Mass Protests Against ACTA All Across Europe

from the damn,-that's-a-lot-of-people dept

Despite freezing temperatures in parts of Europe, it appears that tons and tons of people turned up in person at the various anti-ACTA protests held all across Europe. The amount of people definitely exceeded most expectations. Some of the protests were especially impressive, such as those held in Munich, which you can see in the video below:

Not all of the protests were that impressive, but certainly an awful lot of people came out to protest.

What really amazes me about all of this is that ACTA was going on for nearly four years before pretty much anyone in the public started paying serious attention to it. And what caused it? The entertainment industry’s massive overreach on SOPA. The response to that woke people up to other efforts by the industry to pass dangerous rules, laws and trade agreements in their favor — and now the backlash seems to be in full swing.

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Comments on “Mass Protests Against ACTA All Across Europe”

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Squig (profile) says:

Chris: The conservative German party has a history of not doing what young people want (or what seems like the sensitive thing to do), so the official German position has probably not changed. ACTA will be dead because it won’t make it through the European Parliament, not because of the protests in Germany. Changing the current government’s position on it is impossible, swaying part of them collteral damage at best.

That said, the next wave of protests are supposed to be on the 25th. Let’s see how the turnout will be then.

jerryb (profile) says:

Lithuanian position on ACTA

While the minister said ACTA is not necessary, the Lithuanian president, Dalia Grybauskaite said on Feb. 10, “President [Dalia Grybauskait]said she is convinced that international trade agreements on the fight against counterfeiting (ACTA) will not affect either the European Union, nor Lithuanian law base.” (Google translation). On the other hand, Seimas(parliament) “will consider whether international trade agreements on the fight against counterfeiting (ACTA), violate the fundamental human rights and freedoms.”

Ninja (profile) says:

It’s interesting. Corrupt politicians work like that. They start feasting on public money, taxpayer money to get a better lifestyle. Once they reach their goal of comfort they want more. And more. And more. Till the point they are funneling so much money and there are so many ppl involved and needing to be bribed that the whole scheme comes down in pieces. Not that they are effectively punished and the money returned, at least not as often as we’d wish but they do get discredited and rejected by the public.

Now that’s precisely what happened to the MAFIAA. They went so far in their greed and their hunger for power, extending copyright over and over, messing with public domain and finally with free speech that it backlashed greatly and now they won’t be having their way again, not nearly as easily as before. Had the MAFIAA walked slowly implementing homeopathic doses towards a true draconian environment they might have got more than they’ll ever get now.

In the end, they fell under the weight of their own greed. Hopefully SOPA aftermath will haunt them enough so that we can get the much needed copyright revisions in motion.

Anonymous Coward says:

found the info here interesting, some of which is posted below.


‘The European Commission meanwhile published a document detailing the negotiation process of the pact, as it sought to defend itself against accusations of opacity.

“The EU strongly denies having provided any kind of preferential access to information to any group of stakeholders,” it said.

“There are also no secret protocols to the agreement and the final text is fully public and available to all citizens on the website of the European Commission,” it added.’

no good trying to defend itself when all attempts to have open consultations failed, with only the entertainment industries allowed into meetings with politicians. what’s the point of making something public AFTER it has been decided? bit late for the EU Commission to try to look good now!

Anonymous Coward says:


I’m afraid not.
According to Heise,(German) the European Commission is not impressed with the protests.
Google Translate

Although questions are now asked by the minister of justice in Germany, most of the big parties still use the same reply, “It will not have any impact on existing laws” and “We need to stop theft of Imaginary Property”
Google Translate

Chris From Poland says:

Squig: I should have made this clearer, as I did not mean the German Parliament or German political parties, but German sentiments and opinions in general. In particular I meant that if the German citizens are against it and take to the streets, than Poland can no longer claim that it’s “just a Polish issue”. Now it’s a European issue.

Ramon from Malta (user link) says:

Malta: internet access declared a right

Malta’s crowd was large by our standards. In reaction to the protest, before the day was out the PM had promised legislation that makes internet access a civil right.

The actual rights mentioned are “the right to internet communication without hindrance; the right for information, from whatever sources including the internet; the right for individuals to be able to express themselves, including on the internet, within the context of what was allowed by civil society; and the right for individuals to decide what information to share, by internet and other means.”
The protest movement welcomed this as a step in the right direction while pointing out ACTA goes beyond internet use.

Personally I think it was a day well spent.

Chris From Poland says:

What I meant was that our Prime Minister Tusk once said that protests against ACTA “only happened in Poland” and that he cannot understand why, that Polish citizens must have been somehow misinformed and that lead to “mass hysteria”. But now the all-European protests have proven beyond all doubt that the citizens of all nations are against ACTA as well and our Polish government can no longer claim that this is a local hysteria.

Anonymous Coward says:

Sadly, pass along over the top and misleading information and you too can create a herd of lemmings prepared to follow over a cliff.

SOPA and PIPA as now pending could benefit from some changes, but those most intimately familiar with their contents are in my opinion much higher on the “accuracy” meter than can be said of their opponents.

Planespotter (profile) says:


Sir, I am employed by the British/American rock band Foreigner and I must ask that you desist immediately from using the phrase “cold as ice”.

This is a trademark/copyright/patent belonging to the band and any and all use of it in the world must be licensed.

Please go to, enter your name and address and REF:15485485845878/AC/DE/487458656 in the case reference field. This one time use of “cold as ice” costs ?1.99, all other uses, including people quoting your original will cost an additional ?1.98.


Foreigner Litigation Team.

Michael says:

Soap box time

The major labels live and die by their back catalogs, hence why we never see/hear the end of The Beatles (esp. Paul), Elton John (ugh), Madonna (*sigh*), The Eagles (so dull), et al. They never go away! If the music the major labels release today was so good and generated so much profit, they wouldn’t constantly push the same old acts on us.

The Grammys are nothing but the music industry patting itself on the back, a prolonged advertisement for the products they want to advertise. The awards mean absolutely nothing in my eyes.

Nothing freaks industry suits out more than ordinary people having the capability to produce and distribute their own work on the internet, circumventing their scam business models. Nobody needs them anymore — they’re irrelevant. Independent artistry is the wave of the 21st century and they cannot put a stop to it.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There should be a 10-year unrenewable digital copyright applied to wholly original products released within the last ten years. We must find a way to present this solution. It is ridiculous to justify incriminating people for uploading/downloading older content while simultaneously attempting to censor the internet at the behest of a few private entities.

Andrew (profile) says:


Hopefully, though I think more work is needed – awareness / support is still quite uneven. I was at the London protest on Saturday. There were a decent number of people there (maybe 300), though this number was dwarfed by the crowds in other cities. To have a serious impact, more countries need the levels of awareness seen in places like Poland and Germany.

Richard (profile) says:

London Protest

I was at the London protest where we had about 400 – 500 people. It was a great day which hopefully bought more awareness to people. Loz Kaye (Pirate Party UK) did a great speech as did Jim Killock (Open Rights Group).
I would had liked to have seen more people come along though, but the people that did attend were great. Distributed hundreds of leaflets to people during the march explaining why we were marching and explaining ACTA.

Michael says:

Soap box time

Ditto. I’m sick and tired of hearing their whiny, overplayed, generic music.

@Chris From Poland, nobody can generate more art and culture than the populace as a whole. What good does it do society to lock down every known consumable product, much less keep selling the same content over and over and over again? As far as your work is concerned, it sounds akin to some of the modern VG soundtracks. The production quality is spot-on to boot. Thanks for sharing and keep doing what you love.

Remember, nobody needs a private corp’s permission nor funding in order to create, distribute and promote work.

Michael says:

on the NON reporting of mainstream media

“Same here in the US too. Reports concerning Greece and the protests against their government’s budget cuts, but very little mention of the ACTA protests.”

That’s because major media is in bed with the same corps who helped craft ACTA, SOPA, PIPA and the looming TPP. They don’t want to raise awareness because they don’t want widespread outrage. But fret not, the internet is more than enough to help spread ACTA awareness.

Anonymous Coward says:


but those most intimately familiar with their contents are in my opinion much higher on the “accuracy” meter

Since when have politicians cared about accuracy?

The labels and their supporters have distorted facts (counting a stolen $20 CD as 30-some dollars in losses), used scare tactics (piracy supports terrorists!), and resorted to ad-hominem attacks (“freetards” and “piracy apologists”). So I say it’s high time for a little tit-for-tat. Don’t like it? Too bad. These are the rules they came up with.

Hephaestus (profile) says:


The Hollywood types are not freetards they are idiots. They have whittled away at the commons in such a way that all they can do are remakes. They have created a worldwide system of distribution contracts that force them to follow predefined set of rules and time frames. They shut down any new technology that alters the way things are currently done. They do anything they can to maintain their current short term revenue streams, with no thought of the long term. Their actions against the first and fourth amendments of the US constitution have have turned them into the internet equivalent of the boogie man. They do backroom deals and lie in a consistent and never ending way. They have lost the public trust.

Gwiz (profile) says:


Nothing but freetards protesting that they will have to pay for things.

Keep on underestimating your true opponent. I have no problem with that.

What you are failing to realize (or perhaps you do realize and are really trying to marginalize it) is that the Internet populace actually does know what this is all about.

Bottom line, this is a power struggle for control of the greatest communication platform known to humankind. The internet citizens are starting to become aware of the magnitude of this threat and are starting to rise in a single voice to say “No. We will not cede control of the internet to anyone.”

Squig (profile) says:


Chris: Fair enough, but the general public opinion in Germany is still somewhat undecided. The biggest parties already lost many young votes to Greens and Pirates, it will not have a big impact on their normal voters. We just started discussing the issue.

We’ll see what happens. I think the EP will where the battleground about ACTA will lie, and we haven’t seen the US bringing out any guns as of yet, and they will bring out BIG guns.

What was also interesting is that some commentators here said that this could finally show that something like a European civil society is emerging. Admittedly this topic did not play a big role in the South and West of Europe yet, but in the East, North, and Central Europe it does, and within weeks Europe-wide protests were organized and coordinated. (links in German or French upon request)

Gwiz (profile) says:


United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea have all signed it.

Heh. The President of the United States signed it as an “executive agreement”, which has not been ratified by Congress like an “international treaty” is supposed to be.

Many law professors believe that the The President lacks the authority to enter an agreement like this (even if it doesn’t require changes in current law) because it would then bind Congress to current existing laws and not allow them the power to change them.

Violated (profile) says:

Poor Reporting

I have not liked any of the news reporting about this European wide ACTA protest day beyond RT. Many of them including the BBC and Guardian are vastly under-reporting this day then God only help us for finding a single mention on the likes of CNN and Fox News.

The largest crime here is to simply say “thousands were involved” and to omit mention of the 200 cities we aimed at with at least one protest within every one of the 27 EU countries. They do not even say “tens of thousands”, which we can easily prove in just two cities, then the true value should be over 200,000 people. That is an average of 1,000 a city but while our lowest was about 200, most did a lot better, then the big cities managed 5000, 10000 and more. Germany alone is reported to have done 90,000.

Then my other gripe is that none of these so called independent news sites made use of the vast array of photos and videos from this day to highlight the true scale of this massive operation. Even above you see one city where dozens more can be easily called up.

My last comment is that while this day was very impressive and congratulations to all involved it has also highlighted some weak areas where we need more work. For our first ever major protest though we can be happy and proud of what we achieved.

Anonymous Coward says:


I guess you firmly believe that the Office of the President has no original powers conferred upon it by Article 2 of the Constitution.

BTW, the courts derive from Article 3. Guess under your view they too cannot do anything with respect to copyright law.

Seriously, the notion that only the Congress can deal with matters touching upon copyrights is wrong on so many fronts that it would take a law journal article to debunk all the permutations that persons concoct.

Karl (profile) says:


I guess you firmly believe that the Office of the President has no original powers conferred upon it by Article 2 of the Constitution.

It sure does:

“He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur;”

No other authority to enter into foreign agreements is granted in Article 2.

The “sole executive agreement,” where the President may sign an agreement without Congress’ consent, is a statutory ability not arising from the Constitution. Sole executive agreements can only be entered into, when the subject of the treaty lies with the Article 2 powers.

Copyrights and patents are not a power granted to the President in Article 2, but to Congress in Article 1, Section 8. Thus, any foreign agreements that influence copyright or patent laws cannot be the subject of sole executive agreements.

BTW, the courts derive from Article 3. Guess under your view they too cannot do anything with respect to copyright law.

They sure can’t. They must enforce the law as written by Congress, subject to the Constitution.

They could not, for example, sign an agreement with judges in foreign countries, “harmonizing” search-and-seizure laws.

Anonymous Coward says:


Given your clear interest in law, I do hope should you ever decide to pursue law as a profession that you not answer an Article 2 question in Constitutional Law as above. It would lower what I believe would otherwise be an admirable GPA.

The Constitution is a remarkable document, but like any other is suffers from the inability of its drafters (just like those who draft legislation) to address each and every issue that might ever arise in the future. Hence, in addition to express powers, constitutional jurisprudence long ago recognized the need to acknowledge the existence of implied powers.

As easy as is may be to default to the express language contained in the document, slavish reliance on only that which is specifically expressed would bring the functioning of government to a halt. Hence, the law is much more nuanced than many appear to believe.

TaCktiX (profile) says:


The only problem with that logic is that if implied powers are taken to their extreme (as the ACTA executive agreement brings center stage), the checks and balances built into the Constitution are essentially null and void. I hope I don’t have to explain why that is a bad thing. There may be shades of gray, but in this case it’s so close to black it might as well be.

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