Europeans Take to the Streets to Protest ACTA
Demonstrators believe ACTA will result in censorship and affect free speech.
Thousands of people across Europe took the streets this past weekend in anti-ACTA rallies. According to the BBC, significant marches against ACTA were held in Germany, Poland, and the Netherlands, while 200 protesters gathered in central London to voice their opinions. Those against ACTA believe that the agreement will harm free speech and that it is designed with only content creators in mind.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement has been largely criticized and garnered international attention following the high-profile anti-SOPA and anti-PIPA demonstrations earlier this year. ACTA has already been signed by numerous countries, including the United States (which signed it last October), and 22 EU member states. However, though the list of countries that have signed the agreement is long, it has not yet been ratified by any country.
The good news is that word from the Anti-ACTA camp finally seems to be getting through. The BBC reports that Germany last week revealed it would be delaying its signing of the agreement in order to "carry out further discussions." Similarly, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia have already delayed the process in their countries following pressure from Anti-ACTA supporters. What's more, ZDNet UK today reports that the president of the European Parliament has said that ACTA doesn't offer adequate protection for the rights of internet users in its current form.
"The necessary balance of... protection of copyright on the one hand, and [protection of] users' fundamental rights on the other, is not sufficiently established in this agreement. So, I think it's not good in its current form," he is quoted as saying.
Unfortunately, ACTA was finalized in November of 2010, following three years of development, so it can't be altered anymore.