ACTA Backlash Grows: Germany Delays Vote, Day of Global Protest Tomorrow

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Common Dreams

ACTA Backlash Grows: Germany Delays Vote, Day of Global Protest Tomorrow

Hundreds of cities have planned ACTA protests tomorrow

by
Common Dreams staff

The controversial international treaty known as ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, is seeing continued backlash as Germany has delayed its signing of the agreement while massive international protests against ACTA are planned for tomorrow.

As the BBC reports:

Germany has halted signing a controversial anti-piracy accord, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta), after the justice ministry voiced concerns.

A foreign ministry spokesperson told AFP that the delay was to "give us time to carry out further discussions".

Latvia also put off signing on Friday. Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have already delayed ratification.

* * *

Poland has been the site of a flurry of protests against ACTA, Agence France-Presse notes:

For weeks, the hub of discontent has been Poland, whose centre-right government last week pledged to freeze the ratification process after a storm of protest.

Observers underline that the issue strikes a chord like few others since the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.

"I haven't seen such major demonstrations in Poland for 20 years," Warsaw sociologist Adam Ostolski told AFP.

Since late January, thousands of mostly young Poles have taken to the streets nationwide brandishing anti-ACTA and anti-censorship banners.

They have sported the iconic mask of global "hacktivist" group Anonymous, which along with similar organisations has claimed lesson-teaching attacks on official websites.

* * *

Now, the protests are going international. ACTA opponents have called for a day of action on Saturday, Feb. 11. Stoppacta-protest.info has compiled a map of global protests planned for tomorrow:

 

View ACTA Protests Worldwide - Brought to you by stoppacta-protest.info in a larger map

The International Business Times reports that

more than 100 [protests] are planned in Europe alone on Saturday, Feb. 11, and an online petition to stop ACTA has already garnered nearly 2 million signatures.

RT adds this background:

On January 26, the controversial ACTA treaty was signed by the 22 of 27 European Union member states, and the EU itself. It now has to be ratified by the European Parliament and is scheduled to be debated in June.

ACTA is an international agreement aimed at protecting intellectual property. It shares similarities with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the US, which was shelved by lawmakers after a partial blackout by Wikipedia and Google in protest.

The ACTA treaty was negotiated by industrialized countries struggling for ways to fight intellectual property theft. The US, most of the EU, Australia, Canada, Japan and several other countries have signed the treaty.

 

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