Something really, really bad has happened today. As you've probably concluded from the title today 22 European countries have signed ACTA in total secrecy.
At this point only Germany, Estonia, Slovakia, Cyprus and the Netherlands stand in the way of ACTA and we have to make sure it stays that way.
Here's some basic information you will need:
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a proposed plurilateral agreement for the purpose of establishing international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement. It would establish an international legal framework for countries to join voluntarily, and would create a governing body outside international institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or the United Nations. Negotiating countries have described it as a response "to the increase in global trade of counterfeit goods and pirated copyright protected works." The scope of ACTA includes counterfeit goods, generic medicines and copyright infringement on the Internet. Groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) oppose ACTA, stating that civil society groups and developing countries were excluded from discussion during ACTA's development in an example of policy laundering.
But what does that mean?
ACTA - a global treaty - could allow corporations to censor the Internet. Negotiated in secret by a small number of rich countries and corporate powers, it would set up a shadowy new anti-counterfeiting body to allow private interests to police everything that we do online and impose massive penalties -- even prison sentences -- against people they say have harmed their business.
Governments of four fifths of the world’s people were excluded from the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations and unelected bureaucrats have worked closely with corporate lobbyists to craft new rules and a dangerously powerful enforcement regime. ACTA would initially cover the US, EU and 9 other countries, then be rolled out across the world.
The oppressively strict regulations could mean people everywhere are punished for simple acts such as sharing a newspaper article or uploading a video of a party where copyrighted music is played. Sold as a trade agreement to protect copyrights, ACTA could also ban lifesaving generic drugs and threaten local farmers' access to the seeds they need. And, amazingly, the ACTA committee will have carte blanche to change its own rules and sanctions with no democratic scrutiny.
People in Poland are on the streets protesting against ACTA and their governments secrecy.
We stopped SOPA, we can stop ACTA too.
There is a letter to the EU parliament that everyone can sign to show them that we oppose any form of corporate censorship on our lives.
If you wish to sign, click here: letter to the EU Parliament
This is an important matter that does not only affect the internet but all of our lives. If you're with me on this please tell your friends about it so they at least have the choice to oppose ACTA.
Thank you for taking your time.