EU countries – including Ireland and Poland – sign ACTA treaty

26 Jan 2012

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) – which is seen by critics to be an international version of the controversial SOPA bill – has been signed by the EU and member countries, including Ireland and Poland, at a ceremony in Tokyo today.

Despite protests in Warsaw that saw 20,000 people take to the streets, Poland signed the controversial ACTA deal in Tokyo, Poland’s ambassador to Japan, Jadwiga Rodowicz-Czechowska, told Polish media.

ACTA is a treaty whereby countries agree to deal with intellectual property infringement in a similar fashion, particularly in areas like music, movies, drugs and fashion, where intellectual property theft is common.

The clandestine nature of negotiations between the signing nations and the fact that in relation to internet piracy it initially recommended ‘three strikes’ remedies have only served to stoke up opposition from the public.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, it contains several features that raise concerns for consumers’ privacy and civil liberties, as well as legitimate commerce, innovation and the free flow of information.

ACTA, EFF argues, also limits developing countries’ ability to choose policy options that best suit their domestic priorities and levels of economic development.

Either way, the treaty was signed today by European nations, including Belgium, the UK, Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Bulgaria, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

The signing took place at a ceremony at Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The treaty has already been signed by Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and the US.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years