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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bulgaria Changed Its Mind Over ACTA

Bulgaria decided to no longer adhere to the terms of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement it signed a month ago after a wave of protests under the view that the online surveillance and prison terms it draws up infringe basic human rights.

Bulgaria refused to endorse ACTA treaty in any way, and announced that it wouldn’t participate in it until EU clarifies its position on the pact that is targeted at subduing digital theft of copyrighted material. The country’s Economy Minister admitted he was a pessimist when it came to regulating an industry that failed to adapt to the digital age via sanctions rather than market tools. He believes that copyrights shouldn’t be placed above fundamental human rights.

Currently, the campaign against online surveillance, prison terms, and some other radical measures foreseen in the attempt to discourage free Internet songs, films and books, is active all over Europe. For instance, there were thousands of the treaty contestants on the streets of Sofia, Berlin, Warsaw, and Paris 10 days ago to make their voice heard.

The treaty was signed by the United States, Australia, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Korea, and Morocco. ACTA delineates civil and criminal measures committed by signatory countries to carry out against threats to copyright. The treaty brings forth the strategies targeted at strengthening relations between customs authorities and conjures up a special body to track implementation of the treaty.

Bulgaria was among 21 EU countries that signed ACTA last month in Tokyo. Meanwhile, Germany, Estonia and Slovakia refused to sign the pact, and the Czech Republic and Poland have removed their endorsement. Bulgaria claims it changed its mind upon the lack of unanimity on the matter in the European Union. It promised not to take any action about implementing the agreement, including endorsement, until all European states have reached a consensus.

The media reports describe massive street protests last week in a number of countries throughout the Europe, including Spain, Germany, Romania, and Poland. Internet users demand transparency and their righteous say in the issue, things that are no more than natural attributes of the “democracies” held as supreme in the above mentioned countries and refuse to tolerate the fact that the treaty that will infringe their privacy and basic right to freedom of speech was signed without public debate.

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