I’ve written before about many European countries taking a stand against ACTA. Today, four more countries join in opposition of passing the controversial trade agreement. Austria, Bulgaria, and The Netherlands have stood up and agreed that ACTA needs to be seriously rethought and possibly scrapped altogether.
Two million people are already supporting an online petition against the international anti-piracy agreement. It would undermine the privacy, Internet service providers should provide the authorities of private data from users. “People are confused,” Interior Minister recognizes Johanna Mikl-Leitner (VP), the sign of the times and today announced over a veto on the ratification of the Council of Ministers on ACTA.
Now the European Parliament on the train. On 12 June in Brussels on ACTA entschieden.Auch the local Social Democratic Party faction opposes ACTA. If the contract in the EU do not find a majority, he would have to be confirmed in this country in the National Council. “The freedom of the Internet is for us young ones a very valuable asset,” says VP-Secretary Sebastian Kurz.Auch he wants ACTA shelve.
Bulgaria, who also originally signed ACTA, have said they are freezing the ratification of the agreement after numerous protests against it.
Bulgaria will not ratify the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement over fears it will curb freedom to download movies and music for free and encourage internet surveillance, economy minister Traicho Traikov said on Tuesday.
Bulgaria’s Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov says Sofia will not ratify the agreement until the EU member states elaborate a joint position on the document.
So, Bulgaria, like Germany, awaiting the decision of the EU Parliament, but they appear firmly on the side of abandoning ACTA. The Netherlands also haven’t signed the treaty and it looks like they aren’t planning on it any time soon.
They only intend to change this position if there’s irrefutable evidence that it doesn’t violate basic human rights.
Right now this is certainly not the case, as professors Douwe Korff and Ian Brown examined ACTA’s compatibility with human rights and concluded:
“Overall, ACTA tilts the balance of IPR protection manifestly unfairly towards one group of beneficiaries of the right to property, IP right holders, and unfairly against others.”
“It equally disproportionately interferes with a range of other fundamental rights, and provides or allows for the determination of such rights in procedures that fail to allow for the taking into account of the different, competing interests, but rather, stack all the weight at one end. “
“This makes the entire Agreement, in our opinion, incompatible with fundamental European human rights instruments and -standards.”
Again, The Netherlands is looking into it and, if it doesn’t violate basic human rights, the would sign it.
The European Commission is even advising that a partial retreat be taken on ACTA.
The minutes of the meeting, Which have been Obtained by EDRI, say that the head of cabinet Described the “strong mobilization” against the agreement by “Certain NGOs and movements active on the Internet” and stated that a referral of the Agreement to the Court of Justice is being considered. It is noteworthy that the only suggestion is to check the compatibility of ACTA with primary EU law. Such a referral, Depending on how it is framed, risks being quite vague and may not lead to a comprehensive response. However, any broadly Favourable response from the Court would most certainly be used to push through the agreement, on the basis that the ruling “Proves” that there is no problem.
The head of cabinet added that it is Necessary to instigate a period of reflection on how the EU should position itself on this issue and to make an effort to go beyond the argument that growth in the digital economy is only possible with adequate protection of intellectual property . The Secretary General of the Commission closed the discussion by saying the Commission would return to the dossier in due course, after a “period of reflection thorough.”
Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission and EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, is also backing a review of ACTA before it proceeds any further.
she states “for me, blocking the Internet is never an option” and goes onto argue the current situation “can and must not be changed by the ACTA agreement”.
“I therefore welcome the intention of several members of the European Parliament to ask the European Court of Justice for a legal opinion to clarify that the ACTA agreement cannot limit freedom of expression and freedom of the Internet.”
If these lawmakers had not taken it upon themselves to vote for such agreements in secret, actually read the documents they were voting on, and considered the people they are supposed to represent, we would be having riots and demonstrations and ACTA would either never have been signed or a different version would have emerged. Now, there is a mess that needs to be cleaned up and those who were supposed to uphold the law are scrambling to figure out what they should do.
Mitchell Baker, the Chair of the Mozilla Foundation, has come out strongly against ACTA as well.
One aspect of the controversy about ACTA is the closed process where only a tiny subset of people affected by the law were allowed to participate. Another great controversy is about the actual content of ACTA. We know that the goal of stopping unauthorized access to digital content can lead to very dangerous results. The proposed SOPA and PIPA legislation in the U.S made this abundantly clear. This is an area where even good intentions can lead to imbalanced and dangerous results.
More people are learning about ACTA. If they can put the pressure on like they did with SOPA/PIPA, there’s a very real chance that ACTA will never be ratified or enacted. The pressure just needs to be applied continually until June when the EU Parliament decide the matter.
Photo from Heute.at.