Act against ACTA

People should stand against the unfair SOPA-style treaty.

After recent outrage across the nation in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act, better known as SOPA, and the PROTECT Intellectual Property Act, a concerned dialogue has also started about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

The upsetting ACTA is an international treaty that works to stop copyright infringement. It was also created to stop various forms of intellectual property theft.

A major criticism of the agreement is that itâÄôs undemocratic. ACTA has been negotiated behind closed doors and outside of normal trade bodies. It also treats counterfeiting and piracy equally, which many fear will unfairly ramp up penalties for those sharing things with friends, not for a profit.

The European parliament, and by extension, the people of Europe, have not had a say in the matter. If the treaty is adopted, countries will lose the freedom to adjust their own copyright laws without their citizens having had a say in the matter. The conflict between international and national laws is significant: As Wired UK wrote, ACTA âÄúcriminalizes copyright infringement when there are civil sanctions already.âÄù

Although many people are just learning of ACTA, the treaty has been around for several years. Europe, where ACTA is on its way to being passed, is currently experiencing mass opposition to it. Of the European UnionâÄôs 27 members, 22 had already signed as of January.

Many are worried that ACTA will pass and negatively change the Internet as we know it. Those who were concerned with SOPA and PIPA should stand against ACTA as well, as it is an international problem that could affect millions of people without their consent.