Now that Fight for the Future has announced victory in the fight against SOPA and PIPA – which turned out to be the largest online protest in history, with over 75 000 sites blacking out – people are celebrating. But there’s still a less known bill that has to get our attention, and quite fast too.
ACTA is a threat to fundamental rights and access to knowledge!
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a proposed plurilateral agreement for the purpose of establishing international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement. It would establish an international legal framework for countries to join voluntarily, and would create a governing body outside international institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or the United Nations. Negotiating countries have described it as a response ”to the increase in global trade of counterfeit goods and pirated copyright protected works.” The scope of ACTA includes counterfeit goods, generic medicines and copyright infringement on the Internet. Groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) oppose ACTA, stating that civil society groups and developing countries were excluded from discussion during ACTA’s development in an example of policy laundering.
- turn Internet operators into a private copyright police.
- impose harsh and unfair penalties on users and consumers.
- harm access to medicines and to essential knowledge in poor countries.
- inhibit innovation.
- establish new anti-democratic policy-making that bypass parliaments.