NGO Starts anti-ACTA Petition
The internet civil group Avaaz began collecting signatures against the preliminary signing of the debatable international agreement ACTA.
The NGO's idea is to collect a minimum of 2 million signatures to be sent to the European Parliament.
The petition requires a name and email address, and has a universal text under which those protesting ACTA can sign.
The text is as follows:
"As concerned global citizens, we call on you to stand for a free and open Internet and reject the ratification of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which would destroy it. The Internet is a crucial tool for people around the world to exchange ideas and promote democracy. We urge you to show true global leadership and protect our rights."
On January 26, the Bulgarian government signed in Tokyo the international ACTA agreement, vowing to make downloading content similar to forgery of brands.
The agreement was sealed by Bulgarian ambassador to Japan Lyubomir Todorov, based on a decision by the Bulgarian cabinet taken hastily on January 11.
22 out of the 27 EU member states have signed ACTA, along with countries such as the USA, Japan, Canada, Australia, South Korea and Switzerland.
Among EU Member States, Germany, Cyprus, Estonia, Slovakia and the Netherlands have postponed their signing.
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 agreement, 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 and lawyers have lashed out at the signing of ACTA because they believe 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.
In order to become effective in Bulgaria, ACTA must first be ratified by the European Parliament and then by the Bulgarian Parliament, which is expected to happen no earlier than June.
About 1.6 million signatures have been collected so far while Avaaz hope to be able at attract the EP attention and stop the ratification of ACTA.
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