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Poland saved Europe from ACTA: can they save us from ACTA2?

DEEPLINKS BLOG
December 4, 2018

Poland saved Europe from ACTA: can they save us from ACTA2?

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Six years ago, Polish activists flooded the streets to oppose ACTA, an incredibly damaging, secretly negotiated Internet treaty hatched in the US to push both America and its European trading partners well beyond anything that could be democratically arrived at.

Six years later, as the EU fumbles its way to an even more extreme Internet censorship proposal through the new Copyright in the Single Market Directive, the spark of rebellion is being rekindled in Poland, where the Directive is being referred to as "ACTA2."

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A massive coalition of 15,000 Polish creators whose videos, photos and text are enjoyed by over 20,000,000 Poles have signed an open letter supporting the idea of a strong, creator-focused copyright and rejecting the new Copyright Directive as a direct path to censoring filters that will deprive them of their livelihoods.

The coalition points out that online media is critical to the lives of everyday Poles for purposes that have nothing to do with the entertainment industry: education, the continuation of Polish culture, and connections to the global Polish diaspora.

Polish civil society and its ruling political party are united in opposing ACTA2; Polish President Andrzej Duda vowed to oppose it.

Early next month, the Polish Internet Governance Forum will host a roundtable on the question; they have invited proponents of the Directive to attend and publicly debate the issue.

With the current stage of the Directive negotiation set to finish as early as Christmas, and a final vote due eight weeks afterwards, there is little time to lose. The opposition to the Directive is mounting and with Poland onboard, there is a real potential for a "blocking minority" -- a directive cannot proceed when opposed by at least four states representing more than 35% of Europeans in total.

For a blocking minority to emerge, though, the opposition would have to unite, and not fragment as they did at the last vote. Europeans in Italy, Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Belgium and Hungary (and now Poland!) urgently need to contact their MEPs to get them to work together to stop this while we can.

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