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Feb 12

Acta protests: Thousands take to streets across Europe

By Dave Lee

Protesters at Acta protest in central London Marchers in London gathered outside British Music House, home to several major rights holders

Thousands of people have taken part in co-ordinated protests across Europe in opposition to a controversial anti-piracy agreement.

Significant marches were held in Germany, Poland and the Netherlands against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta).

Around 200 protesters gathered in central London outside the offices of several major rights holders.

Demonstrators argued that Acta will limit freedom of speech online.

However the agreement’s supporters insist it will not alter existing laws, and will instead provide protection for content creators in the face of increasing levels of online piracy.

The treaty has to date been signed by 22 EU members, including the UK, but has yet to be ratified by the European Parliament. A debate is due to take place in June.

On Friday, Germany delayed signing the agreement in order to, a spokesman said, “give us time to carry out further discussions”.

‘In secret’Saturday’s London demonstration was supported by the Open Rights Group, a vocal opponent to the treaty. The group’s executive director, Jim Killock, argued that Germany’s stance shows Acta negotiations were carried out “in secret” by EU “bureaucrats”.

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