Cold feet for ACTA in Central Europe

The Czech and Slovak governments announced on 6 February that they are halting the ratification process for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, an international anti-piracy pact that has attracted increasing controversy over the past few weeks.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas and Slovak Economy Minister Juraj Miskov each cited concerns the new anti-piracy accord would limit civic freedoms, according to Agence France Presse. The move follows a similar decision by Poland last week. On 3 February, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced his government would freeze the ratification process after thousands of Poles protested the anti-piracy treaty in late January.

The three countries initially signed up for the treaty on 26 January along with 19 other EU countries. Supporters say the treaty erects a standardized legal framework that would help combat counterfeiting and copyright infringement. Opponents worry it would be used to limit Internet freedom.

Criticism of the pact has been growing lately, according to the BBC, spurred in part by the recent demise of SOPA and PIPA, similar anti-piracy legislation in the United States. In addition to protests in Poland, there have been demonstrations in LjubljanaPrague, and other cities, and coordinated protests are planned in cities across Europe on 11 February, the BBC reports. Taking their fight online, Internet activists, including the group Anonymous, have gone after and shut down government and industry websites in several countries, including Poland, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic.


About the Author

Transitions Online

Transitions Online (www.tol.org) is an Internet magazine that covers political, social, cultural, and economic issues in the former communist countries of Europe and Central Asia. The magazine has a strong network of local contributors, who provide valuable insight into events in the region’s 29 countries.
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