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The UK and 21 other European Union member states have signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, better known as ACTA.
The countries signed the treaty, which aims to harmonise copyright enforcement across much of the world, in Tokyo on Thursday. However, the signatures of the EU member states and the EU itself will count for nothing unless the European Parliament gives its approval to ACTA in June, and digital activists have urged citizens to lobby their MEPs against voting yes.
An EU diplomat also added his signature. However, five EU countries did not sign, namely Germany, the Netherlands, Estonia, Cyprus and Slovakia. Many other countries, such as the US, Japan and Australia, signed the document in September.
Over 30 Polish lawmakers held up paper replicas of the Guy Fawkes mask, made famous by both Anoymous hacktivists and the Occupy movement, during a protest in parliament of their country's signing of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), the EU's highly controversial online-piracy legislation.
The parliamentarians were members of the center-left Ruch Palikota (Palikota's Movement), named after founder Janusz Palikot, and the third-largest party in Poland's government, behind the powerful center-right Platforma Obywatelska (Civic Platform) and hard-right Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (Law and Justice) parties.
Once it's got its blood boiling, the mob needs new targets. Now it's set its sights on ACTA, an international treaty to combat counterfeiting and piracy. Rallies will take place tomorrow. ACTA lost its digital copyright provisions long ago, but the mob hasn't noticed. Many of the claims made for ACTA are completely false.
Even Ars Technica, which fomented the anti-SOPA campaign, has felt obliged to correct the anti-ACTA myths that are circulating on social media. The website recently lamented that the internet is "awash in inaccurate anti-SOPA", busting the myths of the anti-ACTA crusaders.