ACTA global protests set for February 11th

ACTA global protests set for February 11th

After the successful campaigns which at least temporarily derailed SOPA and PIPA, an international critical mass is building against The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), a controversial trade agreement that was signed by President Barack Obama.

ACTA has been part of multi-lateral talks since 2006, but it was only in 2008 that its details came to light thanks to a leaked discussion paper obtained by WikiLeaks. Under ACTA, copyright holders (known in ACTA’s legal language as “a Party”) will be able to force ISPs into cooperation (similar to SOPA/PIPA) by demanding user data without court proceedings, forcing compliance by threat of civil proceedings or criminal sanctions for “aiding and abetting” infringement.

It’s also worth noting that ACTA can be viewed as an example of “policy laundering.” That is, if ACTA’s provisions were good enough for the international community, then countries should, naturally, pass their respective domestic legislation such as SOPA. DeSopa developer Tamer Rizk discussed this tactic in a recent op-ed piece for Death and Taxes.

ACTA has evolved since 2008 as a response to criticism from privacy advocates, internet activists and even the EU Parliament adopted a resolution against ACTA, stating that negotiations should be more visible and the content adjusted “in order to respect fundamental rights, such as the right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy.”

And since ACTA is an executive trade agreement and not a treaty, President Obama is able to circumvent the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate, assuming that would even be opposed to the agreement in the first place.

Access, a website which advocates for global digital freedom, has been promoting an ACTA protest set for February 11th. According to the Access website:

On February 11th, the world will be out in an unprecedented showing of solidarity against ACTA. Protests are being organized all over the globe to show the European Parliament that they must reject ACTA. Though many countries have signed the treaty already, if the EP rejects ACTA, it will be sent into the dustbin on history!

The organizers provide a list of protest locations (it’s quite extensive), as well as the means to create one’s own ACTA protest.

Access also provides a link to a “Just Say ‘No’ to ACTA” petition.