An impending Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement has sparked a global campaign amidst concern that it will lead to promote greater internet censorship, especially by large corporations.

Acta aims to enforce copyright and crack down on counterfeited goods. But according to the Stop Acta campaign, the main problem with this treaty is that “all the negotiations are done secretly. Leaked documents show that one of the major goal of the treaty is to force signatory countries into implementing anti file-sharing policies under the form of three-strikes schemes and net filtering practices.”

The La Quadrature Du Net campaign gives three reason for opposing Acta:

  • ACTA is policy laundering in which an international negotiation is used to circumvent democratic debates at national or European level and adopt policy that the Parliaments will have no choice but to reject completely or adopt as a whole. Congress might not even be consulted in the case of the United States.
  • The promoters and drafters of ACTA have created a mixed bag of titles, types of infringement and enforcement measures, in which life-endangering fake products and organised crime activities are considered together with non-for-profit activities that play a role in access to knowledge, innovation, culture and freedom of expression. ACTA would create a de facto presumption of infringement.
  • In the negotiations, the EU is pushing the worse parts of the former directive proposal on criminal sanctions for IPR enforcement (IPRED 2, withdrawn because of uncertain legal basis), that is criminal sanctions for abetting or inciting to infringement.

The BBC reports:

The agreement has so far been signed by the US, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea. Poland is expected to sign it in Tokyo on Thursday.

Acta shares similarities with America’s Stop Online Piracy Act, which US lawmakers set aside last week after Wikipedia and Google blacked out or partially obscured their websites for a day in protest.

Let’s defend the last bastion of freedom of expression.

Avaaz, a non-profit organisation, is mounting a worldwide campaign to stop ACTA: “Europe is deciding right now whether to sign ACTA — and without them, this global attack on Internet freedom will collapse. We know they have opposed ACTA before, but some members of Parliament are wavering — let’s give them the push they need to reject the treaty.” Sign the petition, please.