SOPA Was Only the Beginning: ACTA Gets International Push Back

    January 29, 2012

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, 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, 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. 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!! 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. #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.