The Dutch cabinet will not be signing the ACTA treaty, in line with parliamentary wishes.
The anti-piracy bill for the internet ACTA, which is meant to be signed by European countries, the United States and Japan, has been under fire for some time. Its opponents fear that the bill, intended to prevent people illigally downloading films and music from the internet, will be misused to limit internet freedom.
The Dutch Freedom Party submitted a motion urging the Dutch government not to sign. Green Left MP Arjan El Fassed asking the government to look into whether the treaty contravened civil rights, before deciding to sign. Both motions were supported by a majority of the House. The government has followed their lead.
Interior Minister Maxime Verhagen said the motions were “superfluous and premature”, because the government was waiting for a ruling by the European Court of Justice on the issue. The court is considering whether ACTA does indeed infringe on civil rights. However, the ruling is not expected before the end of the year.
On 4 July, the European Parliament will debate the treaty. It’s expected to reject it. Four influential European Parliament commissions have already said no to ACTA. A majority of European MPs think the treaty infringes on internet freedom.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is meant to harmonise international standards for the protection of the rights of producers of music, films, pharmaceuticals, fashion and various other products. Combatting piracy is just one side of the controversial treaty. Its opponents call it the “Censorship Law”, because it will drastically limit internet freedom.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide