While the back and forth on SOPA and PIPA are over, ACTA, or the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is still being debated in various European countries. Germany and Poland have already stopped support for ACTA. The Dutch Parliament has stalled ACTA, as lawmakers wanted to examine how exactly the treaty would affect Internet privacy before ratifying it. And now, Bulgaria has withdrawn support for ACTA. According to Mashable, Bulgaria joined Germany and Poland in stopping support for ACTA because the country does not see a clear and unified stance taken by Europe on the matter. Traicho Traikov, the Bulgarian economy and energy minister said, “I’m a pessimist when it comes to regulating an industry, which hasn’t adapted to the digital age, through sanctions rather than market means.”
Withdrawing support from ACTA
Bulgaria's statement comes after protests spread across Europe against the web piracy treaty. In Germany, 25,000 demonstrators braved the freezing cold to protest ACTA. 4,000 protestors gathered on the streets of the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia. So far, eight countries have signed the anti-piracy bill, including the United States and Japan, but none have ratified it. For the treaty to activate, six countries need to ratify it. However, given the sheer number of protesters that are against the bill, showing up not just in the above mentioned cities, but also in Warsaw, Prague, Slovakia, Bucharest, Vilnius, Paris, Brussels and Dublin, the treaty has a good chance of not being activated.
Protestors have compared ACTA to Big Brother style surveillance, which was used by many Communist regimes. Downloading music and movies for free off the Internet is a major source of free entertainment for young Eastern Europeans. In Sofia, most of the protestors were young people. Some protestors wore Guy Fawkes masks, which is also the symbol of hacktivist group, Anonymous. “We want ACTA stopped,” Yanko Petrov, who attended the rally in Sofia, told state broadcaster BNT. “We have our own laws, we don't need international acts.“