European Parliament President Criticizes ACTA

Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, has criticized the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on German television, saying of the treaty that he does not "find it good in its current form." Schulz's comments came on the heels of protests throughout various countries in Europe – including Germany, Poland and the UK. Schulz went on to say that there is no balance between copyright protection and the individual rights of internet users, noting that it "is only very inadequately anchored in this agreement".

While ACTA will be debated in the European Parliament in June, it looks like leaders throughout Europe are slowing down the process to ratify it. While 22 EU member states signed the agreement in Japan, Europe has its fair share of hold-outs. Germany said on Friday that it would hold off on backing the agreement until further discussion on it happens. Polish prime minister Donald Tusk also said that his country would wait for "sufficient consultation" before ratifying it. Earlier this month, Slovenia's ambassador to Japan, Helena Drnovsek Zorko, apologized for what she called her "carelessness" in signing the treaty on behalf of her country in Japan.

According to Loz Kaye, leader of the Pirate Party UK, Schulz's comments signal that AACTA may be in "real political trouble."

"One of the things that's very interesting is that now the Acta agreement is coming under fire from all sides," he told the BBC. "It's becoming clear that European citizens are very concerned about this agreement. It's hard to find anyone who is standing up for it right now."

A spokesperson for the International Trademark Association did its level best to stand up for it. It told the BBC that ACTA enables the EU to "thwart" the problem of counterfeit goods.

"Acta is aimed at counterfeiters and pirates involved with commercial scale activities on the Internet, not the general user," a spokeswoman said. "Too many criminals profit from selling counterfeit goods on the Internet at the expense of consumers' health and safety. The trade agreement is an opportunity for EU officials to help thwart this problem, and they can do so by adopting Acta and joining the international battle against counterfeiting."

Source: BBC

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