If you're from the UK and you believe in freedom of speech and an uncensored interenet, you really need to sign this petition. There are others floating about, but that particular one is the best way to ensure that your voice gets heard. It's hosted on the directgov website and addresses parliament directly. If it gets more than 100,000 signatures, it becomes eligible for discussion in the House of Commons.
Everyone's been getting so worked up over SOPA -- and rightly so -- that ACTA seems to have slipped under the radar. This is hugely problematic, because ACTA is a similar bill, but it has the potential to be far more damaging than SOPA ever could be.
Some people seem to have this misconception that ACTA is the 'European SOPA', but that simply isn't true. It's a global treaty, and it's already been signed by eight countries, including the US, Japan, New Zealand and Singapore. Europe votes on Thursday. If they vote 'no', the bill will have to be taken back to the drawing board and reformulated, which should buy us some time at the very least.
If you think this doesn't affect you, you're wrong. If ACTA passes, it could well signal the end of the internet as we know it, and that isn't an exaggeration. It's not just about watching movies and television online. If ACTA passes, sites like YouTube, Livejournal, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook and even Google and Wikipedia could become impossible to maintain. ACTA would allow ISPs to monitor your net activity and cut off internet access for your entire household if one person is suspected of breaching copyright. Think Big Brother is Watching. I don't think I need to emphasise just how damaging it can be to be without internet access in this day and age, when we rely so heavily on technology.
It's not only bloggers and fandom that would be affected, either. Small businesses, independent film-makers and unsigned musicians who have previously found their niche online would also suffer hugely, and would be at risk of being bullied into submission by Hollywood and multinational corporations under accusations of copyright infringement. All those artists who found fame by uploading covers of songs to YouTube would never have had the opportunity to do so under ACTA, as those cover versions would be prohibited.
I know the internet has its problems, but to my mind it's the single greatest invention to come out of modern times, and it would be an absolute travesty if we were to lose that now. From a personal point of view, I can't even put into words how important this is to me. I've met some of my closest friends through the internet and online fandom, people whom I would likely never have met without it, and it's given me this amazing social support system. I don't want that to end here, and I want to preserve it for future generations so that they can have the same experience and opportunities I've been given through my online interactions.
I know that opinions on the seriousness of copyright infringement and online piracy vary wildly, but that isn't really the point. Internet giants such as Google are opposed to this bill, and it's pretty safe to say that they're not in favour of copyright infringment, as anyone who's ever had a fanvid taken down from YouTube will be painfully aware. Whatever your stance on copyright, this isn't the way to go about dealing with it. This is dangerous legislation that impeaches on some of our most basic human rights, such as the right to privacy and freedom of speech.
So if you're from the UK, please, please sign the petition. If you hail from elsewhere in the world, there may well be similar movements in your own country, but I think the most effective thing anybody can do right now is to keep talking about this. Talk about it on Livejournal, on Twitter, on Tumblr, on Facebook, and anywhere else you can think of. Make sure this issue is never far from people's minds. The internet is an amazingly powerful tool: let's utilise it while we still have the chance.
Please repost and spread the word :)
SAY NO TO ACTA!
Please consider reposting this, especially if you have a large proportion of UK flisties. And please consider spreading the word via other platforms: Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, your own personal network.