An online signature against the disputed agreement has already garnered over 1.2 million signatures; demonstrations are also organized in our country
The online community, Avaaz, has opened a subscription to the controversial “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” (ACTA), which is also taking off in Bulgaria.
Its participants are increasing in an avalanche and are now over 1.2 million.
Over the weekend, it was revealed that the international treaty was signed by 22 EU countries, including Bulgaria. The signature under the text was affixed by our Ambassador to Tokyo Lyubomir Todorov, who has been duly mandated by the Bulgarian Government.
Following criticism from many non-governmental organizations, internet activists, bloggers and citizens that the agreement was prepared for years in complete information eclipse, demonstrations against it were organized in Bulgaria – like in other European countries, and especially Poland.
One of the largest Bulgarian groups of ACTA opponents on Facebook, named “Protest Against ACTA Acceptance in Bulgaria”, already has nearly 10,000 members.
Their protest is scheduled for February 11
The meeting point is in front of the National Palace of Culture.
At the same time, the supporters’ camp, which houses the European Commission and the Bulgarian government, insists that ACTA is not the scarecrow it is being portrayed for.
“If you ask me for my personal opinion, I am skeptical that ASTA will change anything, especially for Bulgaria, which has always been in the forefront in changing its legislation in this direction,” said Economy Minister Traicho Traikov.
It was his office that tabled the proposal for ACTA approval by the Council of Ministers.
“In practice, we find ourselves among the countries that are most in tune with these regulations. This document creates more commitment for the other signatories than for Bulgaria,” he said.
It is important to know the following – the signing of the ACTA agreement by the Bulgarian ambassador in Tokyo
in no way predetermines the lack of debate, the minister said.
According to him, there is a time for discussion until the ratification of the document – if it is ratified. The possibility of this not happening seemed to have been admitted by Trajkov.
“There are absolutely no justifiable concerns for people over ACTA,” Yavor Kolev, the head of the Computer Crime Sector at the State Security and Defense Council, told BGNES.
“This trade agreement aims precisely to preserve people’s rights, not to have counterfeit medicines, to have no counterfeit goods and counterfeit things, and to see which countries sign ACTA and which countries do not sign ACTA,” Kolev said.
Asked that ACTA enables Internet service providers to provide information about Internet users to copyright holders, Kolev said that this could not happen in Bulgaria, since there is no mechanism through which this can happen.
The European Commission is of the opinion that fears of ACTA are too high.
The EC website provides a brief explanation of what ACTA is, in which the document is presented as a whole.
ACTA does not restrict internet freedom and does not result in censorship or site closure, it says.
According to the EC, adopting this document will not change the way we use the internet on a daily basis, it will only allow for a better response to organized crime in cases of intellectual piracy.
The Commission also publishes another document, entitled “10 ACTA duties,” challenging the notion that this treaty will restrict internet access, that there will be checks on the laptops of frontier passengers, or that it will affect of selling generic (and therefore cheaper) drugs.
The EC stresses that the agreement will not require the adoption of criminal law measures, but with important clarification – at European level.
However, some Member States will have to amend their legislation to ensure that the measures required by the international agreement are implemented at national level.
At the same time, however, ACTA rapporteur in the European Parliament, socialist Kader Arif, stepped down from the post, explaining that “maneuvers not seen before” were used in his preparation.
The text of the agreement has been drafted for years, far from the eyes of the public.
Critics of the agreement believe ACTA is extremely important – but in a negative sense, an international act that has been adopted under pressure from serious lobbies and to the detriment of society.