Translation provided by PR professional Raluca TARCEA din Cluj-Napoca. (Thanks, Ralu!):
"We are sorry but we interrupt this program because big corporations cannot adapt their business to the Internet and so they do everything they can to control it. We will now talk about ACTA – what it is and why it is so important to be against it. ACTA – or Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement - is a legislative initiative whose purpose is to create standards unanimously accepted at international level , regarding protecting intellectual properties. It was first signed on October 1st 2011 by Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and USA.
Long story short, through ACTA, the signing countries wish to stop the production of counterfeit goods, generic meds and the distribution of pirated materials on the Internet. Sounds relatively innocent, they are just producers of different content, who want to protect their…content. Well, the situation is not so…bright (they say ‘pink’). Behind positive intentions there is a desperate need to control the flow of free information on the Internet, who will soon be restricted and punished through different sanctions. There are already other laws who protect the copyright but for them it is not enough as long as they cannot benefit enough from those laws. If this treaty passes in the summer of this year, the Internet as we know it today will disappear forever. Let’s see how this affects you.
First, all the Internet providers, yes the little people from whom you have the Internet connection, are forced to play bad cop when it comes to their clients – that is, to watch and report everything you do on the Internet. To save all the websites you follow and all the files you share, in order to find out any trace of pirating. If you get caught, you either lose access to Internet, or you get sued for amounts of hundreds of thousand of dollars and up to 5 years of jail time. Yes, 5 years of jail for a bloody mp3 file. Apart from that, if you film yourself at a party, and in the background there is a song playing, and you drink, say…3 beers in 2 minutes and then show off by uploading the video on Youtube, you risk the same punishments – huge fines and years of jail for using that background music for which you do not have copyright rights.
Funny…Yes? But sanctions go even further than that. If you have pirated materials on your laptop, phone, tablets or any other device, when you are at an airport or a border, according to ACTA, the authorities have the right to check the content of that device and if they find anything wrong, they can destroy or seize that device and you end up paying a nice and shiny fine. And one more thing. As we all know, the Internet is a place where you can express your opinion about a political party or policy, right? Well, NO. If ACTA gets approved, we can say goodbye to anti-governmental protests and videos in which citizens all over the world blow the whistle against political fraud or corrupt politicians. And that is because ACTA puts the power in the hands of political organizations – a power that allows them to silence this kinds of initiatives. With ACTA, we can say goodbye to websites like YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter or Facebook and all the rights we enjoyed so far on the Internet, out of which, the most important: the right to freedom. In January 2012, member states of EU have signed this treaty, making the number of signing countries reach 31. Representatives of Romania signed the treaty without bringing it to public attention. Romanians were not informed about this decision. It all happened in silence, far from the public and press.
Actually, before it leaked out, all talks regarding ACTA, starting with 2008, were done behind closed doors. Nobody asked the opinion of Internet users – our opinion, who ARE the Internet. The final decision regarding the implementation of ACTA belongs to the European Parliament, the ratification of this treaty will be happening in the month of June of this year. In Poland, over 10,000 young people went out on the streets protesting about their government signing the treaty. All over the world protests are happening against this treaty: signing petitions, publishing articles, blogs, images, anti-ACTA videos posted on social networks. Each of us can and must do something. Inform your friends, let’s fight together for our Internet."