Bulgaria Signs ACTA, Internet Users Cry Foul
The Bulgarian government has signed the international ACTA agreement, vowing to make downloading content similar to forgery of brands.
The agreement had been signed over the week by Bulgarian ambassador to Japan Lyubomir Todorov, based on a decision by the Bulgarian cabinet taken January 11.
The signing took place at a ceremony at the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs last Thursday, reports Bulgarian daily Trud.
21 out of the 27 EU member states have signed ACTA, along with countries such as the USA, Japan, Canada, Australia, South Korea and Switzerland.
Acta, abbreviation for Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, mandates that signatory countries implement legislation to criminalize certain types of downloading content such as music and movies, from sites not sanctioned by rights owners, such as torrent trackers.
According to the agrement, such actions will be classified as similar to counterfeiting, and will carry heavier sanctions, including confiscation.
The treaty also will require Internet providers to provide information about the traffic of their users.
Prominent Bulgarian bloggers, such as Boyan Yurukov and lawyer Emil Georgiev, have lashed out at the signing of ACTA, reports Trud.
Both argue that the agreement will bind countries to install legal regulations that excessively and unduly broadly penalize Internet users.
ACTA has already raised an outcry internationally, with a 10 000 strong protest in Poland last week.
European Parliament reporter on ACTA, MEP Kader Arif, has resigned in protest of what he sees as the non-transparent and undemocratic way the agreement has been negotiated.
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