Polish websites to go dark to protest ACTA

Jan 24, 2012 By VANESSA GERA , Associated Press

(AP) -- Several popular Polish websites are planning to go dark for an hour Tuesday evening to protest the government's plan to sign an international copyright treaty.

Poland's support for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, has sparked days of Internet protests by groups who fear it could lead to online censorship.

The sites that are protesting are primarily ones that are popular with young people and carry a mix of celebrity news, jokes, funny photographs and other entertaining material.

One site - http://www.wykop.pl - said that "under the banner of fighting piracy and concerns about intellectual property, ACTA will limit the rights of each of us."

However, an influential group representing authors and composers - known by its Polish acronym, ZAIKS - has thrown its support behind ACTA. ZAIKS argued that ACTA will not hurt but protect the rights of creators. It said that is now robbing artists and the state treasury of hundreds of millions of zlotys (many millions of dollars) in income.

ACTA shares some similarities with the hotly debated Stop Online Piracy Act in the U.S., which was shelved by lawmakers last week after and blacked out or partially obscured their websites for a day in protest.

In recent days, a group calling itself "Anonymous" attacked Polish , leaving several paralyzed on Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, most appeared to be working again, though the prime minister's site was unreachable. Still, Polish leaders are vowing to stick to plans to sign ACTA in Tokyo on Thursday.

ACTA has been negotiated by a number of that have been struggling for ways to fight counterfeiting and intellectual property theft - crimes that cause huge losses to the movie and music industries and many other sectors.

The far-reaching agreement would cover everything from counterfeit pharmaceuticals to fake designer handbags to online piracy. The U.S. government calls it "a groundbreaking initiative by key trading partners to strengthen the international legal framework for effectively combating global proliferation of commercial-scale counterfeiting and piracy."

The United States signed ACTA in October in Tokyo along with seven other countries: Australia, Canada, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Morocco and Singapore.

Now it awaits signing by a number of other parties involved in negotiating the agreement, including the European Union, Mexico and Switzerland, according to the website of the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Critics of ACTA accuse the negotiating countries of hammering out the agreement in secret and failing to consult with the broader societies along the way.

Explore further: Premier US album chart revamped to include streaming

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Poland defends stance on treaty after web attacks

Jan 23, 2012

(AP) -- Polish officials vowed Monday to stick to plans to sign an international copyright treaty that has outraged Internet activists and prompted an attack on government websites.

Draft trade agreement worries technology companies

Apr 20, 2010

(AP) -- Technology companies and public interest groups are warning that an international trade agreement being drafted could expose Internet access providers, Web search engines and other online businesses to damaging legal ...

Draft trade pact more palatable to tech companies

Oct 07, 2010

(AP) -- For three years, technology and telecommunications companies have watched nervously from the sidelines as the United States and nearly a dozen trading partners have negotiated a trade agreement that critics feared ...

Wikipedia to be blacked out over anti-piracy bill (Update)

Jan 16, 2012

Wikipedia will black out the English language version of its website Wednesday to protest anti-piracy legislation under consideration in Congress, the foundation behind the popular community-based online encyclopedia ...

U.S.: China must 'crack down' on piracy

Nov 14, 2005

The Chinese government must "crack down" on piracy and enforce intellectual-property rights, the top U.S. trade official said Monday in Beijing.

Recommended for you

YouTube goes online for second Music Awards

Nov 20, 2014

The YouTube Music Awards are undergoing an overhaul for their second edition next year, scrapping a star-studded gala and instead looking at videos' online buzz.

China Premier calls for greater role in shaping Web

Nov 20, 2014

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang Thursday demanded a greater role for Beijing in shaping the global Internet, calling for "order" online as he failed to address his government's censorship of content it deems politically ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.