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Does Germany Now Oppose ACTA?

Looks Like Politicians Are Learning the Difference Between Pirates and Non-Pirates

It's looking like the politicians of the world are waking up and realizing that pirates are pirates and non-pirates are not pirates.

Pirates would be those homicidal, old-style drunken English guys with eye patches and wooden legs, and those modern, drug-hazed Somalians who ransom and sometimes kill people. Non-pirates would be people who visit YouTube.

The latest development is the reported decision by the German government not to sign ACTA - the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement - a global version of the noxious, proposed SOPA and PIPA legislation in the US.

Our friends in Canada as well as the Obama Administration have already signed on. ACTA would create a new, independent body with responsibility for prosecuting manufacturers and purveyors of counterfeit goods, generic drugs that are verboten in commercial quantities, and trademark and copyright counterfeiting.

As with SOPA, the legislation proposes to criminalize what has traditionally subject to civil litigation. And like SOPA, the ACTA would wield a blunt instrument that equates fake Armani and Gucci with generic blood-pressure medicine and downloaded video clips and songs.

In Europe, activists and politicians have taken to wearing those Guy Fawkes masks associated with the Anonymous black-hat hacker movement. It seems ironic that opposing a Hollywood power grab and massive rewrite of centuries of copyright law and is considered revolutionary.

In any case, there are rumblings from many in Europe who had previously signed onto ACTA. One Slovenian politician, who apparently reads proposed legislation as closely as do most American politicians, said she "did not pay enough attention" to what she was signing, according to a report by the Washington Post. One could surmise she is hardly alone among her Euro-peers.

Germany is the central, driving force behind all that Europe does, so one can imagine some dominoes falling if the German government does, in fact, now actively oppose ACTA. We just saw numerous US politicians cave in the face of loud opposition - what Rupert Murdoch has tweeted as "terrorism" but many interpret as "exercising rights in a democracy." Now the other shoe appears to be dropping on the far side of the pond. 

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Studies, (@TauDir), with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is also a writer & editor for SYS-CON Media. He writes for Cloud Computing Journal & Computerworld Philippines. He is Conference Chair of WebRTC Summit and Things Expo. He has a BA from Knox College, Certificate in Tech Writing from UC-Berkeley, and MBA studies at CSU-East Bay. He serves on the board of the Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies, and has served as Director, U.S. Coast Guard Aux Int'l Affairs.

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