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Berlin defies EU over copyright deal

The Local · 10 Feb 2012, 16:19

Published: 10 Feb 2012 16:19 GMT+01:00

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The international agreement is backed by the United States and Japan, and was signed on January 26 by the EU and 22 of its 27 member states. One of its main targets is clamping down on illegal internet piracy by asserting rights to intellectual property in the digital world.

The German Foreign Ministry announced that it was only delaying the signing for formal reasons, but the decision is likely to hearten German activists who fear the agreement will curtail internet freedoms worldwide.

Protesters are organizing anti-ACTA demonstrations in 60 German towns on Saturday, and are expecting thousands of people to attend.

Three of Germany’s political parties have come out against ACTA – the Greens, the socialist Left party and the Pirates, whose major campaign platform is guarding internet freedoms. Some members of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) have also voiced opposition.

Michael Kretschmer, internet policy spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has criticized the lack of transparency in the way the negotiations are being carried out. He said it did not inspire trust among the population, “if these contracts come about like secret agreements,” he said Friday in Berlin.

Poland and the Czech Republic have also refused to ratify the agreement so far. Both countries have also seen major protests in the streets.

Story continues below…

DPA/The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:40 February 10, 2012 by dawidu
"Poland and the Czech Republic have also refused to sign the agreement so far. "???

Both counries signed the agreement in Tokyo on the 26th of January 2012...
17:16 February 10, 2012 by odtaa
Good for Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. ACTA is only there to make money for a few large American corporations, who bribe, sorry lobby, American politicians.

The EU does not need ACTA.
19:57 February 10, 2012 by dawidu
Thanks for the correction ("ratify" instead of "sign").

Also, Latvia has stopped the ACTA agreement's ratification as well.
21:25 February 10, 2012 by derExDeutsche
Does this apply to theLocal.de stories, as well? Wasn't there some guy who was reselling those? But, as it turns out, thelocal.de is just some Corporation in Germany, no foul.
06:20 February 11, 2012 by Jcb33
How dare film makers, artists or anybody that invests in creativity stop us pirating their works for free. I want to be able to walk into my local shop and take what I want without paying, just like millions do on the internet. I don't care if struggling artists can't feed their families because of piracy. They should be thankfull we take the time to listen to their music - infact they should pay us! I don't care if a young director manages to make a minor hit film with promising sales where he might just cover his costs - only for it to be posted on the piratebay and kill any chance he had of paying the cast, cameras, makeup, lighting and moving forward with new projects. In a similar vein I think my boss shouldn't bother paying me, after all I steal everything so I couldn't hold it against my boss for doing the same. Why should I be paid for my hard work? Best of all, like the artists I steal from,  I am no longer paid and now work for free, thus I am not taxable and no longer contribute to the running of schools, roads and hospitals. 
09:58 February 11, 2012 by milguy
@jcb33 - BRAVO!

Why should someone be allowed to copy my own photographs off the internet, put them on a CD, and sell them on eBay? Why should this NOT be illegal???
13:57 February 11, 2012 by XFYRCHIEF
I am willing to bet those who oppose such laws have never had a copyrighted work in their life. While I fully support the desire for artistic freedom, I agree with milguy - I don't want anyone stealing my photos, either.
17:26 February 11, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ Jcb33, milguy and XFYRCHIEF

Copyright and trademark laws and agreements are already in place, it is not ACTA that would break ground in this regard. The problem with ACTA is that it would transform our society in a Big Brother authoritarian system. If a similar law would be introduced over the existing driving regulations, you can expect that speed is always monitored on all roads (costs being covered by the builder), driving permits are checked at all crossroads and cars are confiscated if the speed exceeds the legal limit with more than 0.1 km/hour.
20:42 February 11, 2012 by stoltz
well like sony music is doing ,, all the broke ore off artists they ban on youtube plus they feel bad that they cant control the music input of what ppl shuld listen to ,, fron sony music,,

pirate bay is just a good kick in the butt for monumental industry gangsters like the big record companys ,,

what ppl want to listen to is not allwas on the radio and p2p down load do not have good sound qal ,, so ppl support the artist not the one hwo owns the copy right
23:32 February 11, 2012 by boopsie
BRAVO Jcb33, milguy and XFYRCHIEF. The resistance to ACTA is just juvenile Big Brother double talk begging support for a license to rip off artists and designers. Pay no attention to the scare tactics of puerile opportunists like the Pirate Party which should be busy with Fasching costume contests rather than trying to outshout grownups.
02:23 February 12, 2012 by johnny108
ANY law written in this much secrecy, MUST be reviewed by the citizens before it is dropped on their heads! Written in secret, voted on without consulting the public in such a dramatic matter, means only one thing- you are NOT going to like what it says.
03:47 February 12, 2012 by strixy
Poland signed the agreement in Tokyo and indeed Polish politicians tried to sneak it through, however Poles are used to not trusting their leaders, so the milk got spilt and there were mass demonstrations throughout the country and a massive outcry. So now our PM has promised ACTA will not be ratified. We will see. :P
15:16 February 12, 2012 by yourkeau
Hello, my name is Aurora Newton, I'm a grand-grand-grand-grand daughter of Isaac Newton who invented gravity and calculus. I'm living on Hartz IV and starving to survive. So, you all infringe the copyright of my great grand-grand-grand-grand Father and should pay a license fee to me, so I can get reach and do nothing, like other "hard-wordking" artists do.
16:05 February 12, 2012 by strixy
It's not about copyrights. Anyone who has anything to do with art knows that the artinst's share is about 10%, the rest is taken by big corporations. So musicians have started selling their stuff on-line. It works better because they get the same cash or even more but the company is chucked out from the chain. But filmmakers etc have it harder, so this pathological situation where the piggy in the middle is the only true beneficiary still continues.

The main problem with ACTA is however, that:

1. it would allow provate corporations to access data of internet users and for example shut own their blog etc without a court order, until the matter is resolved. Under the ACTA law it is the internet user that would have to prove that they are not guilty of piracy, what is a gross violation of the 'innocent until proven guilty' principle

2. Such law could potentially be used to silence politically inconvenient bloggers - their blogs would be shut down and the court proceedings dragged out

3. Under the Vienna traty (ratified by all UE countries), international conventions are more important than each country's law. In other words, laws in every country would have to be adjusted to meet the ACTA requirements, not the other way round!

4. The same traty states that if there is anything unclear about how to interpret an international agreement/convention, the NOTES to such agreement are the only legitimate source (so for example local law cannot be used to 'adapt' ACTA). Such notes exist but have never been made public! In other words, it is impossible to estimate how the vague postulates of ACTA will affect our lives because we cannot examine the notes and additional info which in fact determines the interpretation of such law.

Artists should be paid but this is not about artists (most are against ACTA) but about putting corporate interests before individual freedom and human rghts.
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