Although nobody from the European Union (EU) has blatantly come out and said, “ACTA is dead,” sources have confirmed that this is a “political reality.” The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) would essentially work as SOPA in the U.S. But all of the protests across Europe, whether online on or on the streets, might have finally paid off. Today, Neelie Kroes, of the Dutch People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), stated in a conference in Berlin that, “We are now likely to be in a world without SOPA and without ACTA.”
According to reports, three of the four major parliamentary groups of the EU have announced their stance against the bill. The EPP, however, is the largest group, and they have not publicly announced where they stand on the issue. Not that it matters. It seems as though the public voice of the mass majority will have the greatest influence over the passing of the bill in the end.
SOPA wasn’t a hit with the American public, and some of the methods in which high-profile companies like Google (News - Alert) and Wikipedia have displayed opposition for the bill were seen in Europe as well. On January 18th of this year, Wikipedia followed through with its promise to “go dark” for a day; similarly, major websites in Poland shut down around the same time, as the day neared that Polish government officials promised to go through with their threat of signing the ACTA treaty. What Poland had, that differed from other countries, was a group of people called the ZAIKS, which actually supported the bill because of their belief in protecting artistic property.
Although SOPA never quite manifested into what people who endorsed the act wanted from it, there were other laws proposed that re-triggered fear over online censorship. PIPA, a re-write of COICA or Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeit Act, never passed, and just recently, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) were also dismissed by legislatures who were advised that CISPA was even worse than SOPA.
Edited by Brooke Neuman