The dreaded Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) nudged forward on Thursday as the governments of 22 EU nations, along with the EU itself, signed on the dotted line in a ceremony in Tokyo (I posted an introductory video about the agreement earlier here). The remaining governments are expected to sign in the near future, after which all the major negotiation parties have signed the treaty.
This does not, however, yet mean that the agreement will take effect, as it still needs to be ratified in both the national parliaments and the European parliament. The vote in the European parliament is expected to be held in June, and a “no” in Brussels would apparently moot any decisions made in national parliaments. So, this gives us still some time to rally against the agreement. In Poland, tens of thousands of people have already taken to the streets earlier this week to protest against the signing of the treaty (this, of course, did not stop the Polish representative from going ahead and signing anyway).
In other interesting news, a French MEP in charge of investigating the agreement for the European parliament has resigned from his position, denouncing the non-transparency of the negotiation process, calling the whole process a “charade”. It looks like significant opposition to the agreement is finally rising in Europe. What we need now is relentless campaigning to push ACTA into the mainstream political discourse. The copyright industry and their stooges have done their utmost to slip the agreement through without anybody noticing, but we can make sure this is not going to happen. We won the SOPA/PIPA battle and we can win this one too.
As Rick Falkvinge points out, the promoters of the agreement have shown to be perfectly willing to lie through their teeth to push it through, so we need to counter this by distributing correct information in the media and also straight to the relevant parliamentarians. Here are some useful sources on ACTA:
- An analysis of ACTA by FFII
- ACTA dossier from La Quadrature du Net
- Opinion on the compatibility of ACTA with the European Convention on Human Rights & the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
- ACTA and Access to Medicines
- MEP Christian Engström on ACTA
- Techdirt: What Is ACTA And Why Is It A Problem?
- Wired: What is Acta and why should you be worried about it?
- Analysis by EDRI
- A printable booklet on ACTA by EDRI
- A large collection of information and links on ACTA
EDRI has also put together a good howto for campaigning against ACTA with contact information for MEPs:
For those who are on Twitter, here’s an easy tool for tweeting MEPs:
La Quadrature du Net also has a howto:
Stopacta.info offers an infobox on ACTA for your website:
Then there’s this site set up by Polish activists:
Finally, there’s this petition that you can sign:
And another petition:
And yet another petition for the British: