As awareness of ACTA spreads protests are being organized across Europe, in the hope of stopping a treaty that threatens Internet freedom and is seen as more dangerous than SOPA.
Europe is the focus of attention as it is being seen as "the last bastion of hope" for stopping ACTA.
According to the blog of Access, a website campaigning for global digital freedom:
Though many countries have signed the treaty already, if the European Parliament rejects ACTA, it will be sent into the dustbin on history!
So why is there so much fear of a treaty that seems to purports to be an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement that seeks to normalize copyright protection and intellectual property standards across participating nations?
The fact that as a treaty, rather than legislation, it has been largely negotiated in secret is one reason why. Another is that despite having a seemingly laudable or innocuous aim it actually threatens Internet freedom and privacy as well as the ability to innovate in areas such as medicine. Since awareness of ACTA has grown, protesters have been vehemently opposed to it.
Moreover, protest seems to be effective. In Poland, where demonstrators took to the streets last month, the prime minister, Donald Tusk, has suspended ACTA ratification, saying that the Polish government had made insufficient consultations before signing the agreement.
Another EU signatory, Helena Drnovšek Zorko, who signed on behalf of Slovenia apologised for doing so saying:
I signed ACTA out of civic carelessness, because I did not pay enough attention
She drew attention to a protest today, February 4, in Slovenia's capital city, Ljubljana, for those who object to the ratification of ACTA and asked for people to attend in her name.
Many more protests are being planned for next Saturday, February 11 as this map shows.
For details of the locations or if you want to fill in the gaps - currently only four demonstrations across the UK, only one in Italy and none in Spain - visit the Access website.
If there isn't a protest near you there are other ways to signal your opposition.
The petition organised by the Just Say No to ACTA campaign already has over well over 300,000 signatures and you can still help it reach its its target of half a million. If you are a citizen of the European Union you can email your MEPs (Member of the European Parliament). If you don't know how to do this there's advice from Marietje Schaake, herself an MEP, and others in a thread on Reddit. If you live in the UK the website www.writetothem.com makes it particularly simple to email all your MEPs - all you need to enter is your post code and your message - which has to be in you own words so it's no good providing boilerplate text.
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