The proposed anti-piracy legislation named ACTA (anti-counterfeiting trade agreement), faces strong opposition before it goes before the European parliament in June 2012. It has already been signed by 22 members of the European Union including the UK. It is being vehemently opposed and a strong campaign built to stop it from being approved. The stop ACTA website claims that the agreement ACTA has not been negotiated transparently over the past three years and is a threat to fundamental rights and access to knowledge, especially as initially the papers were not made public. There are claims that developing countries have been pushed out of the negotiations.
David Martin, a UK MEP who is the European Parliament's rapporteur on ACTA, said last week that politicians would not be able to "guarantee adequate protection for citizens' rights" if the treaty was ratified. It is argued that the legislation could have a fundamental impact on individual human rights. Protests against ACTA have been held across Europe to put pressure on the forthcoming debate in parliament.
So if the ACTA legislation was enacted what would it mean for you? ACTA is an international treaty with the aim of having uniform copyright protection measures across the world. It would seek to reduce the trade of counterfeited physical goods, including copyrighted material online as with fines to help prevent people do this. The European Commission claims that the European economy risks losing its competitiveness without this legislation as money is lost through an estimated 103 million counterfeit goods being sold. The Commission claims that ACTA would not infringe on civil liberties and that EU citizens have nothing to worry about.