Recently the Internet, and with it our freedoms to express ourselves and communicate, has been under siege.
The most recent embodiment of that threat was the SOPA bill in the United States, a piece of extreme anti-Internet legislation which provoked a huge outcry, an outcry that led to the derailing of that bill. Now the focus has changed to ACTA. Tens of thousands of people have marched on the streets across Europe in a huge wave of protest. We have seen the birth of a European Spring in defence of digital rights and civil liberties.
Our enemies have tried to characterise us as misinformed and extreme. Yet even the Economist has described ACTA as “potentially draconian”. Are Amnesty International and Medicins sans Frontieres misinformed when they warn this treaty will harm human rights and the ability of developing countries to access generic drugs? We don't think so.
This treaty gives the entertainment industry significant extrajudicial power over the web. It specifies criminalising “aiding and abetting” copyright infringement - so it takes in all Internet actors, blogs, sites, Internet service providers, even potentially links.
We are continually told that there is a piracy crisis. There is no crisis. In the US more music was sold than ever before last year. In the UK sales volumes increased. This was driven by digital. Culture needs a free and functioning web. No one has shown us credible evidence that ACTA will put any more pennies in artists' pockets.
Do not let anyone tell you this treaty is for the sake of artists.
The numbers of people out on the streets in Poland have been an inspiration. We know the combination of protest and political pressure works. The Polish government has suspended the ratification process. They have been joined by the Czech republic, Slovakia, Latvia and Germany. However we can not stop here.
ACTA has only taken an arrow to the knee, now we must aim for the heart. Now we must finish it off, We can beat ACTA and anything that follows in its wake. Because beat it, we must.
The Pirate Party UK is a democratic political party built on grassroots support and the work of volunteers.
We stand for Digital Rights, Civil Liberties and a politics fit for the 21st Century. We want a Britain where all can be part of our shared culture and economy.
We are a party with no parallel in British politics, wholly transparent to the public, accountable to our members and not dependent on external groups for our funding or direction.
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Content Industry wants a music NSA - Techeye
0161 987 7880
World's leading authors: state surveillance of personal data is theft http://t.co/Rsh5jMG6W2 via The Guardian
iSPY: How the internet buys and sells your secrets http://t.co/agn67UUz4u via The Spectator
Review into EU copyright laws launched http://t.co/kCg05Z98SV
Technology firms seek government surveillance reform http://t.co/Xo2vhVCpWY via BBC News