ARTICLE 19 to host debate on anti-piracy agreement
01 May 2012
To celebrate World Press Freedom Day, a stimulating debate on the challenges and implications presented by the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will be hosted on Thursday, May 3 by ARTICLE 19 and the Free Speech Debate.
Professor Timothy Garton Ash, professor of European Studies at Oxford University and director of Free Speech Debate will chair the panel led by Barbora Bukovska, senior director for law and policy at ARTICLE19, Gabrielle Guillemin, ARTICLE 19 legal officer, Andrew Murray, professor of law at the London School of Economics; Amelia Andersdotter, a member of European Parliament and Philippe Aigrain, co-founder of La Quadrature du Net.
Dr Agnes Callamard, Executive Director, ARTICLE 19, said: “The past year has seen a succession of anti-piracy bills being pushed by governments and corporations alike including SOPA in the US to the Sinde-Wert law in Spain. We are deeply concerned that ACTA has been secretly negotiated and proposed as an international standard for the enforcement of intellectual property protection.
“Whilst supporters argue that ACTA is needed to protect intellectual property and organised crime, if enacted by the European Union, we believe ACTA will undermine online freedom, restrict freedom of expression and privacy and stifle creativity and innovation.”
ACTA is a multistate trade agreement that aims to broaden and extend the protection of the intellectual property (IP) enforcement regime. So far it has been signed, but not ratified, by 22 EU member states and the United States, Japan and Canada.
Professor Timothy Garton Ash, Oxford University, said:
“We urgently need this debate. Almost every day there is a breaking news story related to global free speech ranging from Twitter “censoring” tweets in different countries and journalists being murdered over freedom of expression to the EU trying to impose tighter privacy standards on internet service providers. With two billion people connected on the internet and another two billion by mobile devices, we are global neighbours already. Now many fear that new barriers to this flow of information and ideas are being disguised under agreements like ACTA.”
Critics widely argue that ACTA will encourage governments and private parties to engage in large-scale surveillance of the internet. Draconian criminal and civil liability could also be imposed on those associated with the most innocuous infringements of IP.
Panellists and delegates will discuss how to strike a balance between restrictions on the right to freedom of expression and protection of intellectual property in the internet age without restricting the free flow of information and exchange of ideas between individuals globally.
Notes to Editor
The event takes place at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon, London from 6pm onwards. The debate is open to members of the public, spaces are limited. To book a space, email: email@example.com
(Sopa) is the Stop Online Piracy Act
ARTICLE 19 http://www.article19.org is an independent human rights organisation that works around the world to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression. It takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees free speech.
Free Speech Debate (www.freespeechdebate.com) is a global, multilingual website for the discussion of free speech in the age of mass migration and the internet.
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