Old letters: ACTA

(ACTA zag het publieke licht ~2008)

Dear Member of Parliament

Many years of my professional life I spent on product development – from machines for microelectronics to trains. All those years my fellow technicians and I were watching competitors’ products very well. We investigated how things were built in order to imitate it – but in an improved form. By the way, the competitors also did that with our products. These practices can be labeled as copycatting and stealing but for us it was education and the basis for creating the best products and to compete. Companies that only imitate go bankrupt but companies who imitate and innovate will survive on the market. For that reason imitation – call it counterfeiting – is an important foundation in virtually every manufacturing company – and hence the economy. Those obstructing imitation are demolishing our economic foundation – and that is exactly what the anti counterfeit trade agreement ACTA does and that is what makes ACTA loathsome.

But there’s more. Free – but tough – competition means that companies can only survive by offering the best products at the lowest price on the market. However, the organizations behind ACTA do not have to compete based on price and quality: they use copyright, patent and trademark to kill the hard needed competition. The consequences affect us all: we pay far too much for medicines, we prohibit production of life-saving AIDS drugs with patents while two million AIDS patients die each year and finally we pay way too much for software, movies and music. Despite downloading the annual figures of these organizations prove you can earn an extreme amount of money if you don’t have to compete in a tough way. The situation is out of balance and ACTA makes this even worse.

Finally I would like to bring some additional issues to your attention:

  • ACTA makes generic medicines illegal causing people to die.
  • ACTA criminalizes a very large part of the population because they occasionally download.
  • ACTA ignores our copyright exceptions for private copies.
  • Cutting of downloaders of the internet is against human rights.
  • ACTA is the result of lobbying by the media and software industry and the pharmaceutical companies: their small interests at the expense of the big global interests of our society.
  • ACTA will result in more lawsuits with extreme demands as we see in the U.S..
  • ACTA is not necessary for the prosecution of suppliers of fake medicines.
  • ACTA kills democracy by ignoring elected representatives and civil society organisations.
  • According to the EC Europe loses more than 8 billion yearly by counterfeiting. This populist assumption has been invalidated.

I hope that after reading this letter, you do everything in your power to keep ACTA outside Europe.

Sincerely,

Wiebe van der Worp

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