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article imageDutch Parliament rejects Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

By Anne Sewell     May 29, 2012 in World
The Hague - It is official. The Dutch Parliament has rejected ACTA before the EU votes on the controversial treaty in June this year.
ACTA has been slammed by many as a threat to free speech and information access on the Internet.
Digital Journal reported last month that the EU might reject ACTA. Now Dutch MP's have ruled that the government in the Netherlands will never sign such an agreement.
MP Kees Verhoeven said today, "The treaty should be taken off table, whatever the decision the European Parliament should take."
A spokeswoman for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agricultural and Innovation, Lisa Neves Goncalves, said that the government had stated earlier in the year that it would not sign the treaty, until it was clear that it did not breach either the Dutch or EU constitution.
With the controversial bill slowly making its way through the EU Parliament, the French La Quadrature du Net, the Open Rights Group (ORG) and the U.K. Pirate Party, have been calling for more rallies against ACTA.
ORG said in a blog post, "The vote's this Thursday, in 3 of the Committees responsible for offering 'Opinions' on the treaty, will really affect whether the European Parliament ultimately rejects ACTA or not. It is important that your MEP understand people's concerns. And calling your MEP will help make this happen."
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.
In February, the EU suspended efforts to ratify the treaty after a storm of protest from thousands of activists all over Europe, who state that the treaty would stifle free speech.
22 countries in the EU bloc have signed up to the agreement, but have not yet ratified it. Ratification is set to happen in Brussels next month. This would be the last step to make ACTA viable and as soon as any 6 nations ratify, ACTA will come into force.
More about Acta, AntiCounterfeiting Trade Agreement, Dutch, Parliament, Holland
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