Is Your MEP Aware Of ACTA?

Right now, a new trade agreement is being secretly negotiated that could impose on European businesses draconian rules that could result in new forms of legal action. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) goes far, far beyond the scope...

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Right now, a new trade agreement is being secretly negotiated that could impose on European businesses draconian rules that could result in new forms of legal action. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) goes far, far beyond the scope of its name and in fact attempts to "harmonise" (read: impose the worst parts of each region's policy) the treatment of copyrights, trademarks and patents internationally. Driven by corporate interests lobbying civil servants, it is attempting to achieve by secret treaty what democratically-elected governments globally have declined to do.

It has many bad points for computer professionals in general and open source in particular. For example, if the drive to criminalise patent infringement succeeds, it could mean that European programmers will face criminal proceedings when it's found they have violated software patents currently only valid in America.

Since this treaty is being negotiated secretly, there will be no chance for your representatives in the European Parliament to review any of its terms until its too late. That, in fact, is the reason it is being kept secret.  The European Commission will agree to the new Treaty on behalf of Europe, and the Parliament will be faced with a take-it-or-leave-it choice that will mean it will be immensely politically difficult to act against it.

A group of MEPs have tabled a Written Declaration that would clearly signal the Parliament's view about this attempted fait accomplis to the Commission. That Declaration is nine signatures short of ratification. I've created a list of the MEPs in the UK who haven't signed yet - why not go now, take a look at my list and contact your MEP if they are on it? Your personal action today could make a real difference to our collective liberties tomorrow.

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