Feeds

European revolt over ACTA treaty gains ground

Poles stall, Slovenian ambassador calls for protests

The Power of One Infographic

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) treaty, signed by most European countries last week, may not be a done deal after all, as governments across the continent face a storm of protest.

One of the signatories, the Slovenian ambassador to Japan Helena Drnovsek Zorko, has issued an unprecedented public apology (it's worth reading the whole statement) for signing the treaty, saying she was only obeying orders and calling for public protests on Saturday to fight the ratification of the intellectual property agreement.

“I signed ACTA out of civic carelessness, because I did not pay enough attention,” she said, in a most undiplomatic display of honesty. “Quite simply, I did not clearly connect the agreement I had been instructed to sign with the agreement that, according to my own civic conviction, limits and withholds the freedom of engagement on the largest and most significant network in human history, and thus limits particularly the future of our children.”

She said that protests were planned in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana on Saturday, and urged the public to come and show their displeasure at the treaty and register a voice of protest. Similar demonstrations are planned in other European countries, including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Sweden and Switzerland.

Meanwhile, the Polish government has announced it is to suspend the ratification of the ACTA treaty, in light of public concern. Poland has seen some of the largest protests, with members of the parliament donning Guy Fawkes masks in protest, thousands of people taking to the streets across the country, and online attacks on the government.

"I consider that the arguments for a halt to the ratification process are justified," said Polish prime minister Donald Tusk, AFP reports. "The issue of signing of the ACTA accord did not involve sufficient consultation with everyone who is part of the process. The ACTA ratification process will be frozen as long as we haven't overcome all the doubts. This will probably require a review of Polish law. We can't rule out that, at the end of the day, this accord will not be approved."

The European Parliament (EP) is going to be the key to whether or not ACTA comes into law. While the European Commissioners have negotiated the treaty, the EP still has to ratify it, and can kill the treaty if it decides against ratification. So far, over 300,000 people have signed an online petition urging them to do just that. French EP member Kader Arif, who resigned in protest the day the treaty was signed, urged his fellow parliamentarians to reject ACTA.

"I see a great risk concerning checks at borders, and the agreement foresees criminal sanctions against people using counterfeited products as a commercial activity," he told The Guardian. "This is relevant for the trade of fake shoes or bags, but what about data downloaded from the internet? If a customs officer considers that you may set up a commercial activity just by having one movie or one song on your computer, which is true in theory, you could face criminal sanctions.”

“I don't want people to have their laptops or MP3 players searched at borders," Arif said. "There needs to be a clearer distinction between normal citizens and counterfeiters which trade fake products as a commercial activity. ACTA goes too far." ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.