“Score One for Online Activists” @ In These Times

Posted on August 28, 2012

Isaac Dalke — August 23, 2012: “This July saw Europe declaring its own independence–from a multinational agreement that critics say would have increased censorship and restricted Internet freedom. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which aims to establish common standards for intellectual property rights enforcement, was defeated in the European Parliament by a478 to 39 vote. Nine countries outside the EU have signed on to the treaty, including the United States, and if six now officially ratify it the pact will go into effect. But without European support, the agreement has lost its heft–an outcome that organizers attribute to a months-long campaign, in streets and on computer screens across Europe, to raise public awareness about the impact of this secretive trade agreement.

ACTA found strong allies in the film, music and pharmaceutical industries. It pushed criminal sanctions for copyright violations, which opponents say would have increased the ability of governments to censor websites and punish Internet users for ordinary activity.

After the Protect IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act (better known as PIPA and SOPA) were introduced in the U.S. Congress last fall, online activists and tech companies launched a series of protests. The two bills were placed on indefinite hold in January, never coming to a vote. The momentum carried over to Europe, where 22 countries signed on to ACTA on January 26, sparking online petitions and public protests across the continent…………………………”

Read more at In These Times.