Opposition has been mounting worldwide to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which would creative a new set of international standards for enforcing so-called “intellectual property” rights. Many opponents see the provisions of the agreement as threatening the integrity of the Internet by promoting censorship and criminalizing everyday online activities.
It was reported on Friday that Germany has delayed its signing of the agreement, joining Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Latvia in displaying doubts about the measure. The Polish government’s decision was particularly noteworthy for having been prompted in part by street protests and online attacks by Anonymous.
The treaty has been gaining increasing attention since a recent wave of online protests in the U.S. against the Stop Online Piracy Act, to which ACTA has many similarities. An additional source of outrage against ACTA, however, is that it was negotiated in secret.
A worldwide day of anti-ACTA protests is planned for Saturday. According to the International Business Times, “More than 100 are planned in Europe alone on Saturday, Feb. 11, and an online petition to stop ACTA has already garnered nearly 2 million signatures. Protesters have been galvanized in their efforts to stop the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement by recent developments that suggest the treaty may be losing international support just two weeks after 22 European Union member states signed it. ”
The current focus of the protests in in Europe, where the European Parliament is due to vote on the measure in June. Even in the United States, however, an anti-ACTA petition at whitehouse.gov currently has over 42,000 signatures.
Photo: Screencap of Google map of February 11 protests posted by stoppacta-protest.info
Muriel Kane is an associate editor at Raw Story. She joined Raw Story as a researcher in 2005, with a particular focus on the Jack Abramoff affair and other Bush administration scandals. She worked extensively with former investigative news managing editor Larisa Alexandrovna, with whom she has co-written numerous articles in addition to her own work. Prior to her association with Raw Story, she spent many years as an independent researcher and writer with a particular focus on history, literature, and contemporary social and political attitudes. Follow her on Twitter at @Muriel_Kane
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