Thursday 5 July 2012

EU rejects ACTA, but fight is not over.

Good news for anyone making money online in an honest way. ACTA, the controversial trade agreement that was drafted in secret between the US, Canada, Japan, the EU and a few other countries, was rejected by the EU Parliament after a long anti-ACTA campaign by online activists.

As Dave Neal from The Inquirer wrote:

This is a victory for everyone except corporate cartels

Open Rights Group:

This victory was thanks to your continued pressure which helped ensure that at every step of the way Europe's representatives voted to reject the provisions within ACTA. We know that MEPs have been inundated with emails and calls from people who, just like you, have fought tirelessly in the defence of our freedoms

ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, was officially intended to fight online piracy, but as liberty advocates, privacy groups, bloggers, lawyers, quickly pointed out, the overly broad language of ACTA would have made it possible for politicians to use ACTA against political opponents and activists. ACTA would also have allowed major corporations to harass and ultimately shutdown its smaller competitors through the use of questionable patents. And it would have made it possible for corporations or politicians to silence news outlets when those outlets wanted to release information damaging to the corporations or politicians.

No matter how hard the pro-ACTA lobby tried, it could not stop the waves of opposition that the draconian treaty attracted and as more and more people protested so it became harder for supporters to convince anyone that ACTA should be approved.

Now What?

We will have to remain vigilant. EU commissioners like the Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht have already stated that they will not let this slide. Chances are the Commission will reintroduce ACTA, possibly with some tiny cosmetic changes, on a later date. Apparently, the internet and the freedom to communicate, exchange ideas and do business with people all over the world, is so threatening to the EU Commission that it is willing to ignore the will of the people.