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Court clarification needed over ACTA

A decision for the European Union's highest court to rule on the legality of a controversial anti-piracy agreement has been welcomed by Catherine Bearder MEP.

key_cbeuroparliament.pngRights campaigners have attacked the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) because they believe it will strangle online freedom of expression.

But EU trade head Karel De Gucht said the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will now check whether the treaty is in line with the union's principles on rights and freedoms.

The ACTA agreement, which is aimed at standardising international copyright protection measures, has been signed by 22 EU member states, as well as the USA and Japan.

Catherine said the European Commission's decision to ask the ECJ to clarify the trade agreement was sensible as too many questions still needed to be answered.

She said: "I understand the need to protect intellectual property rights, after all innovation is Europe's main raw material.

"But I have received so much correspondence from constituents concerned about the way ACTA could affect their right to privacy and freedom of the internet.

"So, I welcome this opportunity to get unequivocal clarification for everyone on the issue."

Catherine added: "This is a great example of European democracy in action. Constituents have raised their concerns and MEPs have held the commission to account.

"We will now get proper legal scrutiny of the act and, hopefully, a balance between intellectual property rights, which are vital to the EU economy, and individual freedoms."

The first discussion in the European Parliament's International Trade Committee, will take place on Wednesday, February 29.

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