'The Economist' And 'Financial Times' Already Writing Off ACTA As Dead

from the let's-put-it-out-of-its-misery dept

In the last few days, we've seen an extraordinary wave of announcements by governments in Europe, particularly its eastern part, that they would not be ratifying ACTA immediately. That sequence of events, culminating in today's news that Germany, too, would be holding off, has suddenly made lots of people sit up and take notice.

But even against that tumultuous background, few of us would have expected that two of the most serious business publications in Europe, The Economist and Financial Times, would both go much further than simply noting the problems the treaty now faces, and declare that ACTA is pretty much dead.

Under the headline "ACTA up", The Economist says: "Protests across Europe may kill an anti-piracy treaty", and points out: "Internet activists used to be dismissed as a bunch of hairy mouse-clickers with little clout. Not any more."

The Financial Times' headline is "Latest pact on internet piracy set to be derailed", and the post makes an explicit connection with SOPA and PIPA:

A controversial international trade agreement, which campaigners fear would restrict internet freedom looks likely to be delayed or scrapped, the latest in a string of measures planned to combat online piracy to falter in the face of co-ordinated protests.
It also offers some interesting thoughts on why the ACTA revolt has been so strong in eastern Europe:
The issue has stirred up deep passions there, where access to the internet is seen as one of the rewards of belonging to a democratic society. Illegal downloading is also popular, in part because those societies are poorer than those in western Europe, and in part because many content providers have made it difficult for central Europeans to buy music and films legally online.
Finally, it has a fascinating comment from David Martin, the new European Parliament rapporteur on ACTA, who took over after Kader Arif resigned in protest at the way ACTA had been negotiated. Martin says he wants to "canvas views broadly", and to get an opinion from the European Court of Justice on whether ACTA is compatible with the European Union's current laws. As result of this approach, he says:
"Realistically, if we go down this route we are looking at a vote in the spring of 2013," he warns.
The FT quotes an unnamed diplomat who suggests that this delay may "give enough time for the post-SOPA venom to clear," so that governments can quietly ratify ACTA in their national parliaments and in Brussels next year. It sounds like a clever ploy -- let protesters tire themselves out, then push through ACTA -- but on the basis of the strength of feeling that's manifested itself in Europe recently, I wouldn't bet on it working.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and on Google+



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Rottweiler (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 3:45pm

    Great!

    Well, this are good news indeed, but even if ACTA gets killed, TPP is still lurking in the shadows waiting to show it's ugly head in the future.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    fogbugzd (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 3:51pm

    We hairy mouse clickers rejoice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 3:57pm

    Re:

    Hooray!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Dionaea (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 4:05pm

    "let the protesters tire themsleves out"

    Yeah, right. I'll rest when ACTA has been properly killed off. The only reason protests aren't more massive is that this treaty has been kept quiet for so long. As more people realise what this treaty actually means opposition will only grow.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Grey Ferret, Feb 10th, 2012 @ 4:11pm

    Re:

    And we hairy-mouse clickers as well!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Gothenem (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 4:18pm

    There will be more coming, and don't forget that SOPA and PIPA aren't dead yet either. They are in critical condition, but they are still around. They could make a miracle recovery when no one is looking.

    We must remain vigilant if we are to protect our rights and freedoms, and we must let the governments know that it is NOT OK to censor us to protect a few legacy entertainment industries.

    While they certainly have rights as well, our rights (the basic and fundamental rights of the people) far outway the rights of a corporation. Laws to protect the corporations cannot also strip us of our own rights.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 10th, 2012 @ 4:27pm

    "It sounds like a clever ploy -- let protesters tire themselves out, then push through ACTA "

    That act alone, knowing how some of us feel about the bills, would be a mistake, if they did that, i'd literally feel like they spat on my face and laughed about it.

    I still dont think they've realised yet, that they've crossed over that line, you know, that line between getting your way and non the wiser, and getting your way and having an unhealthy amount of people knowing about it, well, unhealthy for them

    I'm gonna go for, a change in name, some bits taken out here and there, to be added again but worded differently, and an assumption, that all these protests where a one off,
    which i hope not, i mean this is all new to us as it is to them, who knows if this is a one off, or the start of something, feels like both as daft as that sounds, has potential to be something if everyone is willing to keep going

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    al, Feb 10th, 2012 @ 4:59pm

    With all these countrie's backing away form ACTA, I was most shocked by Germany. A country that leaves online infringers "Guilty Till Proven Inocent". When Germany backs away from such a bill. It makes wonder if any of the countries that signed it even read it, or understood it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 10th, 2012 @ 7:21pm

    Re: "let the protesters tire themsleves out"

    There is another reason why protests aren't more massive... it's -10C cold throughout Europe. Thus I think the expected turnout of 300k people is not too shabby.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 7:48pm

    Re:

    Rumor has it, Reid is trying to do the same thing he did for the Patriot Act. Pass, the bill with legislation that is set to pass.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), Feb 10th, 2012 @ 8:04pm

    It's interesting to see the strength of the opposition from Eastern Europe and the reasons why. Some of that may also explain Germany's sudden retreat is that there's not much support for ACTA in the eastern half of the country. If unfettered access to the internet is linked to democracy and freedom in Eastern Europe that's a hard thing for ACTA advocates to overcome. Almost impossible.

    For such a conservative magazine (conservative in their journalism as well as outlook) as The Economist to make predictions like this unless they're sure ACTA will fail in Europe.

    And if ACTA fails in Europe it's future in the rest of the world is gloomy.

    If ACTA fails in Europe then I doubt there's much of a future for TPP either. Both big if's at the moment but this is one hairy mouse clicker Old enough that I'm talking nose and ear hair here!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 10th, 2012 @ 8:12pm

    Le sigh.
    Congress REALLY wants to go another round with the Internet?

    Senate sneaks in SOPA under a new name.
    http://rt.com/usa/news/senate-sopa-new-internet-847/

    Anonymous Coward??? #okbyelol

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Jacob Blaustein, Feb 10th, 2012 @ 10:07pm

    Agree

    I don't see the protests ending sometime soon either.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Feb 10th, 2012 @ 11:54pm

    Poetic Treatment.

    Tell you what, I'll give it to you in the style of a Viking Scald Poet:

    "a bunch of hairy mouse-clickers with little clout,"
    brown-bearded,
    bearishly shaggy,
    videogame-playing berserkers,
    growlishly peering from basements,
    mouses skid across screens,
    Guy Fawkes masks conceal,
    congressmen tremble,
    SOPA shatters, PIPA plunges,
    ACTA aborts, TPP tumbles.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Caroline, Feb 11th, 2012 @ 12:50am

    Acta

    We, the citizens of the world, will keep an eye on the developement of ACTA. We know the bad guys like van de Gucht.
    We will keep ACTA under a looking glass, we want to know everything about it, we will speak with our government at all occasions.
    ACTA is too dangerous for all innovations in Europe and thus for our future and the future of our children to let it just go.

    Remember this is a people's democracy, not an industrials dictatorial regime.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Owl the Mouse, Feb 11th, 2012 @ 8:01am

    Well well well. Looks like we Internet lovers aren't the only ones to thank for saving the online world. It was also the bronies who proved to the whole world that ACTA is a useless piece of fox-dung trying to censor the Internet. We should thank them as well. The bronies who don't have hub on their TV use the Internet to see the MLP episodes. They have been worrying that ACTA will kill the Mane 6 and the other characters. But now it's gone, the world is saved once again thanks to the MLP fans! I am a brony too! :D So when will MegaUpload come up?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    mike allen (profile), Feb 11th, 2012 @ 8:20am

    surprised

    I am surprised at the financial times as this paper is Murdoch owned ans behind a paywall.I would expect them to print a long article why such a treaty would be needed. Either Murdoch is softening or his problems with hacking in the UK and now bribing cops is getting to him.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    wvhillbilly (profile), Feb 11th, 2012 @ 9:12am

    ACTA strategy

    The FT quotes an unnamed diplomat who suggests that this delay may "give enough time for the post-SOPA venom to clear," so that governments can quietly ratify ACTA in their national parliaments and in Brussels next year.


    I suspect that is exactly their strategy--wait till the uproar dies down, then convene only the ACTA supporters and sneak it through when they think nobody's looking.

    This is just as dishonest as ACTA itself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Ratownik, Feb 11th, 2012 @ 9:21am

    many content providers have made it difficult for central Europeans to buy music and films legally online.
    wow they can write something smart sometimes. Old business models are not made for global village.
    I love war movies. Now go see "Red tails" distribution. Oh sorry I forgot. You have racist thinking pattern and as I live in "white" country I won't go see that movie.
    In times when you need make something physical I understand that was problem. But now you put files on server and streaming it into projector.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    wvhillbilly (profile), Feb 11th, 2012 @ 10:38am

    Re:

    Congress REALLY wants to go another round with the Internet?

    They're going to keep trying until either they succeed or until the entrenched corporate interests behind this stop feeding them money.

    The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Never forget this!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2012 @ 10:29pm

    Let me clear up some FUD:

    ACTA is a multinational trade agreement. It has been signed between 7 or so nations, one of which is the US.

    SOPA is a piece of legislation pending as a bill before the US House of Representatives.

    PIPA is a piece of legislation pending as a bill before the US Senate.

    It does help to keep these various documents straight, and quite mixing them up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Packetinspector, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 2:31am

    Re: surprised

    I am surprised at the financial times as this paper is Murdoch owned ans behind a paywall.
    You're thinking of the Wall Street Journal. The FT is owned by Pearson PLC.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This