Archive for the ‘ACTA’ Category

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See  article from  torrentfreak.com
See  article from  publicaffairs.linx.net

European Parliament logoIn a 478 to 39 vote, the European Parliament decided to reject ACTA once and for all.

Six months ago, it was all but certain that ACTA would pass unnoticed in silence. The forces fighting for citizens’ rights tried to have it referred to the European Court of Justice in order to test its legality and to buy some time. But then, something happened.

A monster by the name of SOPA appeared in the United States. Thousands of websites went dark on January 18 and millions of voices cried out, leaving Congress shell-shocked over the fact that citizens can get that level of pissed off at corporate special interests. SOPA was killed.

In theory, ACTA could still come into force between the United States and a number of smaller states. Ten states have been negotiating it, and six of those need to ratify it to have it come into force. In theory, this could become a treaty between the United States, Morocco, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, and Switzerland. (But wait, the Mexican Senate has already rejected ACTA. As has Australia and Switzerland in practice.

The European Commissioner responsible for the treaty, Karel de Gucht, has said that he will ignore any rejections and re-table it before the European Parliament until it passes. That’s not going to happen. Parliament takes its dignity very seriously and does not tolerate that kind of contempt.

In the wake of the rejection vote, EuroISPA, An organisation of ISPs at the European level, said:

EuroISPA and its members welcome the European Parliament’s decision to call for a more balanced approach in the protection of the fundamental rights at stake when the EU negotiates international treaties. The European Parliament found that the intended benefits of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) were far outweighed by the potential threats to civil liberties and the legal uncertainties about the role of Internet Service Providers in enforcing intellectual property rights.

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Via press release from socialistsanddemocrats.eu

European Parliament logoDavid Martin, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), has announced that he will recommend that Parliament votes against this controversial trade agreement because it does not provide enough guarantees for citizens.

Martin made this announcement at the end of a public debate organised by the Socialist & Democrats (S&D) Group in the European Parliament with representatives of industry, NGOs, unions, internet groups and citizens concerned about the effects of implementing ACTA. David Martin said:

Today’s conference has confirmed my suspicion that ACTA raises more fears than hopes.

What it delivers in terms of important intellectual property rights is diminished by potential threats to civil liberties and internet freedom.

When the European Parliament rejects ACTA, the Commission must work to find other ways to defend European intellectual property in the global marketplace.

The president of the S&D Group, Euro MP Hannes Swoboda, fully supported Martin’s decision. He said:

Next week, at our upcoming group meeting, I will recommend to all Socialists and Democrats to reject ACTA.

It will be important to find a way to solve standing problems through a transparent process and in a way whereby freedoms of Internet users will not be further restricted.

S&D vice-president Sylvie Guillaume said:

This conference has once again confirmed our fears about the potential risks of a text like this for the fundamental liberties of European citizens. It’s not a question of whether we should fight counterfeiting and piracy, but in this case, and given the legal uncertainty and doubts surrounding this Agreement, it is not acceptable.

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See article from bbc.co.u

European Court of JusticeThe European Union’s highest court has been asked to rule on the legality of a controversial anti-piracy agreement.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta) has been criticised by rights campaigners who argue it could stifle free expression on the internet.

EU trade head Karel De Gucht said the court will be asked to clarify whether the treaty complied with the EU’s fundamental rights and freedoms.

The European Commission said it decided today to ask the European Court of Justice for a legal opinion to clarify that the Acta agreement and its implementation must be fully compatible with freedom of expression and freedom of the internet.

Several key countries, including Germany and Denmark, have backed away from the treaty amid protests in several European cities. Acta is set to be debated by the European Parliament in June.

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See article from theregister.co.uk

kader arifThe Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) treaty, signed by most European countries last week, has generated considerable protest. This has sparked at least one signatory to have a deeper  think about what they actually signed up for.

The Slovenian ambassador to Japan, Helena Drnovsek Zorko, has issued an unprecedented public apology for signing the treaty, saying she was only obeying orders and was now supporting the public protests against the treaty. She sdmitted:

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.

The Polish government has announced it is to suspend the ratification of the ACTA treaty, in light of public concern. Polish prime minister Donald Tusk said:.

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.

French European Parliament 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.

[And if you doubt what Arif is saying you only have to look to Britain for an example of EXACTLY what Arif fears. The British Parliament deliberately targeted its anti porn laws at commercial suppliers rather than customers. Yet the British authorities corrupted the law and deemed that giving a dodgy video to your mate was in fact commercial supply. They argued that commercial ‘gain’ could be as minimal as just the satisfaction of doing your mate a good turn].

Protest

See article from openrightsgroup.org

Open Rights Group logoThe Open Rights Group are supporting a demonstration against ACTA, which will take place in central London on Saturday, on 11th February. It has been planned to coincide with demonstrations across Europe, when a chorus of thousands of discontented voices will speak as one against over-reaching Internet laws.

The aim will be to tell as many people as possible what’s going on by distributing leaflets and asking those who are worried to contact their MEPs.

People will be meeting at UK Music’s offices, 27 Berners St, Paddington, central London at 2pm. The Open Rights Group will help supply what can only be described as brilliant leaflets and fabulous t-shirts. Then the idea is to split up into small teams and head off to spread the word.