Some of the ACTA-like copyright clauses in the EU-Canada trade agreement have been removed recently, a European Commission spokesman has said.
The Commission had previously refused to discuss a leaked draft of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which is being formulated behind closed doors. However, on Wednesday John Clancy, the spokesman for trade commissioner Karel De Gucht, said on Twitter that some parts of CETA that were direct copies of ACTA had been expunged after ACTA's defeat in Europe.
"The leaked text is from Feb and has changed," Clancy wrote, confirming the authenticity of the leaked text.
Specifically, Clancy said the parts corresponding to ACTA articles 27.3 (promoting "co-operative efforts within the business community to effectively address trademark and copyright or related rights infringement") and 27.4 (letting countries force ISPs to disclose copyright-infringing customers' names) were now out.
In a subsequent tweet, Clancy told me that "those are the key articles contested in ACTA and they are not present", adding that CETA does not contain any provisions that differ from existing EU law — the same claim that De Gucht's office made about ACTA.
However, the leaked text shows many passages that had been copied in from ACTA, including ACTA articles 23 (defining all 'commercial scale' copyright infringement as criminal) and 27.6 (criminalising the circumvention of DRM). De Gucht had not, at the time of writing, specified whether these sections had also been removed from CETA.
Clancy also told ZDNet in a statement late on Tuesday that accusations of CETA being a "backdoor ACTA" were "simply rubbish".
"A future EU-Canada deal will be very similar to the South Korea deal already up and running for a year and that has not brought about the end of a free internet," Clancy said.