Library Advocate Opposes ACTA Before European Parliament

Stuart Hamilton, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)’s Director of Policy & Advocacy raised concerns about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) at a stakeholder hearing in the European Parliament on April 11. Libraries are concerned that the non-transparent ACTA negotiations pose a threat to the balance of copyright, Hamilton said, and the content is as much a problem as the process: ACTA's objectives and methods endanger the balance of copyright, and seriously conflict with the library community's commitments to equitable access to information and cultural expression. “IFLA is gravely concerned by …the potentially chilling effects of targeting intermediaries, and the continuing focus on enforcement at the expense of flexibility", said Hamilton. “…ACTA will lock us into an approach that is not suitable for now, let alone the future." The agreement has already been signed by Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, the United States and all European Union member dtates except Cyprus, Estonia, Slovakia, Germany and the Netherlands. However, in the European Union, the European Parliament has to consent before ACTA can take effect. The Parliament is expected to decide in July.

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