Monday, 30 January 2012

ACTA text in 22 languages - Soon a million protesting online

The Anti-Counterfeiting (and much else) Trade Agreement #ACTA is a hot subject on Twitter and the online public sphere in general. Different campaigns aim at defeating the treaty. A short while ago @Avaaz had reached 963,079 online signatures on a global petition for the European Parliament to reject the treaty negotiated between the European Union and the governments of a number of states. (Thousands were added during the writing of this blog entry.)

In the United States a petition to submit ACTA to the Senate for approval had gathered 4,699 signatures, but a total of citizens 25,000 are needed by 21 February 2012 to qualify for an official response.

Some of the assertions made about ACTA, the final text signed and open for signatures, are pretty wild. On the other hand, governments stubbornly excluded the public and built a vast pool of distrust and resentment. Official information has tended to be one-sided, highlighting only positive effects.

Yesterday I collected links to a number of my blog posts in Finnish, Swedish and English about information society legislation issues, including ACTA and copyright, in one Grahnlaw entry. ACTA raises fundamental questions about the relationships between (democratic) governments and the governed.

If you wade through the #ACTA Twitter stream you can find useful assessments, even real gems, regarding the content and effects among the more hyperbolic assertions.

ACTA text in 22 languages

Getting the facts straight would be a good start for those who are still open to reasoned arguments. Beacause of the international character of the debate, one helpful place to go to is Eur-Lex, the legal portal of the EU, where you find 22 language versions of the ACTA proposal and treaty.

Here is the English version:

Proposal for a COUNCIL DECISION on the conclusion of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, Australia, Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United Mexican States, the Kingdom of Morocco, New Zealand, the Republic of Singapore, the Swiss Confederation and the United States of America

As the depository, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan offers a note on the signatories to date, as well as other information about its efforts to protect intellectual property internationally.

Through the Legislative Observatory of the European Parliament Oeil you can follow the procedure 2011/0167(NLE) at European level.

The IPEX register with national procedures in EU member states is not very helpful, so here other information sources are needed: media, activists and official.

Ralf Grahn

P.S., the multilingual aggregator of euroblogs, is the hub for the national and thematical blogospheres at the European level, including issues about the information society and online media.