ACTA On Hold, But The Protests Continue In Serbia

from the political-hot-potato dept

One reason the European Commission decided to refer ACTA to the European Court of Justice may have been in the hope that people would simply get bored and move on. It's certainly true that the cities of Europe aren't full of protesters as they were a couple of months ago, but that doesn't mean that everything has died down completely. Here, for example, is one country whose population still has strong feelings on the matter:

A movement in Serbia against the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is gaining a groundswell of support, although the government denies that the treaty is being considered for adoption.
Well, that last part may be true, but only in the sense that Serbia will have no choice. The country is currently applying to become a member of the European Union, and if it is accepted, it will be forced to sign up to ACTA, whether it wants to or not:
Assuming the EU and its member states ultimately ratify the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement [], Serbia will have to follow suit as it will have become a full part of EU law, said Branka Totić, director of the Serbian Intellectual Property Office.
That might make protests against ACTA seem pointless -- after all, if Serbia is admitted to the EU, it won't even be asked on the matter. But it seems that ACTA has become a political issue in Serbia:
Online group Pirate Party founder Aleksandar Blagojevic said the mainstream media and politicians are manipulating the public.

"They want to put us in the position of the boy who cried wolf ... when there is no wolf. But once it arrives, it will be too late," he said.

The group leads the anti-ACTA charge in Serbia and is in the process of registering as a political party.
In many ways, Serbia may be the perfect country for the Pirates. The founder of the movement, Rick Falkvinge, visited the country last year, and wrote about what happened during the 1990-95 international embargo against Yugoslavia, of which Serbia was a part:
Yugoslavia was allowed to import food, medicine, all the basic necessities of life, but not luxury items. Copies of digitized works counted as luxury items that weren’t allowed. Importing copies of bitpatterns was not permitted, stupidly enough. It turns out, therefore, that this was not a problem. The people living there could make do themselves, copying themselves. It showed on a country-wide scale just how unnecessary the copyright monopoly is -- not just to academics studying the situation, but to the very people, too.
Against that historical background of large-scale sharing, ACTA's attempt to enforce copyright strictly could well be even more problematic for Serbia than for other EU countries. No wonder people are protesting.

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