Bulgaria and the Netherlands withdraw support for ACTA

By Lee Kaelin on February 16, 2012, 8:30 AM

The controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has lost more support in Europe after Bulgaria and the Netherlands refused to sign the treaty citing concerns regarding privacy and human rights. They join Germany and Poland, both of which refused on similar grounds.

Bulgarian economy minister Traicho Traikov said his country will refuse to sign ACTA in its current form because they feel it will curb freedom to download movies and music for free and further encourage internet surveillance. "I will table a proposal to the Council of Ministers to stop the procedure of Bulgaria's signing the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement,” he said in a statement to the Guardian.

"Bulgarian society is not ready to accept mechanisms which raise suspicions of violation of the freedom of expression and freedom [on the] internet," Traikov further commented. The downloading of movies and music is commonplace in the country, and many of its citizens fear that the signing of this treaty could lead to many poor people facing prison sentences for illegal downloading.

Last Saturday, citizens protesting the treaty marched over 4,000 strong into the capital city Sofia in protest, calling on the government not to sign it. Similar demonstrations were also held elsewhere in Europe, most notably in France, Germany and Ireland.

The Netherlands also joined the ranks of those refusing to ratify the anti-counterfeiting treaty, with the Dutch Lower House backing a motion by the Green Left party arguing that the country should avoid signing the agreement in its current form until thorough investigations have been made, and it has been established that it does not threaten the rights and privacy of the country’s internet users.

Despite Germany, the EU’s single largest national economy refusing to ratify ACTA, it already has the majority of the member countries signatures. In all, 22 EU countries have signed the anti-counterfeiting treaty, joining the US who signed it in October last year, as well as Australia, Canada, Japan and South Korea.

ACTA may have the majority of the EU’s approval but it has to pass through the EU parliament in June before it can be enforced. The secretive agreement faces mounting pressure and strong opposition from EU residents.

User Comments: 8

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Puiu Puiu said:

Soon Romania will do the same.

Guest said:

Once again we show,that in EU corporations don't control governments

"Land of the free".............NOT

Guest said:

GOOD. This is what should happen to ACTA just because of what it is and also because of how it started... in SECRET.

Guest said:

Two of the weeniest nations withdraw their support ... Next headline will be "Belgium and Romania withdraw support", for another set of irrelevant chums.

ACTA is a bad idea and it is surprising that only token members of the EU are coming to their senses ... will the rest of EU look up to those inepts or will they succumb to USA's pressure ? It is sad that irrelevant minors have to point the way for the other members.

Mindwraith said:

first occupy wallstreet and now these public demonstrations against censorship, I bet certain governments are getting pretty scared right now by evidence that the masses are thinking for themselves.

Guest said:

Maybe there is still hope for the integrity of these countries; good for them!

Guest said:

If you don't know about "secret organizations", especially those responsible for SOPA, PIPA and ACTA, do your homework!They WILL control what you do, view, watch and post online...eventually! Rules that inhibit your rights to freedom, freedom of expression and freedom of speech. Public outcry will be such that civil wars ensue. Unless we stand up to them! There's a right way and a wrong way to fight against piracy and the like. This ain't one of them.

Guest said:

In the end I believe than Poland will sign this crap. We always give the USA what they want. It happened on countless occasions since 1989. We get BIG f****** nothing in return except more empty promises or no promises at all. That is how politics works in Poland if Big Brother from USA ask for something. 50 years under Red Big Brother in Moscow now 20 and counting under BB in Washington. I just want to sing, Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles. German consent is paramount for Yank Corporations. But Germany say big GTFO. Thank heavens!.

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