As ACTA Gets Signed, Europeans Protest
At a ceremony in Tokyo, Japan, more members of the European Union signed ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement), ratifying the treaty for the countries that signed it. However, because the European Union parliament as yet to weigh in, ACTA is not currently binding, as in, it’s not a “global law,” yet, anyway.
Procedural processes aside, it’s clear there’s the treaty has a coalition of support as international governments race to apparently rescue the downtrodden entertainment industry, masked in a treaty of intellectual property protection. Speaking of masks, there has been some push-back from EU citizens in a number of areas, including Poland and France.
Polish citizens took to the streets to express their displeasure with the treaty, which some fear is even more dangerous than the recently-buried SOPA/PIPA bills. The protests, however, weren’t just on a citizen level either. Kader Arif resigned his position as primary ACTA rapporteur, and left the following biting statement in his native French, which was translated by La Quadrature Du Net:
“I want to denounce in the strongest possible manner the entire process that led to the signature of this agreement: no inclusion of civil society organisations, a lack of transparency from the start of the negotiations, repeated postponing of the signature of the text without an explanation being ever given, exclusion of the EU Parliament’s demands that were expressed on several occasions in our assembly.
As rapporteur of this text, I have faced never-before-seen manoeuvres from the right wing of this Parliament to impose a rushed calendar before public opinion could be alerted, thus depriving the Parliament of its right to expression and of the tools at its disposal to convey citizens’ legitimate demands.
Everyone knows the ACTA agreement is problematic, whether it is its impact on civil liberties, the way it makes Internet access providers liable, its consequences on generic drugs manufacturing, or how little protection it gives to our geographical indications.
This agreement might have major consequences on citizens’ lives, and still, everything is being done to prevent the European Parliament from having its say in this matter. That is why today, as I release this report for which I was in charge, I want to send a strong signal and alert the public opinion about this unacceptable situation. I will not take part in this masquerade.”
As an aside, it would be nice if other politicians were this forthcoming. Concerning the aforementioned citizen protests, as indicated, Poland was a noted hot spot of ACTA disagreement, something the lead image indicates quite well.
There’s also some video of the protestations:
Oddly enough, while the Guy Fawkes masks are indeed a nice touch, and fitting if you know the story of November 5th. That being said, do the mask-wearing supporters know they are giving financial support, however vicariously, to Time Warner every time one of the Fawkes mask is purchased?
It’s highly likely Time Warner would be considered an ACTA supporter.