ACTA signed by the Member States of the European Union
On December 18th 2011, the Member States of the European Union have signed the ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement). This signature was a mandatory step towards the adoption of the agreement, but the game is not over: a vote by the European Parliament is necessary for the ratification of the agreement. Thus, April underlines the importance of mobilization1 to raise awareness amongst the Members of Parliament regarding the threats ACTA represents and to uphold our basic rights.
In early December, April had already sent letters to Members of the European Parliament, to alert them of the harmful consequences of this agreement: sacralization of digital locks, stifled innovation and threats of criminal liability for technical intermediaries that could directly impact Free Software.
ACTA indeed presents that the implementation of DRM as a good thing, when in fact these "digital handcuffs" prevent people from using the products they have purchased however they want. It denies everyone's right to choose his/her own tools. It facilitates technological lock-in and the risk of censorship, which is totally incompatible with Free Software 2. Furthermore, the criminal liability of technical intermediaries could lead to monitoring and to censoring of online communication, which amounts to an unacceptable limitation on freedom of speech.
Now the European Parliament bears the heavy responsibility of deciding on the introduction of these unacceptable restrictions to freedom. April urges all MEPs to reject this agreement and to protect the people's basic rights and freedoms.