Public pressure puts ACTA on the brink

Public pressure puts ACTA on the brink
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

May 8th 2012 at 3:22PM

Neelie Kroes 'observing political reality' by playing down treaty's chances of success, says spokesman

Public pressure towards anti-piracy proposal ACTA means that the treaty is unlikely to be ratified, the European commissioner for telecoms and technology has said.

As reported by The Guardian, Neelie Kroes said that after the failure of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the US, it was unlikely that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement would go through as well.

A spokesman said that whilst the European commission had not changed its stance on the need for wide reaching laws, Kroes was "observing political reality" by playing down ACTA's chances of ratification.

This is despite being signed by 22 out of the EU’s 27 countries, with many parliaments refusing to carry through the measure after a public backlash toward the treaty.

Countries such as Poland were even targeted by internet attacks on government websites by groups such as Anonymous, who believe ACTA is a form of online censorship, whilst some polish websites also staged blackouts in protest.

The treaty was designed to be a legal understanding between ‘participating’ nations around the world to protect companies from trademark and copyright infringement, something which has affected developers for years.

“After the tremendous mobilisation of citizens around the world against SOPA and ACTA, it would be extremely dangerous politically for the commission to propose a new repressive scheme," said internet advocacy group La Quadrature du Net member Jeremie Zimmermann.

News of the treaty’s potential demise in its current form comes after the UK High Court ordered ISPs in the country such as Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media to block access to the filesharing website The Pirate Bay for breach of copyright laws.