We're supporting a demonstration against ACTA, which will take place in central London a week on Saturday, on 11th February. It has been planned to coincide with demonstrations across Europe, when a chorus of thousands of discontented voices will speak as one against over-reaching Internet laws.
The aim will be to tell as many people as possible what's going on by distributing leaflets and asking those who are worried to contact their MEPs.
This is not an 'ORG' protest - like all the others, this is a 'citizen-led' initiative. Having been contacted by the organisers, we offered to help promote the protest and provide information and support where possible.
People will be meeting in central London at 2pm. We'll help supply what can only be described as brilliant leaflets and fabulous t-shirts. Then the idea is to split up into small teams and head off to spread the word.
You can help us cover the costs we're taking on of producing t-shirts and flyers by donating using the above form, too.
If you're wondering why you should care about ACTA, here's the short story:
ACTA has no democratic credibility: Aside from the substantive problems with the text of the agreement, some of which are noted below, ACTA is an affront to our democratic right to have a meaningful stake in the decisions that affect us. It was written by a cabal of bureaucrats behind closed doors. There have been repeated efforts to deny us a fair say in what happens to our Internet. Just like so many laws related to intellectual property, this was drafted with civil society and other voices excluded. It is only now we have a chance to say what we think.
This is one reason why Kader Arif, the lead MEP for ACTA in the European Parliament, resigned in the past week. He called the ACTA process a 'masquerade' and 'unprecedented'. Read more on why MEP Kader Arif resigned here.
ACTA threatens your privacy and freedom of speech: The broad definitions of criminal liability will push private companies to police the Internet. Private interests will be given more control over what you do online, would encourage harsh measures be taken against large numbers of citizens for trivial offences, and could mean more disclosure of your personal information.
ACTA would be a hindrance to innovation: The vague threshold for criminal measures, including liability for 'aiding and abetting' infringement, alongside harsher potential fines and other measures will create disincentives to innovate, as companies fear unsustainable liability for their users' behaviour.
ACTA could hurt developing countries: Charities such as Oxfam have complained that it will make it harder for developing countries to access life saving generic medicines.