Robert Uerpmann-Wittzack

Das Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) als Prüfstein für die Demokratie in Europa

Rubrik: Abhandlungen
Archiv des Völkerrechts (AVR)

Jahrgang 49 () / Heft 2, S. 103-123 (21)

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The ACTA was negotiated by the European Union, its member states and ten other states between 2008 and 2010. Controversial issues included the disclosure of the identity of internet users having infringed upon intellectuals property rights (IPRs), a ban on internet access in case of repeated infringements of IPRs as well as service provider liability. These issues, which touch upon every day life of numerous internet users, are highly sensitive from a human rights perspective. A fair balance must be struck between freedom of expression, privacy and the protection of IPRs. In a democracy governed by the rule of law, striking this balance is up to Parliament on the basis of a procedure which is open to public debate. In fact, the ACTA was negotiated by governmental experts meeting in confidential negotiation rounds. National Parliaments such as the German Bundestag hardly gained any influence. The European Parliament (EP), by contrast, efficiently used its additional competences under the Treaty of Lisbon in order to impose more transparency and respect for users' rights. The case study shows that the EP is an important guarantor of human rights which has to be taken seriously in any debate on democratic legitimacy in Europe.

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