Wed, Feb. 15, 2012

ACTA - Germany Suspends Accession

FSp - Washington.   The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement grew out of an initiative by the USA and Japan in order to support owners and marketers of intellectual property to enforce their rights on the internet. The first member nations signed the agreement in late 2011. On January 26, 2012, the European Union and 22 of its 27 member nations joined ACTA.

In Germany, the agreement met harsh criticism of the grant of unconditional authority to the state to bar private internet access, an early warning system for the violation of copyright, releaxed procedural safeguards for criminal prosecutions of minor copyright violations, and obligations imposed on ISPs to disclosure individuals assigned specific IP-addresses. Missing or ambiguously worded criteria in the agreement feed disapproval. For many Germans, ACTA implies censorship, the antitheis of a modern democratic society and its civil liberties, as implemented in the German constitution, Grundgesetz.

In November 2011, Berlin resolved to sign ACTA. But after Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic rejected the treaty, the German Ambassador in Japan, already on his way to a signing event, received orders at the last minute to turn back. The Attorney General stated that the delay should not be misunderstood as a definitive no. The suspension should give us time to carry out further discussions.

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