“In the end, film history has a way of sorting things out anyway: Driving Miss Daisy won Best Picture the same year Do The Right Thing wasn’t nominated, but the “dead” film is the one with the statuette. Now it’s just the answer to a trivia question.”—Scott Tobias (AVClub)
It is important to know that today’s signing of the ACTA agreement by the EU member states accounts for absolutely nothing. It is for show. A ceremony. Theater. The legally binding action happens in votes in parliaments; the national parliaments across Europe, and notably the European Parliament. That’s the final line of defense, and that’s where we must win.
The vote in European Parliament is estimated to happen somewhere around June 10. On the road there, it needs to pass through three or four subcommittees of the European Parliament. I expect similar mechanisms to happen in the natinoal parliaments.
The Polish minister of digitization, Michal Bonie, was lying through his teeth yesterday, saying that Poland “had no option” but to sign the agreement, and that Poland would submit “an addendum clarifying Poland’s conditions”. These are blatant lies. He also claimed that all other EU countries had already signed it, which as another blatant lie.
First, if no vote in parliament was needed, you can be damn sure it wouldn’t be held in the first place. If parliament says no, any parliament, then no it is. And the Members of Parliament push exactly the button they want to – there is no “must push yes”. Nobody holds a gun to their head.
Second, there are no addendums or appendixes which may appease the public. The ACTA text is closed. There is no more adding to it. What remains is a yes or a no to the text exactly as it is written.
This is where we come in. We must take everything we learned from defeating SOPA and apply it to national parliaments in Europe in general, and the European Parliament in particular.
Activism on the streets. Flood them with phone calls and emails. (Do not overload their servers, though: that will be seen as borderline terrorism and just make them more determined that more Internet control is the right thing to do.) Citizens of Poland have been exemplary here.
SOPA is dead, and nobody in the US legislature wants to touch copyright monopoly issues. If we win ACTA – and we know that we can – then that may be the beginning of the end for the copyright industry and its attempts to kill our freedom of speech.