The Mexican Senate has urged all parts of the Mexican Government to not sign the ACTA treaty. This follows in the footsteps of the same Senate’s decision to withdraw from negotiations last October.
Specifically, it is the Standing Committee of the Mexican Senate which made this decision (Spanish, translated). It is very inspiring to see a voice of reason that it is neither possible nor desirable to regulate the Internet.
If Mexico is to sign the treaty at some point in the future, it will require the approval of the Mexican senate. Since the Senate’s standing committee has now given an strong dislike, following a previous unanimous withdrawal from negotiations, this scenario seems more than unlikely.
This effectively kills Southern support for the ACTA treaty, making it yet another tool for the rich North for keeping poor countries poor using information restriction as its means. What does this decision mean for the final ratification of ACTA, then?
We shall not forget that there are jurisdictional fights over ACTA in the United States as well as in Europe.
In the United States, the MAFIAA is pushing it as an executive agreement that does not affect legislation, but some parties are pointing out that the wording in ACTA is so vague that it may well require legislative changes, in which case Congress needs to get involved.
In Europe, there are jurisdictional fights on many levels, one of which is whether ACTA is fundamentally compatible with the Union in the first place. Perhaps one of the strongest arguments was the one presented at a hearing I attended in European Parliament earlier this week. Sadly, I don’t recall who said it.
“In considering ACTA”, it was said, “it is not enough to consider whether it is compatible with the current laws and directives of the Union. It must also be considered whether ACTA is compatible with future laws of the Union, which have not yet been written, but which need to be. In particular, this question must be considered where the need for those future laws has already been recognized.”
This is a paramount point, which I’m sure the copyright monopoly lobby will do their damndest to bury.
So how can this play out? I see two plausible scenarios, both of which means that the copyright industry loses support.
The first scenario is that ACTA is rammed violently through the United States and European Union despite reservations and concerns. This will lead to non-respect for the treaty, refusal to implement it in member states, and most importantly, an accelerated public disdain for the incumbent copyright monopolists, forcing political change just beyond the short term.
The second scenario is that ACTA stalls or falls, given these roadblocks. A treaty this long in the making is unlikely to be abandoned altogether, especially given the heavy backing of incumbent (but waning) industries. If this happens, key segments of ACTA will appear shortly in new treaties or proposals, as the copyright industry goes forum shopping. In this scenario, where political resistance has already materialized to the point to block the monopolists from asserting their dominance, it could be increasingly difficult for them to maintain their legislative stranglehold over the world’s culture and knowledge.
This year will tell.
This article is also available in other languages: Spanish.