Germany postpones ACTA signing in wake of protests

Summary:The controversial ACTA agreement -- the global anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting agreement -- has been postponed by Germany, putting pressure on Europe to reject it.

Germany is to hold off signing ACTA, in what is the greatest blow to the controversial worldwide anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy agreement to date.

It is reported that the Germany justice ministry voiced its concerns, and the foreign ministry said the delay would enable the government to "carry out further discussions".

ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, has been called a "European SOPA", and would dozens of countries to enforce intellectual property and copyright laws across borders. The U.S. signed it in October 2011, and other major economies like Australia, Canada, South Korea and Japan followed suit.

Worldwide protests have taken place to protest the measures in ACTA, which have been heavily watered down since the proposals were drafted and negotiated in secret and behind closed doors.

A German government spokesperson told sister site ZDNet UK that the government will postpone its decision on whether it should sign the agreement or not until after the European Parliament votes on the treaty in June. It does not mean that the ACTA agreement is off the table just yet, however.

Latvia put off the signing last Friday, and Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have delayed the ratification of the agreement. But Germany's efforts, as one of the largest --- and most stable --- economies in the European Union, will come as a major disruption to the agreement.

While 22 of the 27 European member states have signed up to ACTA, including the United Kingdom, the agreement nevertheless has to pass through the European Parliament before it can be brought into force in Europe.

Image credit: Alberto Novi, ALDE/Flickr.

Related:

Around the network:

Topics: IT Employment, Enterprise Software, Government, Government : US, Piracy, Security

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.