News has just broken that on the eve of the planned protests set for tomorrow in Europe, that Germany will not be signing ACTA, (Spiegel, Netzpolitik) which will come as a huge blow to those (corporations) who have lobbied governments around the world to get it passed. This is after the unprecedented online protests against SOPA and PIPA that were also shelved indefinitely by the US last month.
Translated via Google Translate:
dpa-ART-message: Germany will not sign ACTA time being, Foreign Office has withdrawn instructions
ACTA, which started in 2007 behind closed doors, is an international trade agreement negotiated by the European Union, the United States, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Australia, Mexico, Morocco, Singapore as well as a few other countries, whose aim is to enforce copyright and tackle counterfeited goods. However, there are also some pretty nasty parts to ACTA that have been slipped in, and should it be passed will have massively damaging effects to the internet as we know it.
The agreement is however not backed by BRIC countries and other developing nations who argue that existing intellectual property legislation hinders the sharing of expertise in keys areas such as environmental technology and medicine.
There have been some huge protests in Europe over ACTA in recent weeks, most notably in Poland who finally gave in and suspended the ratification of ACTA. Politicians in the Polish parliament showed their dislike of ACTA.
This was then followed by the Slovenian Ambassador apologizing in public for her signature on the agreement, saying she had failed in her civic duty, and calling for anti-ACTA rallies, which is profoundly unique. Her reasons for orioginally signing the agreement were:
I signed ACTA out of civic carelessness, because I did not pay enough attention. Quite simply, I did not clearly connect the agreement I had been instructed to sign with the agreement that, according to my own civic conviction, limits and withholds the freedom of engagement on the largest and most significant network in human history, and thus limits particularly the future of our children. I allowed myself a period of civic complacency, for a short time I unplugged myself from media reports from Slovenia, I took a break from Avaaz and its inflation of petitions, quite simply I allowed myself a rest. In my defence, I want to add that I very much needed this rest and that I am still having trouble gaining enough energy for the upcoming dragon year. At the same time, I am tackling a workload that increased, not lessened, with the advent of the current year. All in line with a motto that has become familiar to us all, likely not only diplomats: less for more. Less money and fewer people for more work. And then you overlook the significance of what you are signing. And you wake up the following morning with the weight of the unbearable lightness of some signature.
If only all politicians were as open an honest as her.
There are expected to be further massive protests against ACTA tomorrow (11th February 2012) all over Europe in what will hopefully be a huge nail in the coffin of this international agreement that was made behind closed doors.
Here’s a video that explains some of the more concerning aspects of ACTA: