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Remember SOPA and PIPA? Meet ACTA.

ACTA SOPA PIPA

What is ACTA?

ACTA is an international “treaty” designed to protect intellectual property rights. The agreement has already been signed by the U.S. , Japan, Australia, Canada, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Several more EU countries are set to sign in the very near future. While SOPA and PIPA were proposed bills in the U.S. House and Senate respectively, ACTA is an international “treaty” between the countries that sign on to the agreement.

ACTA (Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement) is ostensibly designed to prevent the theft of copyrighted material on the internet. If you have been patting yourself on the back for signing a petition against SOPA or PIPA, please stop and get involved in stopping this abomination now. According to some sources, including this one, ACTA is WORSE than SOPA or PIPA. take a quick look at the video below:

Who Supports ACTA?

It should be no surprise that the International Trademark Association urged the passage of ACTA. Here’s a list of companies that are members of INTA.

What’s The Problem?

Protecting copyrights is a good thing, right? Then why was ACTA not carried out in a more transparent manner? French  member of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade Kader Arif has resigned from his position of European rapporteur for ACTA and posted a stern note about the lack of transparency surrounding the signing of ACTA.

Arif stated: “I want to denounce in the strongest possible manner the entire process that led to the signature of this agreement: no inclusion of civil society organisations, a lack of transparency from the start of the negotiations, repeated postponing of the signature of the text without an explanation being ever given, exclusion of the EU Parliament’s demands that were expressed on several occasions in our assembly.” This agreement may have major consequences on the lives of our citizens, and yet everything is done in such a way that the European Parliament has no say on the matter. So today, in submitting this report in my charge, I want to send a strong signal and alert the public about this unacceptable situation. I will not participate in this charade,” he wrote.

ACTA Guy Fawkes

Polish Parliament members don Guy Fawkes masks

In Poland, 30 members of Parliament donned Guy Fawkes masks in protest of ACTA, and thousands took to the streets in protests. Even as of this writing, ACTA protests are taking place all over Europe.

In the U.S. questions abound as to the legitimacy of the signing. ACTA is being labeled by the Obama administration as an “executive agreement,” not a “treaty.” What’s the difference? When signing a treaty, the president must get at least two-thirds of the Senate’s approval. With executive agreements, the president is allowed to bypass the Senate.

Some, including Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA) have raised questions about that decision’s constitutionality.

“It may be possible for the U.S. to implement ACTA or any other trade agreement, once validly entered, without legislation if the agreement requires no change in U.S. law,” Wyden wrote in October 2011. “But regardless of whether the agreement requires changes in U.S. law, the executive branch lacks constitutional authority to enter a binding international agreement covering issues delegated by the Constitution to Congress’ authority, absent congressional approval.”

Issa had the following to say:  “As a member of Congress, it’s more dangerous than SOPA. It’s not coming to me for a vote. It purports that it does not change existing laws. But once implemented, it creates a whole new enforcement system and will virtually tie the hands of Congress to undo it.”

What Can I Do To Help?

In the U.S., you can write to your US Senator and ask them to take this issue up on the floor. Advise them of your concerns and ask them why their competence and authority were called into question. If this is indeed a treaty, then President Obama has exceeded the authority of his office. (Shocker!) If you are reading this article in an EU country or elsewhere, click here.

Also, share this article! Spread the word! Wake up your reality TV watching, antidepressant-addled friends and neighbors and tell them to get involved too!

Yours in Liberty,

Chris @phdinweed

 

 

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About phdinweed
Father of 2 sons on the autism spectrum, wage slave, socially functional nerd of all sorts. Just entered my 40's, but still love video games (RPGs especially), cartoons, fart jokes, and getting nice.

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