The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is an international agreement on global copyright enforcement that covers everything from digital piracy and drug patents to counterfeit designer goods. It’s certainly a controversial treaty, judging from the reaction in Europe this week. Over 2 million people have signed up to an Avaaz.org petition against ACTA – that’s more than twice as many needed for a successful European Citizens’ Initiative.
Tomorrow (February 11th) will be an organised day of protests against ACTA. Hundreds of demonstrations and marches are planned across Europe, with at least one march taking place in each EU member state. Why are people so angry about ACTA? Well, when we asked you to describe Europe’s digital future, we had a comment from Catalin-Alexandru arguing that it looked “very grim because ACTA was signed with no debate [whatsoever].”
A common criticism of ACTA is that the negotiations have taken place in secret. The European Commission argues (PDF) that this is unfair; international treaties of this sort are rarely negotiated in public. On the other hand, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on ACTA recently resigned in protest specifically over the secretive nature of the negotiations. We spoke to Sergei Stanishev, the Interim President of the Party of European Socialists (PES) – the umbrella party of social-democratic parties from across Europe – and asked him to react. Watch the short clip below to see him set out some of his criticisms of ACTA.
What do YOU think? Will you be supporting the protests against ACTA? Do you think the criticisms are overblown and ACTA is a sensible way to address the growing problem of intellectual property rights infringement? Or do you agree with Sergei Stanishev’s criticisms of the agreement? Let us know the reasons why you are for or against ACTA in the form below, and we’ll take your comments to policy-makers for their reactions.