SOPA Stopped: So Back to ACTA

Glyn Moody | ComputerworldUK | January 24, 2012

So the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of copyright maximalist legislation, SOPA and PIPA, have been halted in their passage through the US legislative process. Of course, they're not dead, but are sure to return, zombie-like, either as modified versions of the current texts or new ones that turn out to be exactly the same as the old ones at their heart. However, the unprecedented action by the Net world to get the message across that these bills were not fit for purpose does mean that our attention can swivel back to somewhere else where bad things are happening: ACTA.

The key context is that the European Commission has approved it, but the European Parliament hasn't, so there's still a chance to kill ACTA by concentrating on the latter, and getting it to defend its electorate. For those of you who got distracted by all the SOPA/PIPA fun, and can't quite remember which from the extensive menu of freedom-threatening measures ACTA is trying to push through, here's a quick refresher.

ACTA, is by its very nature a trick - in fact, a double trick. It has been agreed between a self-selected group of countries outside any international organisations, and without any democratic oversight. Indeed, everything was discussed behind closed doors, and the hundreds of millions of people whose lives will be directly affected by it were not permitted to offer their views on anything at any point.