The European Parliament’s president has entered the ongoing row about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta).
The German premier, Martin Schulz waded into the argument by saying that he was not happy with Acta in its present form.
It is an opinion largely agreed with by the German government, who last week, (Friday 10 February 2012), delayed ratifying the agreement, saying they needed more time for discussions.
The treaty has been ratified by the UK already though, along with 22 other members of the EU. However, it has provoked much controversy and resulted in public demonstrations throughout Europe.
This weekend saw a number of well attended protests taking place in Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and many more.
The protesters are arguing that the treaty will prevent the online freedom of speech, likening it to the Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) in the US.
This is something which Acta’s authors claim is not the case however. Instead, they are saying it will purely act as a backup to present laws, yet tackle more sophisticated approaches being used by criminals these days.
In essence, it is designed to prevent the increasing trade in and use of counterfeit goods, materials and property.
Increasingly, this trade has been conducted online, particularly where written content is being used illegally, much to the frustration of SEO professionals.
Individual EU countries will have to implement and agree to the treaty separately but to be truly effective, it needs ratification from the European Parliament, the debate of which is scheduled to take place in June.