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Why we can’t lose the momentum of anti-ACTA protests

People stopped ACTA, and we must keep on
Fri Jul 06 2012, 15:46

davenealWE BEAT ACTA THIS WEEK, we kicked its ass and it limped out of the European Parliament with its tail between its legs and sad faces all 'round among its few supporters.

It needed its ass kicked. There was nothing good about ACTA. It was an agreement dreamed up in secret by men in suits with vested interests in making large profits and would have been used against ordinary people. Imagine if you will, a fat man in a business suit who is heavily laden with cash. Now imagine that he is standing on your head. That's heavy and it hurts, doesn't it? Well, that's ACTA.

If you listened to its backers, it was a fairly gentle treaty, a watchdog if you like, with blunt teeth, and would just serve to protect copyrights. If you listened to anyone else however, it was a dog with rabies that wanted to come into your house, eat your Ipod and take a crap.

ACTA's backers could have done something to address this of course, like stop discussing it in private, and not be so bloody secretive about it and its vague wording. But they didn't, and would, if they ever did comment, say that ACTA would save jobs, lives and kittens. As we all know, it is these sorts of arguments that sometimes need the most questioning.

For a while it looked like it would be forced upon us, and that we would have to abide by its rules. It has already been signed in the US and Japan, and it only had to make its way through the European Parliament to succeed. With enough lack of discussion and plenty of distraction it could very well have done that.

But, in five votes it was beaten. Five rounds in a ring with stronger opposition than support. By the time it got to the final vote this week the anti-ACTA lobby was so large that whatever its backers tried they were beaten back, and then knocked out.

But, like with anything that happens in Hollywood there is a sequel on its way. This, which we can hope will be more of a one-off webisode, is being directed by European Commissioner de Gucht, who like Darth Vader promised that ACTA was not dead and would still be reviewed by the European Court of Justice.

Well whoowee, ha ha ha!

We can thumb our noses at that for now. ACTA has been stopped in Europe, but it will be back. It might not be called ACTA, it could be called The Son of ACTA for all we know, or Super SOPA, but it will be back. So, we need to remain vigilant.

We must keep our eyes open to threats at all times. The popular support that beat ACTA needs to stay together and keep pushing forward. As it does, so will its powers for detecting bullshit grow stronger and its aim truer.

As a protest cannon the anti-ACTA lobby already fires with both barrels. In the movie of the story it would be the sort of gun that Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger would argue over the right to wield. They'd call it the "Ass Kicker"or the "Ball Breaker". You know, one of those guns. Well, we do not want to let a gun like that get rusty, so let's keep using it.

There were great techniques there too. Where pro-ACTA could muster up weak posters advocating their position, the anti-ACTA brigade was imploring people to contact their MEPs by email and demand they vote against it. By all accounts, MEPs got a lot of emails, and we all know how the vote went. Well, now the same campaign spirit is asking people to send the MEPs that supported them flowers as a thank you.

I ask you, what is there not to like about this kind of protest and these kinds of protesters? They beat ACTA, and they did so with style and grace. The swell of online and physical protests that beat off ACTA must flow forwards now and fill in the any gaps where there is injustice.

The same level of opposition should present itself at the door of UK Home Secretary Theresa May, and ask her why in Hell she thinks that extraditing Richard O'Dwyer and Gary McKinnon is a good idea.

It should poke its head up every time a company tries to crush a competitor with patents, and it should rise up whenever an inflated Goliath marches towards a David. It must never rest, and it must never stop. µ


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