EU executive defends contested online piracy pact

People protest against the ACTA in Riga, Latvia today
People protest against the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in Riga. The European Commission defended ACTA, opposed by some EU states and still to be ratified by the European Parliament.

The European Commission on Monday defended a global online-piracy pact opposed by some EU states and still to be ratified by the European Parliament.

Defending the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) from accusations that it amounts to a witch hunt against individuals illegally downloading content, the commission said that it will try to keep the deal alive when he appears before the European Parliament later this month.

"ACTA will not lead to limitation of or harassment of consumers," Cezary Lewanowicz, a European Commission spokesman, wrote on Twitter.

"ACTA does not change EU law, does not prevent people from sharing content online, will not monitor the Internet," he said.

Five of EU's 27 governments have not signed the pact and president Martin Schulz said it was "unbalanced" and difficult to accept in its current form.

An EU negotiator said a rejection by one EU state or parliament could bury the whole project, which was negotiated between the EU and 10 other states, including the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia and .

ACTA does not touch on file sharing and "does not require (web) service providers to become Internet controllers in Europe," said a European Commission official.

Tens of thousands of people have marched in protests in more than a dozen European cities against ACTA, which critics say could curtail .

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