ACTA: Anti-piracy treaty faces further setbacks in Europe


The highly controversial Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) has hit another wall. On Tuesday, both the Dutch and Bulgarian governments refused to ratify the international anti-piracy treaty, at least for the moment. This follows decisions by Germany and Poland, which have also delayed their decision to ratify ACTA until a later date.

While Bulgaria has already signed ACTA, Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov announced that the country’s government will not take any further steps to ratify the treaty until there is clear consensus among European Union countries. So far, 22 of the 27 EU states have signed ACTA, along with the US, Australia, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, Morocco, and Singapore, all of which signed the treaty last October. Germany, the Netherlands, Estonia, Cyprus, and Slovakia have not yet signed the agreement.

“We see a radical change in the attitude to this agreement in the EU,” Traikov told Bloomberg. “There’s lack of unanimity. Bulgaria won’t take any action in regard to implementing ACTA, including ratification, until there is a unified position of all EU states.”

Traikov added that the copyright industry “hasn’t adapted to the digital age,” which makes him skeptical that intellectual property should be regulated “through sanctions rather than market means.”

Moreover, the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament has put its support behind a motion from the Green Left party, which seeks to delay action on ACTA, according to a report from Radio Netherlands Worldwide. The Dutch government’s reasons for not moving forward on the treaty echo that of Bulgaria.

ACTA’s continued delay in the EU follows mass protests against the treaty in cities across Europe. Tens of thousands of anti-ACTA protesters reportedly took to the streets this past weekend, 4,000 of which demonstrated in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia.

Sponsored by the US and Japan, ACTA seeks to set international standards for intellectual property law, which include civil and criminal penalties for copyright infringement. If enacted, ACTA would also establish a new independent government body to oversee the enforcement of copyright law.

While EU officials assert that nothing will change for European citizens if ACTA were ratified, critics fear that the establishment of ACTA could hamper free speech, stifle online innovation, and threaten the distribution of generic medicine to developing nations.

The European Parliament is set to vote on ACTA ratification in June.

[Image via pirati.cz/Flickr]


PayPal will soon let you withdraw cash at Walmart, but there’s a catch

PayPal has teamed up with Walmart to allow its account holders to withdraw and deposit cash at the store. The service launches at all Walmart stores across the U.S. in early November, but there's a catch.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in October, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Black Panther’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

Pixel 3, Home Hub, and Pixel Slate — our first look at all Google’s new devices

Google has taken the wraps off of a slew of new devices, including the Pixel 3 smartphones, Google Home Hub smart display, Google Pixel Slate tablet, and more. We were at the event, and took a ton of photos of all of Google's new products.

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.

Here's how to download a YouTube video to watch offline later

Learning how to download YouTube videos is easier than you might think. There are plenty of great tools you can use, both online and offline. These are our favorites and a step by step guide on how to use them.

Your ‘Do Not Track’ tool might be helping websites track you, study says

New research from the "Do Not Track" features embedded in popular browsers are being ignored, opening up the possibility of consumers having their information targeted by specific ads based on their web histories and cookies. 

Carbuying can be exhausting: Here are the best used car websites to make it easier

Shopping for a used car isn't easy, especially when the salesman is looking to make a quick sale. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites aimed at the prospective buyer, whether you're looking for a sedan or a newfangled hybrid.

How to recover Google contacts

If you accidentally deleted an important person from your Google Contacts, they might not be lost forever. Recovering them is a fairly easy process -- as long as you do it quickly. Here's how.

Afraid that Bitcoin could be a bubble? Here's how to sell what you've got

If you're investing in cryptocurrencies, it's important to have your exit strategy in place if prices start to crash. If you've decided it's time to get out or just want to learn how to sell Bitcoins, here's how to get started.

Don't take your ISP's word for it: Here's how to test your internet speed

If you're worried that you aren't getting the most from your internet package, speed tests are a great way to find out what your real connection is capable of. Here are the best internet speed tests available today.

Feed your fandom: These are the best YouTube channels for sports lovers

If you're a cable cutter who still wants to enjoy quality sports highlights and analysis, YouTube is the place to go. There are plenty of great sports-centric channels on YouTube, each of which provides great highlights and top-shelf…
Social Media

YouTube is back after crashing for users around the world

It's rare to see YouTube suffer serious issues, but the site went down around the world for a period of time on October 16. It's back now, and we can confirm it's loading normally on desktop and mobile.

Chrome 70 is now available and won’t automatically log you in to the browser

Google has officially launched Chrome version 70 on Windows Mac and Linux. The update introduces some new Progressive Web App integrations on Windows 10 and also tweaks the much controversial auto login with Google Account feature.