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EU ACTA Chief Resigns In Disgust Over Disrespect At Citizens; Next Steps

24

Europe

Europe

This just in: the European Parliament’s rapporteur of the ACTA agreement, an agreement which is about as bad as SOPA and creates seriously repressive legislation – that rapporteur has just quit in disgust over how the whole process has been designed to keep citizens and lawmakers in the dark.

From the website of La Quadrature, which quotes and translates Numérama interviewing Kader Arif, former rapporteur for ACTA:

”I want to denounce in the strongest possible manner the entire process that led to the signature of this agreement: no inclusion of civil society organisations, a lack of transparency from the start of the negotiations, repeated postponing of the signature of the text without an explanation being ever given, exclusion of the EU Parliament’s demands that were expressed on several occasions in our assembly.”

“As rapporteur of this text, I have faced never-before-seen manoeuvres from the right wing of this Parliament to impose a rushed calendar before public opinion could be alerted, thus depriving the Parliament of its right to expression and of the tools at its disposal to convey citizens’ legitimate demands.”

“Everyone knows the ACTA agreement is problematic, whether it is its impact on civil liberties, the way it makes Internet access providers liable, its consequences on generic drugs manufacturing, or how little protection it gives to our geographical indications.”

“This agreement might have major consequences on citizens’ lives, and still, everything is being done to prevent the European Parliament from having its say in this matter. That is why today, as I release this report for which I was in charge, I want to send a strong signal and alert the public opinion about this unacceptable situation. I will not take part in this mascarade.”

I’ve never seen words this strong from a Member of European Parliament before. He’s essentially saying that parliament was deliberately kept in the dark – this description comes very close to describing a coup d’état.

Next Steps

It is important to know that today’s signing of the ACTA agreement by the EU member states accounts for absolutely nothing. It is for show. A ceremony. Theater. The legally binding action happens in votes in parliaments; the national parliaments across Europe, and notably the European Parliament. That’s the final line of defense, and that’s where we must win.

The vote in European Parliament is estimated to happen somewhere around June 10. On the road there, it needs to pass through three or four subcommittees of the European Parliament. I expect similar mechanisms to happen in the national parliaments.

Expect lies.

The Polish minister of digitization, Michal Boni, was lying through his teeth yesterday, saying that Poland “had no option” but to sign the agreement, and that Poland would submit “an addendum clarifying Poland’s conditions”. These are blatant lies. He also claimed that all other EU countries had already signed it, which as another blatant lie.

First, if no vote in parliament was needed, you can be damn sure it wouldn’t be held in the first place. If parliament says no, any parliament, then no it is. And the Members of Parliament push exactly the button they want to – there is no “must push yes”. Nobody holds a gun to their head.

Second, there are no addendums or appendixes which may appease the public. The ACTA text is closed. There is no more adding to it. What remains is a yes or a no to the text exactly as it is written.

Make Noise

This is where we come in. We must take everything we learned from defeating SOPA and apply it to national parliaments in Europe in general, and the European Parliament in particular.

Activism on the streets. Flood them with phone calls and emails. (Do not overload their servers, though: that will be seen as borderline terrorism and just make them more determined that more Internet control is the right thing to do.) Citizens of Poland have been exemplary here in taking to the streets.

SOPA is dead, and nobody in the US legislature wants to touch copyright monopoly issues. If we win ACTA – and we know that we can – then that may be the beginning of the end for the copyright industry and its attempts to kill our freedom of speech. Yes, really.

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About The Author: Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. He has a tech entrepreneur background and loves whisky.

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24

  1. 1

    haha great header logo for some great news!

  2. 2
    mis

    Great article! Imma share the sh*t out of it.

  3. […] got this from Falkvinge who got this from La Quadrature who translated this from Numerama (Don’t say I didn’t […]

  4. […] har helt myglats igenom på ett sätt som gjort att rapportören för ACTA i EU-parlamentet nu avgår i protest och kallar hela förfarandet en […]

  5. […] Rick Falkvinge: EU ACTA Chief Resigns In Disgust Over Disrespect At Citizens; Next Steps […]

  6. 4
    Byte

    You know, since the uprising against SOPA/PIPA, I feel a lot more optimistic about how realistic the possibility for actual change is. I’ve always felt like a member of a small, perhaps idealistic, community that stood for adapting copyrights and the like to fit the fin-de-siecle Digital Age and now the 21st Century Internet age. But no one outside that small community had any idea about what was going on, so no one cared. Who got “voted off” American Idol, THAT was important. Since SOPA, it appears that many more are now interested in these matters. So many, that it translates directly into electoral gains and losses. So much that is starting to outweigh Industry lobby efforts (and for the US: campaign donations). There is light at the end of the tunnel! Hopefully we will get there sooner than later. The Greens/EFA will play a pivotal role, provided they receive your votes come the next European elections.

  7. […] 3: ”The rapporteur for ACTA just resigned in protest against the undemocratic forces behind this agreement. They’re deliberately […]

  8. […] EU ACTA Chief Resigns In Disgust Over Disrespect At Citizens; Next Steps – Falkvinge on Infopo…. Advertisement GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); GA_googleAddAttr("LangId", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Autotag", "politics"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "activism"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "advocacy"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "and-future"); GA_googleFillSlot("wpcom_sharethrough"); Share this:EmailDiggLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  9. […] saknas inte, inte ens inne i parlamentet. Kader Arif, fransk EU-parlamentariker och EUs observatör i ACTA-frågan, har avgått från sin post som […]

  10. […] post was previously published on falkvinge.net and originally appeared here. The text above is published under a CC0 […]

  11. 5
    Anonymous

    What about stopping ACTA by fighting against it in national parliaments like in Germany, Netherlands, Estonia, Cyprus, Slovakia? What will happen when some of these countries won’t ratify? Why are these countries delaying anyway, are these countries a combination of strong anti-ACTA movement and relatively intelligent government? Do you have any information/plans/suggestions concerning this?

  12. […] the whole process has been designed to keep citizens and lawmakers in the dark…’ http://falkvinge.net/2012/01/26/eu-acta-chief-resigns-in-disgust-over-disrespect-at-citizens-next-steps/ Advertisement GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  13. 6
    Hemo_jr

    ACTA, itself, subverts liberty (free speech), justice (due process) and now by bypassing Parliament in the EU and Congress in the U.S. it undermines democracy.

    Congrats to the MPAA and the content Cartel for achieving a trifecta of evil.

  14. […] Rick Falkvinge points out, the promoters of the agreement have shown to be perfectly willing to lie through their teeth to […]

  15. 7
    James D

    If you really want to see change, then hit them where it hurts (in the pocket).

    http://tthurts.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/boycott-corporate-censorship-participate-in-black-march/

    You saw the effect of the organized SOPA protest, Black March could be even more effective if enough people participate.

    In Poland people are taking to the streets (in sub-zero temperatures) to protest against ACTA. No one is asking you to do the same as the Polish, just for you to refrain from purchasing media products for one month, which is a very small inconvenience for a potentially huge gain.

    Spread the word.

  16. […] ACTA signed by EU Commission, EU ACTA Chief Resigns in Disgust “I want to denounce in the strongest possible manner the entire process that led to the signature of this agreement: no inclusion of civil society organisations, a lack of transparency from the start of the negotiations, repeated postponing of the signature of the text without an explanation being ever given, exclusion of the EU Parliament’s demands that were expressed on several occasions in our assembly. … a rushed calendar before public opinion could be alerted, thus depriving the Parliament of its right to expression and of the tools at its disposal to convey citizens’ legitimate demands.” …The legally binding action happens in votes in parliaments; the national parliaments across Europe, and notably the European Parliament. … If parliament says no, any parliament, then no it is. […]

  17. […] European Parliament’s rapporteur of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement resign in disgust at the ACTA charade, the exclusionary and opaque process. We also saw the passing of what is […]

  18. […] Evropski parlament već se pokazao neraspoloženim spram ACTA, pa nije izvesno da će ga usvojiti. Ako, međutim, ACTA postane deo evropskog zakonodavstva, kad-tad će postati i delom srpskog. Probleme srpskim kompjuterašima praviće i pre toga. „Ovakvi zakoni užasno bi zakomplikovali internet poslovanje u celom svetu. Internet je isuviše povezan da zakon jedne zemlje ne bi imao posledica i za druge. Uzgred, Srbija ima veći međunarodni uticaj kao korisnik interneta, nego kao ekonomski subjekt. Mada je država daleko od toga da shvati da se novac može praviti i preko interneta, a kamoli da takve poduhvate pomaže, programeri su prošle godine u Srbiju doneli više novca nego malinari. Slobodnih programera u Srbiji ima na hiljade, i ovakvi zakoni ugroziće i njihove porodice“, upozorava predsednik Piratske partije Srbije Aleksandar Blagojević. […]

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About The Author

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. He has a tech entrepreneur background and loves whisky.

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