The ACTA treaty (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement)presently under consideration by the European Parliament has been signed and accepted by a number of countries (including Australia, Canada and USA) with very little publicity. Citizens throughout the world have not been made aware of what is being done in their name.
EUROPE NEEDS TO STAND FIRM AGAINST THIS TREATY.
The treaty has been drafted by committees of unelected people, in close consultation with the big pharmaceutical companies and the entertainment industry. It has been presented to elected representatives as part of the fight against counterfeit goods which are said to damage trade but there has been little or no public debate.
The secrecy implies that the big corporations and the treaty drafters know perfectly well what they are doing.
WE NEED TO PUBLICISE AND DEFEAT THIS ATTACK ON OUR FREEDOMS AND OUR DEMOCRACY.
In fact, the provisions go much further than trade issues. Generic medicines are identified as counterfeit. Online ‘piracy’ of copyrighted material is also identified as counterfeit and the copyright rules are tighter than those in the international copyright agreements. There is provision to make ISPs (the people who provide your internet) responsible for any and all online activity involving piracy and it will be a case of guilty until proven innocent.
Many national parliaments and elected representatives have accepted this under the umbrella of trade protection. They dismiss fears of potential abuse, saying they would never implement the more wide ranging provisions of ACTA.
THE EXISTENCE OF THESE PROVISIONS WOULD GIVE THE POTENTIAL FOR ABUSE.
It is so easy to think this doesn’t apply to you; easy to stop worrying about illegal downloads of films which you either never do or could live without; easy to imagine that the treaty will not affect the third world, who have not been consulted or invited to become signatories.
Consider the following scenarios.
You scan and email a copy of a page from your car manual to a son or daughter at uni who is struggling to repair their car. Perfectly legitimate - you may copy up to 10% of a document for private use. But as soon as you email it, it could be illegal under the provisions of the treaty.
You need a hay-fever remedy and find that the generic brand at your local pharmacy is much cheaper than the branded product. You buy it. This could be a thing of the past under the provisions of the treaty.
You attend a karaoke session at a local pub and a friend films you singing one of your favourite pop songs. This is then posted on YouTube. You, YouTube and your ISP could be criminalised under the provisions of the treaty.
You wish to share family videos of weddings etc. with friends and family in another country, and look for a file sharing site to assist you. It will be illegal for your ISP to allow you to download a free file sharing site because file sharing sites are capable of accessing pirated materials. Under the provisions of the treaty you could be forced to tie yourself into the very expensive sites designed for industry rather than individuals.
You contribute to a charity such as Médecins Sans Frontières or Oxfam and hope that some of your money will go towards drugs to treat diseases endemic in e.g. parts of Africa. The provisions of the treaty will make such medical aid unaffordable. Oxfam and other charities have already spoken out against ACTA.
WE NEED TO JOIN THEM TO FIGHT THIS ATTACK ON OUR FREEDOMS AND THOSE OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES.
Even if the battle against counterfeit goods is necessary, and this is open to debate, the issue should be addressed publicly and democratically. Other things that benefit only major corporations should not be inserted into treaties that become too broad, too loosely worded and too capable of sustaining abusive practices.
For further information, start with:
You will then find links to further articles and other petitions. You will see that ACTA is a more wide-ranging and insidious thing than the recently shelved SOPA and PIPA in the USA.
Yes, there are other petitions, so why another petition here?
BECAUSE WE NEED TO RAISE AWARENESS, REACH AS MANY CITIZENS AS POSSIBLE AND TOGETHER, DEFEAT ACTA.
Will you join us? Sign our petition, and tell your friends, your neighbours, your family. To anyone not sure it affects them, remind them of the words of Pastor Niemoller:
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.
WE NEED TO ACT NOW.