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article imageEU may reject Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)

By Anne Sewell     Apr 18, 2012 in World
After many protests in the streets of Europe, it looks like ACTA will not come into being. The Member of the EU Parliament responsible for monitoring its process says it should be rejected.
Digital Journal reported in February on the Europe-wide protests against ACTA. The protests appear to have had some success.
Euro MP David Martin, who is the latest rapporteur responsible for monitoring the progress of ACTA through the European Union, says it should be rejected.
Martin's comments come less than 3 months after the resignation of the previous rapporteur, Kader Arif in protest at the plans.
At that time, Kader Arif had said: "I want to denounce in the strongest possible manner the entire process that led to the signature of this agreement. As rapporteur of this text, I have faced never-before-seen manoeuvres from the right wing of this Parliament to impose a rushed calendar before public opinion could be alerted, thus depriving the Parliament of its right to expression and of the tools at its disposal to convey citizens' legitimate demands."
ACTA has caused anger amongst many Europeans with thousands protesting against it. ACTA would have the power of giving companies the power to ban people from using the internet for illegally swapping files. It would also prevent third world countries from receiving much needed generic medicines.
So far, 22 countries in the EU have signed up to the agreement and the final vote on its ratification is due to happen in Brussels this summer.
In an interview in the video above, Luke Samuel, a political commentator told RT that "the treaty exposed how undemocratic the decision-making process is in the EU."
“The real problem with ACTA, specifically, is how it shows that the European Union is effectively allowed to do politics without any reference to [its people]. This is not a piece of EU law, it’s a trade agreement that will bestow certain obligations on European countries to make law in certain ways.”
Samuel continued that the fact that EU governments had signed up to ACTA does not mean that the people of Europe have had any say in the agreement's provisions. He stated that this makes the whole process “fundamentally anti-democratic.”
A representative of the Pirate Group of German Parliament stated that public outrage will bring down this legislation.
Fabio Reinhardt stated to RT: “I think it’s great that hundreds of thousands of people were on the streets in Europe to [stop ACTA], and ACTA may [be shelved internationally]. I think it’s great for civil rights. I think it’s a phenomenon we haven’t seen before, that people were so eager to defend their rights, to communicate – something that really surprised politicians on various high levels.”
The draconian ACTA was created as an international agreement aimed at protecting intellectual property rights. The treaty is similar in many ways to the U.S.'s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which was shelved recently after a huge protest on the internet and worldwide.
Whilst ACTA has been signed by the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, most of Europe and several other countries, none of these signatories have yet ratified it.
This last step will happen in Brussels later this year and if ACTA is ratified by any 6 countries, it will come into power.
More about Acta, AntiCounterfeiting Trade Agreement, Internet censorship, Human Rights, Piracy
 

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