Bulgaria To Suspend Accession to Anti-Piracy Agreement

Bulgaria To Suspend Accession to Anti-Piracy Agreement

Bulgaria will suspend its accession to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), reacting to public concerns that it may encourage Internet surveillance.

Bulgaria's economy minister will propose to the cabinet not to take any steps concerning ACTA, including submitting the agreement for ratification in parliament, until the European Union comes up with a common stand on the issue, the ministry said on Tuesday.

"It has become clear that Bulgarian society is not ready to accept mechanisms that create suspicions about violations of the freedom of expression and freedom in the Internet," the ministry quoted Traikov as saying.

Several thousand Bulgarians rallied against ACTA over the weekend in Sofia and big cities, joining protests across Europe. The protesters demanded that Bulgaria withdraw its signature from the agreement, claiming that it does not draw a clear line between copyright violations and legal data sharing in Internet, and allows for surveillance of all online content. ACTA, which aims to establish international standards for the enforcement of intellectual property rights, was signed in Tokyo last month by 22 European Union member states, including Bulgaria. However, several other EU member states, Cyprus among them, opted not to join in.

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