ACTA: the basics, the controversies, and the future

At the end of January, 22 countries signed up to ACTA. But what is it, and how will it be affecting you? Simon Brew has been finding out.

On January 26th 2012, 22 member states of the European Union put pen to paper on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). In the words of the European Commission, it's an agreement that "ensures people everywhere can continue to share non-pirated material and information on the web," whilst offering the reassurance that it "does not restrict freedom of the internet. ACTA will not censor or shut down websites."

Advertisement - Article continues below

The creation of ACTA has been beset with controversy. There's been a real sense of cloak and daggers about it.

It adds that "ACTA ensures the EU's already high standard of protection for intellectual property goes global - protecting jobs in Europe. Because Europe is losing 8 billion annually through counterfeit goods flooding our market."

Inevitably, though, the soothing words of the official EC language haven't offered too much comfort for those protesting what's proven to be a massively contentious agreement. Already, in the aftermath of ACTA being signed, one senior European Parliament official Kader Arif - has tendered his resignation, complaining that there was "no association of civil society, lack of transparency from the beginning and successive postponements of the signing of the text without any explanation".

So, what's been going on?

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

In the beginning

The story of ACTA began way back in 2006, as an attempt to bring together a unified response to the piracy of copyrighted work, and the global trade in counterfeit goods. In both instances, the internet, generally governed by local rather than international laws, had facilitated a massive surge in activity, and the idea with ACTA was to put together some tools to combat it.

Given the contentious nature of anything that in any way battles any degree of web freedom, the creation of ACTA has been beset with controversy. There's been a real sense of cloak and daggers about it.

Featured Resources

Top 5 challenges of migrating applications to the cloud

Explore how VMware Cloud on AWS helps to address common cloud migration challenges

Download now

3 reasons why now is the time to rethink your network

Changing requirements call for new solutions

Download now

All-flash buyer’s guide

Tips for evaluating Solid-State Arrays

Download now

Enabling enterprise machine and deep learning with intelligent storage

The power of AI can only be realised through efficient and performant delivery of data

Download now
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/security/privacy/355155/zoom-kills-facebook-integration-after-data-transfer-backlash
privacy

Zoom kills Facebook integration after data transfer backlash

30 Mar 2020
Visit/infrastructure/server-storage/355118/hpe-warns-of-critical-bug-that-destroys-ssds-after-40000-hours
Server & storage

HPE warns of 'critical' bug that destroys SSDs after 40,000 hours

26 Mar 2020
Visit/security/data-breaches/355173/marriott-hit-by-data-breach-exposing-personal-data-of-52-million
data breaches

Marriott data breach exposes personal data of 5.2 million guests

31 Mar 2020
Visit/security/cyber-crime/355171/fbi-warns-of-zoom-bombing-hackers-amidst-coronavirus-usage-spike
cyber crime

FBI warns of ‘Zoom-bombing’ hackers amid coronavirus usage spike

31 Mar 2020