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ACTA: prosecution for communication?

Published time: January 27, 2012 02:57
Edited time: April 20, 2012 12:02

Demonstrators in masks protest against Poland's government plans to sign ACTA in front of the EU office in Warsaw (REUTERS/Peter Andrews)

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The ACTA copyright protection treaty, which has recently been signed in Poland, represents outdated copyright legislation that could lead to punishment just for an act of communication.

That is according to Jaroslaw Lipszyc from Internet Society Poland who believes that the current intellectual property system, which Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is designed to protect, does not work in the digital age. “What we are advocating is a modern view on copyright and intellectual property systems,” he says.

In Lipszyc’s opinion the problems with ACTA is that it will freeze the system as it is now and make it impossible to change in the future.

We need a system which is flexible and which adapts to innovative economy,” he insists.

Lipszyc says that those who have protested against the signing of the ACTA treaty in Poland are afraid they might be prosecuted just for an act of communication with other people. “There is a part written into this piece of law on putting more restrictions and this is not the way we want to go.”

ACTA is being pushed all over the world by countries like the United States and Japan because they have very strong businesses that rely on internet property laws, he explains warning that it does not necessarily benefit ordinary people. “People [in Poland] feel oppressed by that. They don’t like the Polish government just doing what American companies tell them to do.”

Loz Kaye, of the UK Pirate Party, says this deal could be just as harmful as the similar recently stalled bills in the US that sparked worldwide outrage.

Kaye warns that ACTA turns Internet service providers into kinds of police officers. “Under the name of dealing with copyright infringement it’s actually going to mean that there is going to be an unacceptable level of surveillance on all of our Internet connections.”

It makes a copyright infringement a criminal offence,” he stated.