Bulgarian Software Companies Slam ACTA Too

Society | February 2, 2012, Thursday // 15:59|  views

Photo by dariknews.bg

The Bulgarian Association of Software Companies (BASSCOM) has come up with a statement expressing support for an adequate protection of copyright and related rights, the fight against counterfeiting and the adoption of international standards on the enforcement of intellectual property rights.

BASSCOM, however, opposes the adoption of АСТА (The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) amid a total lack of transparency and no public dialogue on the document's impact on the economy and society.

BASSCOM reminds that it has, alongside a number of other business entities, repeatedly stated its disapproval of the provisions of ACTA.

"Our opinion is that ACTA's provisions fail to solve many of the problems surrounding the protection of copyright and intellectual property rights and also create a number of other serious disadvantages. By stipulating that Internet service providers (ISPs) and online service providers shall be held liable for infringements by their clients, the document places a question mark over the legal certainty, the opportunities for development and the very existence of companies operating in a number of innovative sectors with a high added value," BASSCOM says.

The organization believes that ISPs must not be held liable for data they transmit or content they host to an extent that necessitates the preliminary monitoring and filtering of such data.

"Over the past years, free sharing of information has become a standard in Internet services and must not be interpreted as a copyright infringement," BASSCOM notes.

"We are convinced that if the European Parliament adopts ACTA in summer, this will reduce the chances of the European Union of fulfilling its goals in the sphere of innovation development and of competing successfully with other regions in the world. The document will hamper the growth of start-ups in a number of key innovation spheres and will place the firms in these sectors in the conditions of legal uncertainty, thereby slowing down their development," the association says.

BASSCOM adds that it expressed concern over ACTA's provisions and the total obscurity surrounding the attempts to adopt it back in May 2010 within a large-scale initiative of the PIN-SME (The Pan European ICT & eBusiness Network for SMEs), of which BASSCOM is an active member.

"We remind that the EP rejected the agreement at that point. This is why we are even more concerned that the latest new attempt to pass ACTA is yet again taking place without any public debates in Bulgaria and the other European countries, despite the mounting social pressure against this document," the organization stresses.

The representatives of BASSCOM and PIN-SME are adamant that if passed, ACTA will hurt Internet openness and the legal certainty of the companies in the IT sector.

BASSCOM was set up in 2001 and currently brings together over 45 leading software companies.

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Tags: ACTA, Bulgarian Association of Software Companies, BASSCOM, European parliament, European Union, innovations, it sector


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