searches. In terms of proposed action that could be taken, the report calls for proportional and fair sanctions in relation to counterfeiting and IPR infringement, in cooperation with the authorities of Member States and all interested parties. While the report outlines the need to respect IPR in broad terms, further detailed discussions on appropriate actions, including Member State involvement will take place following the Commission's awaited IPR strategy proposal. Yours sincerely, Philip Bradbourn OBE MEP
Come on you know you want to respond, and tell other people while you're at it.