Germany halts ACTA approval
Germany has delayed its approval of the ACTA treaty after the Justice Ministry voiced its concerns about the legislation. It is the third EU country after Poland and the Czech Republic to challenge the controversial treaty.
The Justice Ministry said that the European Parliament should vote on ACTA before it is considered by the state’s parliament.
Three of Germany’s parties, the Pirate Party, the Left Party and the Greens, have also spoken out against ACTA.
German protesters are expected to stage demonstrations in over 60 towns across the country on Saturday.
Earlier Poland and the Czech Republic had refused to approve the agreement. Both countries saw major protests in the streets. Critics of ACTA accuse its authors of hammering out the agreement in secret and say the deal will limit online freedom of speech.
On January 26, the controversial ACTA treaty was signed by the 22 of 27 European Union member states, and the EU itself. It now has to be ratified by the European Parliament and is scheduled to be debated in June.
ACTA is an international agreement aimed at protecting intellectual property. It shares similarities with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the US, which was shelved by lawmakers after a partial blackout by Wikipedia and Google in protest.
The ACTA treaty was negotiated by industrialized countries struggling for ways to fight intellectual property theft. The US, most of the EU, Australia, Canada, Japan and several other countries have signed the treaty.
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