The Free Software Foundation is rallying its troops against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), calling for “a firm, simple declaration against ACTA”.
According to a statement by FSF President, Richard Stallman, ACTA is threatening to punish those accused of illegal file-sharing with disconnection, a policy that has been gaining popularity in many countries recently. Ireland’s main ISP has begun employing a disconnection policy, while the UK is planning to bring in similar measures in its Digital Economy Act this year.
Stallman also said that ACTA will require countries to prohibit software that can break Digital Restrictions Management, which he classified as “digital handcuffs”.
He was strongly condemnatory of governments around the world who are co-operating with the Agreement: “When we oppose ACTA, we are not asking our governments for a favour. Defending our freedom is their reason for being, and we demand it by right. We should not ‘compromise’ by volunteering to cede some of our freedom so that they have less to do.”
He said that we must not settle for the status quo and must also oppose the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), which he reckons has also made harmful changes to copyright laws over the last two decades. He said that WIPO-enforced laws must be repealed and countries should withdraw from WIPO treaties.
He added that the politicians negotiating the terms of the Agreement are working on behalf of the music and movie industries and will not heed “civic-minded suggestions”, so there is only one option remaining, which is to object to and fight against ACTA, the first step of which is an online petition that FSF has developed.
The petition calls for severe curtailments of ACTA’s agenda, or, “as a simpler alternative”, the abolishment of ACTA entirely.