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ACTA: Why We Take to The Streets

Paris, February 23rd, 2012 – Despite the EU Commission's attempt to buy time and defuse the heated political debate by referring ACTA to the EU Court of Justice, this Saturday February 25th will be one more opportunity for hundreds of thousands of citizens across dozens of cities all around the European Union to take to the streets and protest against ACTA. For all of us, ACTA has become the symbol of corrupt policy-making, and the evidence that it has never been more urgent to reform copyright so as to protect our fundamental rights online.

Like they did for the February 11th protests, La Quadrature du Net's co-founders and its supporters will take to the streets again and protest against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, ACTA, this Saturday in Paris. While highly symbolic, these protests are the genuine expression of the outrage felt by hundreds of thousands of citizens who realize the true anti-democratic nature of ACTA.

This wave of protests is unique on several accounts:

  • These anti-ACTA protests have literally no head, no organizers, and are not led by any political party, union or NGO. They are the spontaneous expression of the outrage which has been growing online, and is developing into a tremendous force.
  • Never in recent EU history has such a protest been “distributed” across so many of its Member States and cities. The uproar against ACTA is profoundly democratic.
  • Citizens participating are remarkably young on average, and represent a generation for whom a free Internet has become the most important tool for learning, working, accessing and participating to culture, and taking part in society. These demonstrations build up hope because their primary objective is to defend the free Internet as an asset for a better future.
  • “It is time, now more than ever, to demand not only the rejection of ACTA, but that a free Internet and our fundamental freedoms be protected throughout the future. The Members of the European Parliament must listen to the streets and promptly vote against ACTA. Beyond that, they must initiate a positive reform of copyright to legalize new massive cultural practices such as culture sharing, as long as they're not done for profit. Copyright can only regain its legitimacy, and our freedoms as well as the free Internet can only be protected, if repression focuses on commercial infringements and if not-for-profit practices – essential for access to culture – are made legal.” concluded Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder of the citizen organisation La Quadrature du Net.

    La Quadrature du Net encourages its supporters to rally these peaceful protests all across Europe to take part in defeating ACTA and for a better, fairer, copyright in the future. An updated version of our flyer has been made available (and help is needed to update translations).