Andrea, from Belgium, asks: “Will the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, ACTA, prevent students from sharing information among themselves?”
Jérémie Zimmerman, from advocacy group La Quadrature du Net, responds: “Knowledge-sharing today is part of new cultural practices, social practices, political practices permitted by digital technologies. Thanks to the Internet, knowledge is sharable. It’s the way we can move information around at the speed of light. It’s how we access culture that we like and share it, and it’s how we set up creative works like Wikipedia, or freeware.
“The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, ACTA, is going to have a radical impact on the way Internet players react to copyright questions. ACTA will push the Internet industries – not only access providers but service providers, video gaming platforms, research engines, social networks, etcetera. ACTA will push them to cooperate with the entertainment industries, on a private basis, contractual, not needing a judge, when the leisure industries ask them to remove material, filter it or block access to material, and they’ll comply. So, by going around a legal authority, this will prevent each of us from defending himself/herself when we’re unjustly accused and when measures are taken to keep us away from content or from sharing content.
“It’s a real form of private justice, a regression, because normally in a democracy one has the right to a fair trial, access to a judge, so we can defend ourselves, have a right to appeal, and so on. So, these forms of privatised repression that ACTA forsees will have an impact on the way we share knowledge among students, researchers and individuals, and could radically alter the face of the free Internet the way we all share it today, as a common good.