SOPA Was Only the Beginning: ACTA Gets International Push Back

    January 29, 2012
    Chris Richardson
    Comments are off for this post.

As we touched on earlier, as members of the European Union sign ACTA into something of an existence — it still requires ratification from the European Union parliament — various EU citizens have decided to fight back against ACTA. Unfortunately, while these protests are getting noticed, the ruling governments signed the treaty anyway.

While ACTA may not be as popular as the SOPA/PIPA bills were, it could impact the Internet in ways its American counterparts could not, which helps explain the international outcry against the treaty. If you haven’t read it, perhaps you should. Are you ready for another fight to protect the open nature of the Internet or was the SOPA standoff your stopping point? Let us know what you think.

At least the anti-SOPA protests resulted in positive results. With ACTA, it appears as if the complaints are falling on deaf ears. That being said, it hasn’t stopped people from donning Guy Fawkes masks and various other anti-ACTA paraphernalia to voice their displeasure. Citizens of Poland, for example, have been out in force in an effort to get their government to take notice, and while the Polish government has already issued a response, it’s fallen largely on deaf ears.

There’s a live feed of the Polish protests available at RT.com, but the feeling of these citizens is perhaps best captured with the following YouTube video, complete with subtitles:

There’s also a Google+ account called ACTA Protests, and it documents the current struggle quite well. Here, visitors are presented with another video explaining what ACTA is and the potential harm it represents:

Over at Avaaz.org, there’s a petition to be signed, and while ACTA is making its way through the European Union, U.S. citizens are invited to sign it as well. Avaaz’ goal is to reach 750,000 signatures, and the petition is currently close to breaking the 600,000 signatures mark.

The thinking is, if the outcry is loud enough, maybe these governments will sit up and take notice; although, considering all the governments that have already signed ACTA, these protests may not do any good until the EU parliament looks at the treaty, something it’s scheduled to do this summer.

Speaking of outcry, Twitter has, of course, weighed in on ACTA, and it’s easy to see the governments and the citizens they govern do not see eye-to-eye when it comes to Internet regulations. It should be noted that not all of the reactions have SFW language:

Obama has already signed ACTA. It is worse than SOPA/PIPA. No discussion. Laptops can be searched at borders. http://t.co/z71SzAi6(image) 1 hour ago via web · powered by @socialditto

A new really important petition to sign!!! this is a huge new international threat our internet #ACTA retweet this!! http://t.co/MXiIlYRp(image) 1 hour ago via Tweet Button · powered by @socialditto

Last RT comes with all the caveats about petitions, but we’ve got to try pretty much everything we can to stop #ACTA IMHO.(image) 4 minutes ago via web · powered by @socialditto

Sign the petition. http://t.co/yk5vcLCd #acta(image) 5 minutes ago via web · powered by @socialditto

Screw ACTA, you may censor me on the internet, but yous are fucked when i hit the streets, you will never take our right for free speech.(image) 5 minutes ago via web · powered by @socialditto

Demonstrations in Brussels and Paris tomorrow against #ACTA(image) 6 minutes ago via web · powered by @socialditto

Fuck ACTA! if Monsanto Polices the internet we are all gonna fucking die, that’s for damn sure. anyone who supports that company is wrong(image) 8 minutes ago via web · powered by @socialditto

If I’m not mistaken, the prevailing attitude is that ACTA can go perform adult acts on itself, at least where the citizens who will be governed by the treaty are concerned. Is this an opinion you share, or is ACTA a step in the right direction in relation to combating piracy? Share your thoughts on the matter.

  • http://generalopinions.com Bob

    Wow enough with all of theses threats against the internet. This is just getting ridiculous.

  • s heather

    i think it is going too far when the government can do what ever they want too with our on computers and everything else in our lives. i can see the war on terrorism but they carry it way too far i don’t think they should be allowed to interfer with our lives and freedom of speech. shame on the president for acting like he can control our speech

    • http://simpletrafficgeneratingstrategie.weebly.com/ Heather Mechelle

      Heather, you took the words right out of my mouth. I very much agree with you and feel strongly that the government is trying to take over everybody and what everyone does. Did you know that the gov is even talking about putting a tattoo or a chip in peoples wrist and using that as a form of ID?

      • http://simpletrafficgeneratingstrategie.weebly.com/ Heather Mechelle

        Oh and pretty soon, if the gov keeps it up, the declaration of independance will just be a thing of the past and will not, if it don’t already that is, matter to the gov.

      • tuls

        that sounds just like the bar code tattoo by suzanne weyn…about the gov using tattoos to id people.

    • spamexterminator

      That’s an interesting point. All these attacks on internet users freedoms surrounding the war on terror. Hmm?? Sounds a little more like the government has become the new terrorists of the internet. I think they had their warnings with SOPA and PIPA. I think maybe the American Government has forgotten that it’s By the people for the people. They also might want to think twice about turning the American People into their Enemies. There has been Civil wars in the past.

  • @Plurks

    Governments are already “snooping” our computers.
    There just trying to legalize it.
    In The Netherlands the government admitted that the AIVD (Dutch Secret Service) has the right to “investigate” computers if they suspect illegal activities. But how can you now they’ve searched your computer if it’s SECRET? So screw the ACTA, SOPA and PIPA bills. Let’s support the only group that can make a difference: Anonymous

  • http://www.thecollectorshub.com The Collectors Hub

    Until we can get money out of politics, we’ll see more and more laws that benefit big corporations and the mega-wealthy. There’s a very thin line between lobbying and bribery.

    • Richard Daniels

      I would put it a bit stronger: there is no line between lobbying and bribery. It is not that this is something new, but somehow we managed to get a bunch of stupid heads in the governments who are not smart enough to keep it out of the papers. Idealism in governments went out the window a long time ago.

    • Watching the Wheels

      All the various socially stratafied words have the same meanings. “Society” just CHOOSES to say that certain strata are allowed to do said acts and make other ones illegal.

  • http://www.20tipsto.com Jali

    Hopefully ACTA will get positive result too as SOPA.

  • http://www.nechtymichelle.sk Všetko pre gélové nechty

    Anonymous has a very big support from the people all around the world. ACTA, SOPA, PIPA or whatever comes up next, all of them can go to hell!
    Lets protect our freedom!

  • http://www.bestonlinedatingsite.us jeannette

    Oh my God! What is this world coming into? How can we help fight this bill? Why can’t these Governments crawl in a hole and drown and their mucus:(:(

  • http://iwebresults.com Cary

    Europe has led in the way in some strict regulations like the alimentary codex, which has been denounced by many healthcare practitioners for limiting access to supplements.

  • http://www.sound-offpromotions.com Kevin

    It’s really time the worthless entertainment industry ceo’s in LA/New York and else where start working for a living. The music industry is losing money because of pure laziness, Hollywood is losing money because of a HUGE lack of real creativity over all. If these twits would get off their lazy asses and use what’s left in their heads to come up with better marketing ideas then maybe just maybe they could embrace what’s going on with the internet world.

  • http://www.bestonlinedatingsite.us jeannette

    It is obvious that the end is near because war is everywhere, even in places we never thought possible,and hence we have to surrender our troubles to Jesus, and hopefully these anti-peace will drown in their mucus=)

    • Barry

      Jesus (or any other person living in Judea 2000 or so years ago for that matter) has f**k all to do with this problem. Go back to a fundy site and leave sensible people alone to discuss the adult stuff

      • Bruce

        Barry, u r so ignorant boi! so ignorant. Jesus has got to do with everything that is happening. U call yourself “sensible” What sense are you making?

        • BunmiE

          Thanks Bruce.. I simply love Jeannette’s view, and it takes someone with real insight/ foresight/ hindsight to add real issues together!
          we fight ACTA all we can, while we can

    • http://freefafsagov.com/ Dawn @ FAFSA

      Amien to that!

  • http://barryrdgers.com Barry

    As this internet evolved from a military model, I say, let them have it. lets develop a new internet.

    • spamexterminator

      That would be nice but unfortunately your not quite understanding how the internet works. For that to happen 1 You would have to put a series of satellites in orbit(last I heard it was like in the billions per satellite so you would have to have big corporations backing you). 2 You would have to do it with government approval(or they would just shoot them down) and 3 You would then have to create hardware for the users to connect to those satellites(which is also very expensive). Seeing how it’s the big corporations that’s the problem with the internet, I really don’t think it would be a feasible possibility for the private sector to ever accomplish it’s very own internet.

  • Pat

    Its clear Governments are realizing that they can’t control us and keep us all in the little boxes they want.

    Hence internet controls to regulate and watch over us.

    We have an inherent right to freedom of speech. They have tried to bludgeon us with spurious use of copyright and more to further corporate greed.

    We must stand up against the governments so that we have the freedom to express our opinions and more. End this assault on our rights now. GFAM !

  • Anonymous

    The bigger they aré the harder they fall! No worries, big money doesnt know it but they aré shooting themselfs in the foot! People will migrate to freedom, Where Ever it may be and if needed will die for it!

  • Dave

    ACTA, SOPA, and PIPA… How long will it be before somebody names their kids after these?… 😛

  • http://www.idesthost.nl W.E. Jonk

    About ISP’s filtering traffic in the EU: Recently the Court of Justice says it is not allowed. http://goo.gl/kyiVv

    Let hope courts do not change their minds.

  • sagatom

    I’ll keep fighting.

  • Boo Boo

    Its a war, there’s no other word for it. Big content and government are waging a blitz on the internet and all that use it.
    Something has been decided behind the scenes and PIPA / SOPA / ACTA etc are designed to smash the web as we know and love it , to spread fear among individuals and companies.When people are scared they can be controlled. Ask any tyrant.
    Fight back. This is just beginning.

    • spamexterminator

      I’ve been thinking that same thing It’s like the united sates Government has declared a digital war on it’s own citizens well and of course the rest of the world too. I think the best response to a war of digital ignorance would be a unified and organized… well, blackout so to speak. Everyone that uses the internet and is against these attacks on our freedoms should schedule (in private) a 1 week blackout just to show these morons exactly how damaging those Bills will be to the internet. I mean everyone Websites, ISP’s, and User’s all in one conjoined movement. If the internet was to shut down for one week they would actually notice how much damage it would do to their pocket books and with a warning, next time the blackout will last a full month they will have very little choice but to give up their efforts.

  • http://www.4some.info SamsonDelila

    First PIPA, SOPA and now ACTA …
    Go to hell for them all !

  • http://www.ipnostudio.com Andrea

    Well in Europe and especially in Italy it is becoming a sort of tradition or common use to pass laws like ACTA without citizens having a chance to debate. Figure that in Italy we didn’t even have the chance to say yes or no to joining EU. After the last treaty has been not accepted by people Europe has gone the way to never ask anymore for citizens vote, or at least that’s the idea. Results could go against predictions.

    Democracy is quickly becoming an empty word here in Europe, I mean real democracy obviously, and all Europe seems to follow the dictates of a puppetmaster, or a group of puppetmasters well above fake governments who especially in Italy seem to follow other directives than the wellbeing of citizens.

    I don’t know what will happen to ACTA but I guess we’ll stop it as we did with SOPA, even if we all know corporations won’t surrender and find another way to threaten freedom on the net even if we keep on watching.

    What I know is that ACTA will surely pass in Italy without notice or debates because unfortunately as citizens we count 0.

    Then given who proposed ACTA it’s pretty obvious to see who this law will benefit right?

    Also I think the timing between SOPA and ACTA was well thought in the effort that the world looked at SOPA without noticing ACTA which has been approved without any problem. The real goal of SOPA was to get ACTA approved, it was like a smoke screen and it worked.

  • Gregg

    Wow, the very politicians who’s very food and clothing WE pay for are taking away our freedom bit by bit.

    You assholes work for US, THE PUBLIC – who are the ones paying for yout toilet paper, your car, your prostitutes and your expensive drinks. Without us you are NOTHING.

    Politicians continue for the most part to be the anus of society, and they prove it repeatedly by stabbing the public in the back.

    I have no doubt that these pathetic single-braincelled morons are taking sizeable ‘donations’ from the entertainment industry for their efforts.

    It’s all about the money, which makes it even worse that the anuses are happy to take OUR money AND theirs, and then screw us over.

    • spamexterminator

      Here here, nicely put. I wonder what they would do if the American people decided created a new government to cancel the old one.

  • Shawn Snarski

    It’s one thing when piracy is the focus and the concern. At this point, the proposed (and new) legislation target far more than piracy.

    Cut your ties to the corporate word and they will fall. Buy from local family farmers and enjoy entertainment at your local bar or pub.

    Cancel cable TV, netflix, and stop shopping at WalMart.

    I have shifted nearly all of my spending to supporting local families and non-corporate products long ago to do my part in buckling mega-corp at it’s knees.

    These latest blatant attempts by powerful morons to control the masses has spurred the masses into protest, yet people still watch movies and follow the latest Bieber trends, while dining at “the arches” and sipping on coke.

    These mega corps only got there from customers and investors. It is up to those customers and investors to revoke their financial votes for mega-corp and return the world to sanity.

    • Boo Boo

      Here here , if we all do this they will fall.

  • Lisa Bracken

    As I discuss in my book (You And What Army? How to Neutralize Conflict and Negotiate Justice for the Totally Outgunned Inwardly Timid, Burnt Out or Socially Defunct), a government and its policies are only as legitimate at it is capable of withstanding dissent. The minute any governing framework can no longer withstand controversy and debate – along with the free speech that carries it – it renders itself irrelevant. Unfortunately, the longer such a structure resists evolving itself in tandem with its evolving society, the more at risk it puts itself of implosion and social break down. It is truly tragic that our own democratic tradition is succumbing to such a state.

  • eyes open

    when the world saw the u.s. gov take down megaupload without sopa or pipa being in existence, our suspicions were confirmed: sopa, pipa AND acta are ONLY power-grabs by the elite and nothing more!!!

    we need to get laws on the books prohibiting crap like sopa, pipa, acta and etc from being legal. OH WAIT we already have those laws but they’re being ignored!!

    we need judges who aren’t corrupt to get rid of acta and we need people to get rowdy so the power elite realize we’re on to them and NOT going away like they keep hoping we will.

  • http://www.captaincyberzone.com CaptainCyberzone

    As a U.S. citizen I’m deeply concerned with the way the 0bama Administration is subverting the Constitution and centralizing power. It all seems directed at complete population control by “The State”. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was sneaked-in this past New Year’s Eve … it allows for U.S. Citizens to be arrested and held, with-out charges, indefinitely. The U.S. military and local big city Police are holding joint exercises. Why?
    These so-called, spontaneous, “Occupy” movements are “practicing” acts of civil unrest or are they really practicing to be the catalyst for something more nefarious like Marshal Law. Those who lived history or study history know that Regimes like the Nazis and Communists went this route.
    The U.N. is also, at the same time, enacting, in the absence of a spotlight, “Agenda 21” (worth looking up).
    Something is afoot and the “Masses” are being kept in the dark.
    I do believe that SOPA/PIPA/ACTA are all a part of “the darkness” in the guise of a cure for a crisis. Are these the beginnings of limiting our means of communication … complete (World-wide) State control?

  • Rob W

    ACTA = scumbag dictators!

  • Poland

    People from Poland started revolution. Now we must aid them in our countries. Otherwise democracy soon will turn into slavery.

  • Ken

    Our goverments no longer represent us. Our leaders are misleading. Our religions are not going to save us. Our schools are failing the grade. Only we can save ourselves through freedom of information. The internet makes that freedom possible. Censoring it would be as chains to slaves.

  • Espen K. Antonsen

    I dont think this is a bad thing for the internet or humanity. Your right to say what you want will still be possible but you will maybe more limited visually compared until now. This law challenges our creativity. But I agree with the issue of that the controlfreaking development within the government can get to critical about what is a copy or not. Another thing is that when you make a duplicate of a digital file it actually get a bit less detailed compared to the original. But its so litle that it isnt possible to see. Another principle of the original and the copy is that the FIRST file made or put out there to look at or download is the original. When you access a website the first thing your browser is doing is downloading the images as duplicates from the server to a tempfile folder on your computer. So I think this ACTA law must be what you do online and how you behave with what you see there.

  • http://www.seonorthamerica.com Tom Aikins

    The more that governments try to censor and control the internet the more problems they will be creating for themselves. People in power just don’t seem to understand the new paradigm that the internet represents: freedom of information. It’s not surprising that they don’t understand it since most of them are pretty f***ing dumb to begin with and in addition to that they have no vision. Information used to belong to and be controlled by a small number of people. No more. Governments consider this dangerous and are using anti-piracy excuses to try to impose various forms of censorship. It won’t work. The genie is out of the bottle and will never go back. A question that should now be asked of every politician running for office is where they stand on internet freedom.

    • spamexterminator

      I can see how they would find it dangerous. After all they are currently at risk uniting the entire world against them and the internet is a perfect medium for that to take place.

  • http://www.jsquirrel.com/ Wolf Halton

    It is fascinating that while last year’s Arab Spring uprisings had a huge effect in many countries where authoritarian totalitarianism has been the norm, democracy is under attack from corporate interests which believe that the best way to make more money is to stifle speech and dissent.

    • http://onepagearticles.com Wayne Tully

      The governments don’t even know what they are doing all the time anyway, so them trying to get this into being is just so wrong This is the start of the end of days if the Internet gets buggered then the world will be buggered too.

      Freedom of speech and a free internet is what makes most peoples lifes happy. Sure cut down on copyright and things like that but this isn’t the way to do it. How are they going to police this anyway?

      Governments ruin all our fun!

  • http://www.pozible.com/index.php/archive/index/4186/description/0/0 Ralph

    Governments fear technology as they know this will rid us of many jobs and taxes for them. We are in a age where we can learn everything online and don’t need universities, schools etc. My belief is we can run society on integrity. Integrity of product, people, governments, businesses etc. Balance it with the value (integrity) of the earth so we survive. WE DO NOT NEED MONEY and do not need governments telling us what to do!
    Technology can do most of our jobs and alot of the jobs are pointless ones robbing people of money like banks, insurance companies etc. Greedy people and governments are robbing us and dictating to us so they stay in power.
    http://www.pozible.com/index.php/archive/index/4186/description/0/0 – WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD AND THE INTERNET IS THE START OF BIG THINGS WITH FREEDOM!

  • http://www.cleverenglish.comze.com Gerardo

    Of course Internet should, by all means, be kept free. Any minimum effort to put hurdles by crooks in top level positions should be attacked and destroyed immediately. Every individual with a healthy mind and a minimum of culture and vision will join forces in favor of freedom in and outside Internet. I think we also have a lot healthy people in top level positions. the balance of power is in our favor. But we should keep alert.

  • http://valuesprite.com BW@Make-Money-Online

    It seems that we have become quite complacent in our western democracies. We need more protests and to use our vote strategically.

  • Nemo Adesti

    Forget the ‘Arab Spring’, the time has come for the ‘Western Awakening’. How much longer are we going to sit around, wringing our hands and whining abut the way our freedoms are being eroded? Get up, wake up, and start taking DIRECT ACTION. In the defence of freedom from tyranny, cleptocracies, ANYTHING is permissable. After all, they are quite happy to use lethal force against us!

  • Sam Vig

    Why don’t these guys just UNPLUG the net and then we can be hurled back to the stone age….

  • ktktlyn

    ACTA ,drop dead….!!!

  • Clive

    Stop trying to silence the vast majority of people on this planet. You are not incharge we are!

  • Anti-ACTA

    The best way to deal with this sort of privacy intrustion is to not visit the countries whose governments signed the treaty. Tourism keeps them going. No tourism dollars = no power.

  • Mike Ryzak

    I hate the fact users of internet must be punished by any government thats see freedom of speech freedom of information as a threat. Stop with internet policeing. Leave our internet ALONE. GET OUT AND STAY OUT.!!!!!

  • Mark

    The amazing thing about web and government is governments had no idea of the impact and years later countries are free because of the internet connecting so many people with the TRUTH.

  • http://greengoodsguide.com Green Goods Guide

    You asked, “Is this an opinion you share, or is ACTA a step in the right direction in relation to combating piracy?” You ask that as if Piracy is an actual PROBLEM instead of a crisis that was invented and then promoted by the Media Corporations, a classic textbook case of Shock Doctrine tactics to get favorable legislation pushed through. The big media companies are the ones who were pushing the filesharing software through their subsidiaries such as download.com, and in such a way that teens were the biggest target. I think you should do some more digging on this, Chris. The story here is much deeper than what you’ve reported.

  • http://pilobilus.net Steve

    Sadly, this kind of thing is inevitable. Intellectual Property lawyers, all of whom are “criminal attorneys” in the most derogatory sense of the title, get paid big money by Big Content to lie, lie, and lie to them, spinning fairly tale stories about destroying the public Internet in order to bring back the “economics of scarcity” and “high economic entry barriers” for audio and video content.

    Then Big Content pays lobbyists to lie, lie, and lie some more to legislators, while dispensing handsome bribes.

    By the time the public knows what is going on and rises by the millions to push back, the whole job is already done: All the checks have been cashed, and three classes of parasite – IP lawyers, Lobbists, and Politicians – have fed off their bloated host, Big Content. As I said, this is inevitable – so, bring it on.

    At the end of the day, we will either preserve the Internet in more or less its present condition, or add a very large Darknet component that facilitates ALL manner of free speech, copyright infringement, and even real criminal behavior. Since this latter option is probably not an acceptable outcome, even for politicians, I am betting on the Internet to remain mostly as it is today. But I am not betting much, because politicians do keep proving to us how ignorant and easily led they are…

    • TheUser

      …by led u mean bribed. Right?

  • http://www.billwynne.com Bill Wynne

    Quoting Jerry Garcia, “What a long strange trip its been”.
    Are we heading towards an Orwellian society or what?

  • TheUser

    Outrageous! If Obama keeps it up I’ll have to skip voting this year entirely. It’s not like I’m gonna vote for any of those other tards… Soon I won’t know which lesser evil to pick. Time to move to Canada or Switzerland :-/

  • Keith Jackson

    This bill is wrong! This bill is stupid! This bill is taking away our freedoms on the internet! I think they’re trying to take us back to the dark ages years before the internet was even invented! So, that’s why we need to stop this this ACTA bill and tell Congress we want our internet back!

  • http://cheapshit.ro synapse

    SOPA/PIPA and ACTA are dust in the wind. They are meant to keep us busy. The real shit is closer to the fan that we can imagine. We shall look for alternatives to the big fat internet. New networks. New ways to share information. Let’s get real for a momment. Why would anybody want to have a sterile network? what would be the use for it? The internet now is an organic electronic being that has tumors and fun and beauty. But if we could split the network in to art and comerce and fun and education and filth/garbage maybe the network will grow different. but then again most of the beauty of the network is the diversity of it.
    We need to grow up, change the tactics. Otherwise there is going to be more from the SOPA and PIPA parents. maybe, just maybe if we all concentrate our efforts and fight the system we can create a better world, remember this next time you go to vote.