Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Massive Street Protests Wage War On ACTA Anti-Piracy Treaty

The world witnessed the largest offline protest against copyright legislation last saturday. Massive demonstrations against the draconian anti-piracy treaty ACTA  spanned four continents, with protests in more than 200 European cities alone. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to prevent their countries and the European Parliament from putting the free Internet at risk by ratifying ACTA,

Last month the European Union officially signed the controversial “anti-piracy” trade agreement ACTA.

The EU followed in the footsteps of Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States, who already signed it last October. This brings ACTA a step closer to passing, but individual EU member states and the European Parliament still have to ratify the treaty later this year.

To prevent this from happening, hundreds of thousands of people across the world are took to the streets, and millions more are expected to do their part online. In Europe demonstrations were held in more than 200 cities, the largest in Sofia, Bulgaria, with 10,000 participants.

These staggering numbers amount to the greatest offline protest against any type of copyright legislation, ever.

Thus far the anti-ACTA protests, which started in Poland a few weeks ago, haven’t been without result.

Several countries that were intended to ratify the treaty, have put their decision on hold. Poland was the first to cave in, followed by Slovakia, Czech Republic, Latvia, and yesterday Europe’s largest economy Germany backpedaled as well.

Within the European Parliament, whose members will vote on the ratification ACTA later this year, there is also a healthy resistance. In a guest article for TorrentFreak, parliament member Marietje Schaake urged fellow politicians to not let copyright law repress innovation.

“ACTA must not be passed. Let’s focus on reform to allow for the opportunities of the internet to bloom, instead of allowing outdated business models to limit the free market, and to criminalize audiences,” she wrote.

This demonstration shows that there’s a massive opposition against ACTA, and that hundreds of thousands of people are willing to take to the streets to defend a free and open Internet.

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