More about Beecholme

Beecholme is also the first postwar "mixed development" housing scheme in Hackney, with a mixture of houses and flats with the taller block having five storeys and containing one-bedroom and bedsit accommodation. It is featured in Volume 15 of Hackney History and was the site of Beecholme House, the family home of Maj. John André (d. 1780), who was executed as a British spy in the American War of Independence.

Friday, 3 February 2012

MEP's response to ACTA

In practice ACTA will make us criminals for communicating everyday things we don't give a second thought to now and open us to fines, bans and even jail.

To find out about the huge impact on freedom of speech and civil liberties ACTA will have scroll down two posts or click here

sign the petition to all members of the European Parliament


From Claude Moraes, Labour MEP for London:

Dear Constituent,

Thank you for writing to me regarding the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) between the European Union, Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the US.

The European Parliament has a formal role in the eventual approval or rejection of this Agreement. The negotiations concluded in November 2010, and each negotiating party is now in the process of ratifying and signing the Agreement. In the EU this requires agreement from the Council of Ministers (made up of the 27 Member States) and the European Parliament.
On Thursday 26th January 2012 twenty-two Member States (including the UK) signed the agreement. The European Parliament will now draft a report to recommend whether or not Parliament should give its approval to the Agreement, and this will be done by the International Trade committee. This is expected to begin next month. Parliament's political leverage over the European Commission has therefore been substantial given that the Agreement cannot be ratified without Parliament's approval.

In addition to its legislative role, Parliament monitored the negotiations throughout the 11 rounds and adopted Resolutions highlighting our priorities to the Commission. In March 2010 my colleague David Martin MEP - in his capacity as Labour spokesperson on International Trade in the European Parliament - co-authored a Resolution which was adopted by Parliament.
In November 2010 in response to the release of the draft text the Parliament again adopted a Resolution.

We proposed and successfully incorporated several points on transparency and civil liberties into the Resolutions.

Firstly we made it clear that the European Commission - as the EU's negotiator in ACTA - needed to put pressure on the other participants to open up the negotiations to public scrutiny through the publication of a draft negotiating text.

Secondly we stressed that ACTA must target only commercial and not individual counterfeiters.
In our opinion the need to address serious counterfeiting should not lead to any erosion of civil liberties.

In this regard I and other Labour MEPs object to any 'three strike' rule whereby Internet service providers can suspend the Internet connection of copyright infringers after two warnings.
Equally my colleagues and I do not support so called border measures such as the searching by Customs of travellers' iPods or laptops for illegally downloaded files.

Finally we stated that ACTA should not extend beyond the European Community 'acquis' or, in other words, no new intellectual property legislation should be created as a result. The European Union is a signatory to various international Agreements on intellectual property such as the World Trade Organisation's Agreement on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

It is important for the European Parliamentary Labour Party that ACTA is consistent with TRIPS and other existing Agreements on Intellectual Property.

I and my colleagues share the frustrations of many constituents who believed the negotiations should have been conducted in a more transparent manner.
The European Parliament put significant pressure on the European Commission during the negotiations to increase transparency. The Commission was successful in persuading other ACTA negotiating partners to release a consolidated negotiating text. While Parliament continued to call for the further release of all negotiating texts with individual country positions, we were disappointed that further opening up of the negotiations could not be agreed by all negotiating parties.

Please be assured that the Parliament's commitment to transparency also applies to our consideration of the ACTA agreement in the International Trade committee.

Once the Parliament analysis and discussions in Parliament begin, debates and considerations of the text will be fully open to the public and streamed live on the European Parliament website.

Thank you again for writing to me on this issue.

Please be assured that my colleagues and I will analyse the text of the Agreement very carefully before the European Parliament consent vote to ensure our priorities in civil liberties, intellectual property legislation and TRIPS compatibility are well-protected.

Best wishes,

Claude Moraes MEP

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