ACTA is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. This will be a multi-national agreement to establish international standards for intellectual property.
That basically means that ACTA wants to criminalize users for anything that even remotely resembles stealing of intellectual property (no more shares from YouTube videos on your Facebook page, no sir). They want the internet providers to help keep tabs on people to make sure the trade agreements aren't being violated (spying while you browse) and it basically makes it much easier for media companies to sue sites out of existence and to jail their founders. (Think, Megaupload and Kim Dotcom) Did I forget to mention that amatuer works that receive commercial status could be put behind bars? Seriously, if you receive compensation for stuff you post on YouTube, jail time for you, think of all the artists and Vloggers that started as amatuers on YouTube, but are now big names. Jail....now does that seem right?
Wow, so we fought and put down SOPA, and the big companies responded by putting into motion a GLOBAL agreement. This thing has actually been in the works since 2008, why may you ask haven't we heard about it before? Because not until Japan and some smaller countries signed the agreement did they even put any of this out there for the public. All meetings and conventions on the subject have been closed to the public and public interest groups, and they've been keeping their mouths shut about it. The other reason that nobody has heard of it is that it's a global trade agreement, meaning that this doesn't even have to go through Congress, it kind of skirts around it.
The agreement (ACTA) was signed on 1 October 2011 by Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States. In January 2012, the European and 22 of its member states signed as well, bringing the total number of signatories to 31. After ratification by 6 states, the convention will come into force. We have until March 31st, to let them know that we won't stand for this.
Now for the Most Important Stuff:
There are a bunch of protests tomorrow, Saturday, February 11th 2012 all across Europe, as they haven't ratified the ACTA yet, and we need to lend our voices, let them know this isn't right. All the protests have gotten leaders in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia to back out of the ACTA, now the protest is planned in over 200 cities in Europe and the US, let's support them! If we do, by sending millions of emails to the key decision makers, we can start tipping the scales like we did on SOPA and beat this.
Go to http://fightforthefuture.org/ to find out more information, and to add your voice to the protest, please go to http://killacta.org/#code. We are American, we know how to fight for freedom, so let's go out there and win it back!
1. For more information on ACTA, read these excellent articles from Techdirt and La Quadrature du Net. For information on TPP, read this Ars Technica piece. For video, watch this.
2. Obama's signing of ACTA may have been unconstitutional. See Anti-counterfeiting agreement raises constitutional concerns and Techdirt.
3. Hollywood gets to party with TPP negotiators, public interest groups get thrown out of the hotel.