Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Something That Concerns Everyone

Unless you have been living under a rock recently, you would have heard of SOPA -Stop Online Priacy Act. Wikipedia, Reddit and an estimated 7000 other websites, blacked out for 24 hours in protest of SOPA and many people, including myself changed their facebook profile pictures, in protest to SOPA to something like this:

SOPA was a bill introduced by a US representative to "expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods."

Sounds fair enough, right? I mean, I am someone who writes, makes music and videos, creates art and designs logos and websites. Last thing I want is someone stealing my work and claiming it as their own but SOPA was taking things a little too far.

SOPA wasn't just about protecting intellectual property. It threatened free speech. Something that is to me, much more important than holding exclusive rights to my intellectual property.

SOPA would have allowed law enforcement to block entire domains simply because someone posted copyrighted material on a single blog.

Imagaine waking up one day and sitting down to update your Blogger blog, only to find that the entire network had been shut down, simply because one user had posted copyrighted material on their blog. Or going to see what's happening on Facebook and find that it has been shut down because one user posted a copyrighted photo on their profile.

SOPA would have completely changed the internet that we know and love, into something entirely different.

After the blackout protests on January 18th, 2012 the SOPA bill was put aside for another time later on. We won the battle, but he haven't won the war... Yet.

Something much scarier has come up. ACTA -Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
From Wikapedia:
"The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a multi-national agreement for the purpose of establishing international standards for intellectual property rights enforcement. The agreement aims to establish an international legal framework for targeting counterfeit goods, generic medicines and copyright infringement on the Internet, and would create a new governing body outside existing forums, such as the World Trade Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, or the United Nations."
Uh, did that just say generic medicines?

According to this agreement, people who are sick and can't afford expensive brand-name medicines will have to go without.

I understand wanting to weed out those who produce and sell knock-off designer handbags and shoes, but generic medicine? My mother relies on generic medicine to stay alive and well. She can't afford the brand-name medicines that she is prescribed. She has to rely on the cheaper versions that our local pharmacist provides. Without generic medicines, she will have to go without. Eventually without those medicines, she will get very sick and die.

ACTA is now not just threatening our right to free speech, it is now threatening lives. I am not being over-dramatic either. There are billions of people who can't afford brand name medicine and rely on generic medicine. If generic medicine is banned, then they have to go without. Many peoples lives, or quality of life depend on generic medicine.

This is frightening. Apparently, intellectual property is worth more than peoples lives.

Information on how we can fight ACTA can be found here. Spread the word. Inform people about how this agreement will effect those who depend on generic medicine to stay healthy or even alive. Contact members of the European Parliament.

We can't allow this to happen. Peoples lives and quality of life depend on it. It is incredibly important that we fight this.

No comments:

Post a Comment