Internet freedoms under attack again: Act now!

Posted: January 27, 2012 by tallbloke in government

Most EU states sign away internet rights, ratify ACTA treaty
European Parliament observer resigns in protest

By Iain Thomson in San FranciscoGet more from this author

Posted in Government

Representatives of 21 of the EU’s member states, including the UK, have signed off on the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) – the European version of the US SOPA and PIPA rolled into one and cranked up to 11.

Only Cyprus, Germany, Estonia, Slovakia, and the Netherlands have held off on signing the treaty, which will give authorities even more power to enforce copyright than was contained in aforementioned online-piracy legislation currently on hold in the US.

n a signing ceremony in the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Mr. Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, head of the EU delegation, said in a statement that ACTA “aims to improve enforcement mechanisms to help its members combat IPR infringement more effectively.”

It seems he’s quite isolated in this opinion, however. Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Poland to protest the signing of the treaty, which was developed behind closed doors by media industry lobbyists and politicians, and hackers have been busy registering their protests online.

In an unprecedented move, the French European Parliament member assigned to monitor the treaty proceedings, Kader Arif, resigned in protest at the signings, and issued a strongly worded rebuke, saying that the EU was trying to have as little public debate on ACTA as possible, and that right-wing groups were trying to ram it into law with no oversight.

“This agreement might have major consequences on citizens’ lives, and still, everything is being done to prevent the European Parliament from having its say in this matter.

Read the rest at El Reg here.

I have previous experience of getting the EU Parliament to vote down ill considered blanket legislation. To make it happen we had to mobilise 40,000 motocyclists to go and camp outside Brussels and spend the saturday riding round and round the city streets, bringing the place to a halt. We told the EUrocrats we would be back every month to do the same unless they ditched the stupid legislation they were planning to impose.

They backed down.

It’s different with the internet. Whereas with the biking fraternity, we had grassroots organisations spread europe wide and a real physical presence, the internet community is far more widespread, but much less organised and motivated to defend their freedoms.

That will have to change quick or we’ll be crapped on by the corporate interests and their political lackeys. I propose we find out which corporates are behind this, and stop buying their stuff. One thing the internet does well is spread the word quickly. So let’s get to it.

MEP Roger Barton stands with the bikers against EU diktat in 1992 WE WON.

Intellectual property must be protected, but it should not be placed above individuals’ rights to privacy and data protection.

Peter Hustinx, European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), issued a report on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), claiming that it could prove unworkable under current European Union data protection laws.

ACTA is legislation laundering on an international level of what would be very difficult to get through most Parliaments

Stravros Lambrinidis, Member of European Parliament, S and D, Greece

The European Parliament has had no representation in ACTA negotiations. Just accepting or rejecting an agreement is not an exercise of democracy as under the Lisbon Treaty.

Zuzana Roithova, Member of European Parliament, EPP, Czech Republic

It is extremely regrettable that democratic debate has been eliminated from talks that could have a major impact on such a fundamental freedom as free expression.

Reporters without Borders, European Parliament Sakharov Prize Winners

Any measures concerning people’s right to go online need to be brought in through the proper democratic channels, not via self-regulation, and made into EU law

Andrea D?Incecco, public affairs manager from EuroISPA (Business association of European Internet Service Providers)

Third party liability for Internet Server Providers is like making the post office responsible for what is inside the letters they send.

Alexander Alvaro, Member of European Parliament, ALDE, Germany.

We can only assume that the final text could do great harm in developing countries and undermine the balance between the protection of intellectual property and the need to provide affordable medicines for poor people.

Rohit Malpani, OXFAM, from a press release criticising possible impact of ACTA.

We are in danger of ending up with the worst of both worlds, pushing IP rules, which are very effective at stopping access to life-saving drugs but are very bad at stopping or preventing fake drugs.

Michelle Childs of Médecins Sans Frontières, Nobel Peace Prize winners, has issued a very critical statement on ACTA.

Sign the Wellington declaration!

“ACTA is legislation laundering on an international level of what would be very difficult to get through most Parliaments”

Stravros Lambrinidis, Member of European Parliament, S and D, Greece

  1. kim2ooo says:

    I’m getting a broken link on the Wellington Decaration

  2. Brian H says:

    ‘You are signer #11703’

  3. george says:

    Please read this terrible tale of censorship happening right now in a supposed civilised country.

    Think please about the effect of allowing international power to the already overpowerful.

    “The Regional Court of Lille released its verdict yesterday Thursday Jan. 26, 2012 under an emergency ruling. “The Wall” is censored and banned. The court has ordered Sophie Robert to remove the speech of the three plaintiffs from her movie. Furthermore, the court orders Sophie Robert to withdraw her movie from the internet. Otherwise she will have to pay 100 EUR per day to the plaintiffs.”