Germany postpones ACTA signing in wake of protests

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.

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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.

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2 comments
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  • Let me steal!

    How dare film makers, artists or anybody that invests in creativity stop us pirating their works for free. I want to be able to walk into my local shop and take what I want without paying, just like millions do on the internet. I don't care if struggling artists can't feed their families because of piracy. They should be thankfull we take the time to listen to their music - infact they should pay us! I don't care if a young director manages to make a minor hit film with promising sales where he might just cover his costs - only for it to be posted on the piratebay and kill any chance he had of paying the cast, cameras, makeup, lighting and moving forward with new projects. In a similar vein I think my boss shouldn't bother paying me, after all I steal everything so I couldn't hold it against my boss for doing the same. Why should I be paid for my hard work? Best of all, like the artists I steal from, ??I am no longer paid and now work for free, thus I am not taxable and no longer contribute to the running of schools, roads and hospitals.??
    Jcb33
    • Laws are already on the books

      @Jcb33 <br>The real question is why did ACTA have to be negotiated in secret. Might it possibly have been to allow lobbyists to dictate terms without endangering anyone's political career?
      John L. Ries