Watch Out: Widespread Protests Against ACTA Spreading Across Europe

from the wow dept

As we’ve noted multiple times, it appears the entertainment industry still does not recognize what kind of beast it awoke with its efforts to shove through SOPA and PIPA. While it still believes it was the “tech community” that caused those bills to be shelved, it’s been ignoring that a very large segment of internet users have been activated on these issues… and they’re angry and willing to be proactive. We’ve pointed out that lots of attention has turned towards ACTA — and while it’s late in the process, don’t underestimate the power of an awful lot of pissed off people who recognize that their internet is being messed with in a way that may harm their ability to communicate.

A bunch of folks have been setting up February 11th as a global day of protest against ACTA, and if the entertainment industry thought that the anger would simmer down after the SOPA/PIPA fight, they may have miscalculated again. Just take a look at the live map showing the planned February 11th protests across Europe:

View ACTA Protests Worldwide – Brought to you by in a larger map

In case you can’t see/interact with that, here’s a screenshot version:
These are live, in-person protests that people are planning across Europe, and if you start clicking through, you see fairly amazing numbers of people committing to come out and protest — even in places where you wouldn’t expect huge numbers of people protesting. Take, for example, Sofia, Bulgaria where over 33,000 (!!!!) people have said they plan to show up with nearly another 10,000 listed as “maybe.” Over in Valletta, Malta there are nearly 3,000 people saying they’ll be there. These are not exactly protest hotbeds. As you go through the list, you realize just how widespread the opposition on ACTA is becoming — and you wonder if the entertainment industry has any idea what it unleashed with it’s terrible miscalculation with SOPA/PIPA.

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Comments on “Watch Out: Widespread Protests Against ACTA Spreading Across Europe”

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Machin Shin (profile) says:

Re: Re:

So are you seriously trying to suggest that anyone who does not show up to a protest counts as someone who doesn’t care? You can try and play with the numbers like that if you want. Thing to remember is that if 3,000 will get out and protest in the streets there are going to be a lot more people who will protest in “smaller” ways. Like I don’t know, voting against anyone who supports ACTA.

fogbugzd (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

>>So are you seriously trying to suggest that anyone who does not show up to a protest counts as someone who doesn’t care?

Actually, by industry standard math and accounting standards, anyone who does not show up is counted as a strong supporter. People who just show up are counted as neutral, and only the leaders count as actual supporters. They are probably all Google employees, anyway.

Al Bert (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

A question remains, for even if this is sarcasm, it rests on a knowledge of political cultures less prone to reason.

That is: Why would the White House be the appropriate venue for a meeting between Google and the MPAA? If you think this is perfectly reasonable, I’d venture that your comment was honest and that you truly never will have a clue.

Spaceboy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

And how many people are actually for ACTA? Where are the demonstrations with thousands and thousands of PRO-ACTA people. Oh that’s right. There aren’t any. As small as the percentage of actual protesters is, the actual number of supports is much smaller.

It is no longer acceptable for politicians to go against their constituents. We have woken up. Go ahead and keep throwing your lobby money at our politicians though.

Beta (profile) says:


Is there anything a U.S. citizen can do to offer support and show solidarity, apart from speaking out against ACTA (which I’m already doing), and getting on a plane to join the crowd in whatever part of Europe I’d most like to visit (which might be inappropriate, considering that it’s supposed to express European opposition)?

Anonymous Coward says:


You can sign the We The People Petition!/petitions/all/0/2/0/

You can write the President directly
to voice your opinion on ACTA. While supporting Sen. Wyden (President bypassed Congress and signed ACTA)

gorehound (profile) says:


Here are some things we can do in the USA

1.I started a Boycott Big Content group and another one called Boycott Big Content Organization on FB.I find these News Articles and post them all so people who I know or who join in will be educated

2.Stop going to the Theater BOYCOTT THEM

3.Stop buying any new products from Big Content

4.Censor them from your wallet completely and Educate your Friends and Family on this

5.Go To any local Protests and get involved in them if possible

6.Sign any petitions and make calls to your REPS

7.Be glad that there are groups who like Anonymous will hack into Governments and Corporations to shut them down/release the Dirty Laundry.Spread the word about these groups in a positive way.They do bring out some real dirt and we do want to know about that dirt.

There are 7 things to do.Add on if you know other suggestions.

Loki says:

don’t underestimate the power of an awful lot of pissed off people who recognize that their internet is being messed with in a way that may harm their ability to communicate.

Not just communicate, but as I said in the last post, their ability to once again control the direction of culture without having it imposed upon them by small collective of individuals/corporations.

Loki says:

The lack of protest by even more people does not by itself mean that it does not matter, or that they are in agreement.

To quote a line from the Declaration of Independence:

and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

Anonymous Coward says:

when people and interested bodies are purposefully locked out of all meetings over Bills/Laws that will affect the people, what do these politicians expect? especially when a particular industry, which has already proven to be detrimental to the people by it’s attitude, is gonna be the sole beneficiary of those new Bills/Laws. waiting now to see the backlash from the non-transparent talks over TPP and how the same industry will again be the sole beneficiary!

Squig (profile) says:

Hi (from the creator of the map, no less 😉 )

There is something those Americans that live in a big American city can do: Organize a protest in front of European consulates. There are plenty of them all around the States. It would be awesome to have some rallies (small or big) on February 11th in the US, too, and since the US gov is unlikely to change its position on ACTA, you can try to make the members of European parliaments stop and think (just as Europeans supported the Stop SOPA and PIPA protests).
As for Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders: You can try to get a national debate on the whole thing going as well. There’s already a protest scheduled in Montreal, why not in other places?

Kind regards from Hanover

Justus R?meth

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

As difficult as it may be for many to understand, there are many who have read the dire predictions permeating the internet and recognize, having read the document and having researched judicial precedents, that the vast majority of the predictions are fallacious.

I have studied both sides of the issues, and in my view those who support the conceptual bases for ACTA stand on firmer ground than those who do not. Moreover, and contrary to what say is the case, opponents who have raised concerns about certain provisions will find that they have not been ignored in the final document. The DNS issue has been put aside for further study. Possible conflicts with peculiarities of US law relating to state and federal sovereign immunity have been addressed. National laws concerning the availability of drugs are now recognized to try and prevent endangering the health of citizens of other nations. The list goes on.

What I find particularly interesting about the entire process is that those negotiating ACTA have shown a willingness to compromise. If only those who stand in abject opposition to anything associated with ACTA were inclined to do the same. Sadly, compromise does not seem to be one of their strong points.

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“What I find particularly interesting about the entire process is that those negotiating ACTA have shown a willingness to compromise. If only those who stand in abject opposition to anything associated with ACTA were inclined to do the same. Sadly, compromise does not seem to be one of their strong points.”

That quote is alone should get your post flagged as offensive to the community. If it wasn’t for TechDirt, most of us would have been completely unaware of ACTA until it was signed around the world. If you want to know why those opposed to ACTA are unwilling to compromise, try this: The negotiations were conducted in SECRET. It no longer matters what is in ACTA or whether its fixed or whether the rumors about it are false. Mike has been putting forth an effort to educate people about the false claims out there about ACTA, but I don’t think that matters anymore.

You don’t get to negotiate treaties behind a wall of secrecy and then get upset that people misunderstand and oppose you. If the negotiations were open and the public kept aware of what was going on, then the opposition might be less or not at all, but the negotiators didn’t want ANY opposition at all and chose to do their work in secret.

Deal with it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

In other wordss, ACTA is not about what ACTA says. It is about how it was negotiated.

I presume this means that that statements like “It will censor the internet”, “It will kill children who need drugs”, “It will end internet ‘freedom'”, etc. are just slogans, and not substantive issues to the myriad persons who seem inclined to rail against it.

Lars (profile) says:


Until everyone begins to boycott the movie industry they will continue to stiff-arm governments into becoming their lackies and bow to their pressure.
Boycott, refuse to attend movies or buy/rent their videos and see how fast all these bills get pulled off the table.
We can all live without movies, but be damned if I can live without my Internet.
Let’s start a General Worldwide Boycott – GWB!

Anonymous Coward says:

I think the answer that #8 gave about the end of the industrial era may hit closer than most realize.

In part we are seeing the same thing that happened when we went from agriculture to industrial. People lost jobs, hiring wasn’t very good as the jobs were for mechanical people, not farmers, and suddenly as an information age, the internet is prime to this era.

Sneaking around making treaties behind closed doors and having no one to speak for the public on the public domain issue is now showing where that sort of setup’s weakness is.

If you make bad laws, people are not going to obey them. Government after government has found this to be true. History is littered with examples of that.

Given the reaction once the people found out about SOPA/PIPA/ACTA how do you think they are going to react to the latest they are working on in secret. Somehow, I think that method is now doomed to failure; stillborn.

The pendulum is finally swinging the other way and will gain momentum. A lobbyist once said that IP rights were boring subject matter that people just didn’t have much interest in. The tide has changed and so too the fortune of those pulling off these grab bags of power.

There is one other thing folks can do if they absolutely most go to the theater to see a high priced movie. Don’t go during the opening box office days when the Hollydud moguls are eying the box office returns to estimate how well it will do. They spend a lot of time pouring over box office receipts and if they don’t show up as money in hand, they will write the movie off as a dud and it will become available sooner.

Anonymous Coward says:

The root of the problem is government corruption and abuse of power, we’re only fighting the battle when we should also be fighting the war, although i do think this is a positive first step, i hope this brings more awareness to the real problem.

We might win this battle, but the war will rage on, those in power will continue to fight us (propaganda media, ndaa…..a much bigger problem), we gave our goverments their power to govern us to make all our lives easier, and now it seems the ones making the the decisions have become corrupt, i think we need to take that power back and put it into hands of those who truly have our best interest at hearts

I know some might think this is all an exaggeration, i personally dont, food for thought

How far does the corruption go, how high does it go?

If we take care of the littlefish, will that take care of the big fish?

Do you think its safe to have even an ounce of corruption in our governments, knowing now, how easily corruption has becomes the norm?

a bunch of laws that deal specifically with corruption, and abuse of power, resulting in massive penalties and/or jailtime, imunity for whistle blowers, and a massive pro active approach to these new laws to weed out the corrupt by the root, until i start seeing laws like these, i will know we’re still being run by the corrupted

Heretic3e7 says:


Protests are great and a good way to show displeasure with ACTA. I would like to encourage all of those protesting to also boycott. The entertainment industry is entirely dependent on our discretionary spending. Their product is not one essential to survival or even real material comfort. As you raise your fists and voices, close your wallets.

We could quite literally make the source of the problem disappear almost overnight if we really wanted to.

Boo Boo says:

Re: Encouraging

Agreed, our most potent weapon against big content is our wallets. We can if we really want to, slay these beasts by not giving them our money. Just stop , its really simple actually. Theres no point whining then going out and buying their product is there ?
Whine like hell AND stop buying their product. That combo will bring these assholes to their knees if enough do it.

PaulT (profile) says:


Ah, the old “they haven’t read it!” attack on people who disagree with the legislation you’re trying to buy. It didn’t work when that was all you had to defend SOPA, it isn’t going to work now.

Hell, in many ways it doesn’t even matter what it contains. It’s a naked attempt to pass laws to benefit American corporations at the expense of European citizens, and was drafted in private with no representation for those who aren’t paying for it in the first place. That’s enough to oppose it, regardless of what it contains.

Niall (profile) says:


ACTA is about both how it was negotiated, and what was negotiated in so dodgy a way.

No upstanding law should be discussed in such secrecy, or attempt to be fobbed off avoiding democratic scrutiny (in the US).

Because ACTA was negotiated and implemented (as far as it has been) in bad faith does not take away from that it is problematic and purely designed to prop up an obselete business (model). Because people don’t like the cavalier attitude ACTA has towards everyone who isn’t the content industry doesn’t mean they can’t disagree with the incredibly concerning secrecy it was agreed under.

Nick (profile) says:

Anonymous Coward (First Post)

Just because you don’t physically go out there and protest, doesn’t mean you don’t care. If I look at every protest in history, it wasn’t a high percent of the population. I mean, not every African American came out to protest in the Civil Rights Movement of the 20th century. Not even the majority of them did. But I doubt anyone would say that most of them didn’t care.

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