Why The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement Was Not Passed
The ACTA’s goals we’re questionable to many from the very outset. Just like any other wide-sweeping form of legislation, it must go through a process before being accepted or ratified. And I’m sure many are breathing a sigh of relief because of that. Sharp-eyed internet savvy users and those knowledgeable about the plight of those in underdeveloped countries detected many problems with the agreement that could prove problematic for those in impoverished countries as well as possibly infringing on internet freedoms. This resulted in thousands rallying in opposition to the agreement. Millions also signed a petition in opposition to the agreement.
What Is The ACTA?
The ACTA was proposed as a way to enforce intellectual property rights. Targeting copyright infringement on the internet, generic medicines, and counterfeit goods, by creating a new governing body separate from the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and the World Intellectual Property Organization was its goal. Many nations eventually signed on to the agreement. For example, New Zealand, South Korea, Morocco, Canada, Singapore, Australia, and Japan as well as the United States all eventually signed on to the agreement in 2011. The European Union and 22 member nations eventually signed on in 2012. The International Trademark Association and The Motion Picture Association Of America which is believed to have significant control over the ACTA and other industrial organizations, with interest in copyright trademarks, say ACTA was created to counteract the global trade of copyrighted protected works and counterfeit goods.
Why And How The ACTA Agreement Was Defeated
But the agreement eventually ran into problems when organizations representing citizens and nongovernmental interest argued the agreement would infringe on the rights of citizens. Those rights which included the freedom of privacy and expression. Endangering access to medicines for developing countries was another charge leveled against the ACTA by Doctors Without Borders. It has also been accused of excluding the general public, developing countries, and non-governmental agencies, in secret meetings that excluded these entities from the negotiation process. Because of all these accusations, problems begin to mount for the ratification of the agreement. This also resulted in massive protests across Europe. David Martin, British MEP, suggested that the European Parliament should reject the ACTA. The underlying fear being the intended benefits of the ACTA agreement didn’t outweigh the threat they posed to the Civil Rights of common citizens. The agreement was rejected worldwide for fear of the impact it would have on internet freedom and access to medicines for developing countries. Rallies comprised of tens of thousands were held across Europe in opposition to the agreement. Many felt the agreement would infringe on their basic freedoms and internet freedoms as well as subject them to spying from officials. Over 2 million signed a petition against the ACTA. The agreement was eventually rejected by the European Parliament. Many attribute its defeat to savvy internet users as well as citizens and peoples around the world knowledgeable about the plight of undeveloped countries and how this particular agreement could negatively impact those countries. Many believe this is what resulted in its overwhelming defeat. The secretive nature of the whole process didn’t help their efforts at working to ratify the agreement either.
Why The ACTA Probably Won’t Ever Be Ratified
I think this is a classic example of big bureaucracies and how they engage in questionable and very dangerous practices under the fake cloak of beneficial organizations. Although the ACTA’s goals on the surface appeared to fight for the rights of many big businesses. Their underlying goals became clear to many common citizens and those in underdeveloped countries. Although it may have benefited many big businesses the threats it posed to basic freedoms far outweighed its benefits for big business in the eyes of many. The reasons the ACTA agreement probably won’t ever be ratified are probably the same reasons why it failed to be ratified in the first place. And that is it went about creating and establishing the agreement in secret while hiding many of the details related to the agreement from non-governmental agencies, the general public and those in underdeveloped countries, etc. It didn’t appear to be willing to concede with these troubling details so you have to wonder why it would be willing to concede now as it relates to allowing non-governmental agencies, the general public, and those in underdeveloped countries, at the negotiating table. The unwillingness to address those key points rubbed citizens around the world the wrong way. And resulted in widespread opposition and protest to the ratification of the agreement. As long as the ACTA refuses to change in regards to these concerns there’s no reason to think the result at working to ratify the agreement a second time will be any different. Internet Savvy users being aware of how valuable their internet rights are, as well as the new awareness that many citizens around the world appear to be equipped with in terms of becoming increasingly more knowledgeable about how big companies and bureaucracies carefully word legislation to deprive them of their basic rights, makes it more difficult for organizations like ACTA and others with similar questionable tactics to ratify these kinds of agreements. It appears citizens and non-governmental agencies are becoming increasingly wiser to these kinds of practices. So as long as they’re becoming more educated and wiser to these kinds of questionable practices and tactics, the more difficult it will be for organizations like the ACTA and others to successfully ratify these kinds of agreements. And in many cases to do the bidding of these big corporations is to automatically infringe on the rights of citizens and their internet rights, as well as the rights of underdeveloped communities. Which will always be problematic for non-governmental agencies, the general public, and underdeveloped communities. There’s an old saying that goes “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me” and I think that saying is applicable in this particular situation as the ACTA won’t be able to ratify the agreement with similar details after it’s already failed to do so previously. The overwhelming defeat of the agreement once again proves the power of the people. And how people united in a common goal can move mountains. Without citizens of all countries rallying in opposition to the agreement, it could have well been passed. The effects that in turn could have had on basic rights and those in underdeveloped countries could have proven to be, in many respects, catastrophic. This is a classic example of why citizens should thoroughly examine broad sweeping legislation. Certain bills and laws can be extremely impactful especially if you don’t know what’s contained in them. Being knowledgeable about these kinds of wide-reaching agreements is crucial to ensure they don’t negatively impact those most in need or infringe on basic freedoms. The devil is always in the details. But unfortunately for this agreement many of the key details we’re even kept secret. Anytime they’re trying to hash out the deal in secret while keeping the key component of the agreement secret from the public that’s a dead giveaway and should be cause for concern. There appears to be, in recent times, an increase by many bureaucracies working to infringe on the basic rights of citizens in all countries. These are dangerous practices that need to be monitored and exposed when necessary. And if found to threaten the basic rights of citizens and the freedoms of those in underdeveloped countries action needs to be taken.