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. Already signed by numerous countries, opponents believe the treaty will harm free speech and are fighting to have their countries reexamine the bill. Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia, and Slovakia have said they are delaying their signing of the agreement in order to carry out further discussions. Similarly, Bulgaria, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Latvia have delayed the process in their countries following pressure from Anti-ACTA supporters. Today we learn that the European Commission will be referring ACTA to the European Union's highest court.
According to the BBC, EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht said today that the European Court of Justice had been asked to study the bill to see if it violated "the EU's fundamental rights and freedoms."
"Let me be very clear: I share people's concern for these fundamental freedoms... especially over the freedom of the internet," De Gucht is quoted as saying. "This debate must be based upon facts, and not upon the misinformation and rumour that has dominated social media sites and blogs in recent weeks."
ACTA has already been signed by 22 EU member states, as well as the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea. Those against ACTA believe that the agreement will harm free speech and that it is designed with only content creators in mind. Though it has been signed by many countries, no one has ratified the treaty yet. European Parliament is set to debate ACTA in June.