By now, especially in light of the SOPA/PIPA fallout, you’ve probably heard about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which is also lovingly known as ACTA. The international treaty, once ratified, is currently making its rounds through various European governments, even as citizens loudly protest its acceptance.
In case you are wondering why ACTA is getting so much negative attention from our European brethren, look no further than the video that’s leading this article. Uploaded by La Quadrature du Net, perhaps the epicenter of the anti-ACTA movement, the video does a fantastic job of very clearly pointing out why ACTA is such a potentially destructive piece of worldwide legislation.
An example, courtesy of the video:
“ACTA would give large corporations the power to stop generic drugs before they reach the people who need them.”
Considering we are all aware of how important a for-profit health system is, all way down to the prescription drug market, it’s easy to see why generic prescriptions are such a threat, isn’t that right Pfizer?
Sarcasm aside, perhaps a look at La Quadrature du Net position on ACTA will provide some additional insight:
ACTA is one more offensive against the sharing of culture on the Internet. ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) is an agreement secretly negotiated by a small “club” of like-minded countries (39 countries, including the 27 of the European Union, the United States, Japan, etc)… ACTA, a blueprint for laws such as SOPA and PIPA, would impose new criminal sanctions forcing Internet actors to monitor and censor online communications. It is thus a major threat to freedom of expression online and creates legal uncertainty for Internet companies. In the name of trademarks and patents, it would also hamper access to generic medicines in poor countries.
Apparently, access to generic medicine is a big deal to our European neighbors, but since it’s more important to force the sick to line the pockets of the non-generic prescription drug companies, it’s easy to see why ACTA is such an essential set of rules for the world to follow.