Officials: ACTA will have an impact on Estonian legislation

26.01.2012, 16:19

Representatives of the ministry of foreign affairs admit that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that is set to be signed in Tokyo tomorrow will have an impact on Estonian legislation since it will be an international obligation for the state and must be considered when drafting legal acts, writes Eesti Päevaleht.

Indrek Niklus, head of the private law department of the justice ministry says that in addition to ACTA, lawmakers must, for instance, also take into consideration TRIPS treaties that regulate industrial property rights.

“All together we have 21 such international treaties that are relevant in this matter,” said Niklus, admitting that, unlike ACTA, these treaties usually do not regulate the digital world.

“The key is that ACTA will not regulate the contents of intellectual property, but the way it is protected and tells state what they must do to protect and enforce these rights,” added Niklus.

The way how Estonian authorities have handled the passage of ACTA has drawn criticism from various parties, in particular from the Estonian Internet Community group which says that the act is not in line with constitutional law and will hamper innovation.

Justice minister Kristen Michal has denied such accusations in public and says that adoption of ACTA in Estonian law will not restrict personal rights nor limit free speech. “The text of the agreement says so specifically, but the way,” added Michal.

Estonia has already put together a workgroup including representatives of independent observes that is tasked to develop draft a law on intellectual rights reflecting the new implications of adopting ACTA.  The drafting process is expected to take up to three years.