ACTA Protests in Europe
Over the past few weeks protests have erupted across Europe against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement Act, an international treaty that would standardize criminal targeting and enforcement in counterfeit goods, generic medicine and copyright infringement on the Internet.
Via the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
ACTA has several features that raise significant potential concerns for consumers’ privacy and civil liberties for innovation and the free flow of information on the Internet, legitimate commerce and for developing countries’ ability to choose policy options that best suit their domestic priorities and level of economic development.
ACTA is being negotiated by a select group of industrialized countries outside of existing international multilateral venues for creating new IP norms such as the World Intellectual Property Organization and (since TRIPs) the World Trade Organization. Both civil society and developing countries are intentionally being excluded from these negotiations. While the existing international fora provide (at least to some extent) room for a range of views to be heard and addressed no such checks and balances will influence the outcome of the ACTA negotiations.
To date, 31 countries have signed the treaty, including the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and most members of the European Union.
For more information about ACTA, see University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist’s ACTA tracker and the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s ACTA topic page.
Images: Anti-ACTA signs from European protests, via OWNI.