In the past few days, Germany, Latvia, and Lithuania have joined other European countries in halting the controversial ACTA treaty. The Economist and the Financial times are now saying that ACTA is as good as dead.
Germany has announce that it is holding off on signing ACTA until the EU Parliament has decided on ACTA. Some believe it’s just a ploy by Germany to appease protesters and that, once the protests die down, they will sign it.
Latvia’s Economy Minister, Daniels Pavluts, has said he will stop ratification of ACTA.
Pavļuts is set to ask the Ombudsman as well as other concerned ministries to provide a detailed explanation and analysis of the ACTA and its potential impact on the Latvian legislative framework for intellectual property rights, copyright law, human rights and fundamental freedoms.
“Despite the fact that the ACTA agreement took several years to be developed, still a number of community groups have raised concern, reflecting the public distrust in the state power and its organs. Such an attitude towards the government has developed in the recent years, because of the lack of a genuine dialogue between the power and the society. Restoring this confidence is a new task for the government,” Pavluts says.
Lithuania’s Minister of Justice, Remigijus Simasius, has also condemned ACTA as unnecessary.
The essence of my comment was that certain provisions of ACTA are new to our legal system (more severe punishment, more control of internet providing services) and I do not see why those provisions are necessary.
I have also stated that our life is more and more dependent on R&D, new inventions, creativity. Existing IP protection system, however, is more about protecting the IP protection industry than a protection of inventors and authors. Current debate worldwide is a clear sign that we have to re-evaluate the existing IP rights system.
While some are saying that there will be no ACTA, there is still a chance that the European parliament will pass ACTA, forcing countries who don’t want the treaty to be bound by it. It all comes down to how the different countries interpret the Lisbon Treaty [pdf]and whether or not they think they need to follow it.
The European Union should also take note that most of the countries that are questioning ACTA are Eastern European countries who know how agreements such as ACTA can play out. They also don’t have very close ties to the United States, who are pushing hard for ACTA worldwide.
The protest map for today may be an indication of why so many politicians are finally taking a serious look at what ACTA is and what it can do.
Photo from Reuters.