ACTA hits delays in Germany

Germany has delayed its approval of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), amid concerns voiced by the Justice Ministry, reported AFP.

“The signing has not happened, to give us time to carry out further discussions,” a foreign ministry spokesperson told AFP. “The federal justice minister in charge of the issue has already signaled her objections this week.”

BBC reported that Latvia had also delayed signing, and Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic had delayed ratification.

Tech blog ars technica quoted German newspaper Spiegel, saying that the German government now plans to wait for the European Parliament to vote on the treaty before it comes to a decision itself.

The European Parliament’s rapporteur, Kader Arif, resigned in protest on the day the agreement was signed. In an email to the Wall Street Journal, he said that his concern mainly focused on how ACTA dealt with the violation of intellectual property rights. “I am very much concerned because I (and many international experts) consider that the text of the agreement breaks this very fragile equilibrium between interests of right holders and protection of civil liberties.”

Arif specifically said the language in ACTA that would be used to fight copyright infringement is too broad and vague, leaving too much room for interpretation. He wrote, “It is our responsibility as legislators and people’s representatives not to leave it to a judicial authority to decide of the scope of an agreement which could affect people’s civil liberties.”

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The ACTA treaty has to be signed by all 27 EU countries to ratify the deal, as it was negotiated between the European Union, Australia, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, South Korea, Switzerland, Singapore and the United States, according to AFP.

After high profile protests in Poland, anti-ACTA activists are planning wider protests in the UK, according to The International Business Times.

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