How to act against ACTA
ACTA is an ongoing multi-lateral trade agreement which threatens to change the Internet as we know it and puts fundamental freedoms at risk.
You will find on this page different ways you can act to defeat ACTA as a citizen.
So first of all, thanks, it's great that you *do* want to act!
So, what can you do?
There are many things you can do, from learning more about how ACTA works and how it puts the Internet and freedoms at risk to making yourself heard by European elected representatives. You can also write a song about how ACTA makes you feel, create a funny image macro (à la lolcat), organise an event at your school to discuss and inform, etcetera.
The main two things to do are contacting Members of the European Parliament and helping spread the word about ACTA.
To stay informed about ACTA, you can subscribe to:
- 1 Contact your Elected Representatives
- 2 Spread the message
- 3 More Ways to help
Contact your Elected Representatives
Contacting your Elected Representatives is the most useful thing you can do right now, and until the final vote in the European Parliament.
We need to be ready to act at each step of the legislative process in the European Parliament. Each of these steps is an occasion for us to make ourselves heard against ACTA.
To be informed when the final and most important campaign to urge Members of the European Parliament to reject ACTA starts, send a blank email to NOtoACTAfirstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe to our list. We won't use your email for anything else.
Next steps in the European Parliament
Most countries negotiating ACTA have already signed it, and the EU Member States have also recently signed ACTA.
But ACTA still needs to be presented to the European Parliament (EP) and if the European Parliament votes NO to ACTA and rejects it, this will deal a likely fatal blow to the treaty.
But before ACTA goes to vote before the whole of the European Parliament, several EP committees will be giving their opinion on the text, guiding the EP's final stance on ACTA.
This is why as citizens we must contact members of these committees to make sure they hear all about what is wrong with ACTA.
The International Trade (INTA) Committee of the European Parliament is the main committee working on ACTA.
The Legal Affairs (JURI) and Development (DEVE) committees, as well as the Civil Liberties (LIBE), Industry (ITRE) committees are also working on the subject.
Each of these committees will first vote on their own opinions, which is a time when citizens can speak up and try to influence how the MPs vote
These opinions will then be sent to INTA so it can take them in consideration for its final report.
INTA will then also vote on its own report, with the possibility of amendments, which will be another time for citizens to make themselves heard.
Finally, INTA will send its final report to the European Parliament as a whole, and the EP will use this report to make up its mind.
The contents of INTA's report are therefore very important, and we need to make sure it reflects European citizens' legitimate concern about ACTA.
For more detailed information about the ACTA procedure in the European system, please see the procedure file.
Who to contact
Right now, we need to contact members of the DEVE committee. They will soon debate their draft opinion report on ACTA, which overlooks all the crucial issues raised by ACTA. Call them and tell them how unacceptable this is.
In a few weeks/months, a large campaign to call all Members of the European Parliament will take place when ACTA reaches the plenary.
We will need to be as many as possible to call the Members of the European Parliament so they understand how important it is to European citizens that ACTA is rejected, and why it is so dangerous.
How to contact, what to say
For detailed arguments about the dangers of ACTA, you should read la Quadrature's analysis of ACTA's final version, it contains many strong arguments. The “learn more” section below also contains useful information.
The main points are:
- ACTA turns Internet companies (ISPs, service providers) into a private copyright police by forcing to take legal responsibility for what their users do online.
- ACTA brings broad and dangerous criminal sanctions in loosely defined way.
- ACTA bypasses democracy and opens the door to a parallel legislative process, which the European MPs should be particularly angry about.
How to call:
- First of all, get comfortable with the arguments (don't hesitate to try them out on your friends etc.).
- Sselect any MEP from the INTA committee and dial their number.
When you call, you will most likely reach a parliamentary assistant, they are usually bright and polite people, treat them accordingly.
- Being polite and calm, tell them about your concerns, asking them to take part in the parliamentary debates and to take a stand against ACTA.
- Rinse and repeat: pick another MEP's number and call them.
If a question to which you don't have the answer comes up, don't worry. You are not expected to be an expert, only a concerned citizen.
Explain you will look it up, and call back with more information.
In general, don't hesitate to offer to call back with more information, to meet the MEP, to send documents, references, etc.
Example phone call
Here is an example phone call, to give you an idea of how such a conversation may go.
It is not intended to be directly reused as such, only to provide a guide, an example.
Remember, spontaneity is always better…
- YOU: Hello, I would like to talk to Mrs/Mr MEP, please.
- Assistant: Mrs/Mr MEP is not available, I am her/his assistant. Can I help you?"
- YOU: I am MyName, calling from MyCountry, I am very much concerned by the ACTA agreement.
- Assistant: I see. We had calls before. I have no time.
- YOU: But it is very important! The whole negotiations circumvented the democratic process and could radically alter the Internet and citizens' freedoms.
- Assistant: Don't worry. The text is not as bad as you've heard, everything will be fine.
- YOU: An analysis by the Commission itself shows that current versions go beyond the EU acquis. The ACTA agreement lets the Commission negotiate on civil and criminal sanctions. It is not just a trade agreement. The European Parliament must show its commitment to protecting EU citizens. Mrs/Mr MEP should help shape the INTA report to present this information against ACTA."
- Assistant: "I'll tell Mrs/Mr MEP."
- YOU: "Thank you very much for listening to me. If you wish, I can send you reference documents. I'll call you again shortly to know what he/she thought. Have a good day."
Upcoming main campaign
Once the different committees have given their opinion on ACTA, ACTA will be put to the vote before the whole of the European Parliament (also called a plenary vote).
We won't know exactly what day the plenary vote is long before it happens, as the plenary schedule is made public only a few days/weeks in advance. We must therefore stay vigilant.
As soon as we know, in the weeks before ACTA is voted, as many people as possible must call the Members of the European Parliament to tell them why ACTA is dangerous, why it is a denial of democracy, and that they must reject it.
To be informed when this final and most important part of the campaign starts, send a blank email to NOtoACTAemail@example.com to subscribe to our list. We won't use your email for anything else.
Spread the message
Another important and complimentary way to act against ACTA is to inform people, making sure as many people as possible know about ACTA and how bad it is. It may sound obvious, but people can only want to act against ACTA if they are aware of its dangers.
You can learn more about ACTA and it's dangers to our freedom at http://lqdn.fr/acta
The following resources are helpful in better understanding ACTA:
- Impact assessment of ACTA on fundamental rights
- Study on ACTA and access to medicine
- FFII's analysis of ACTA
You can spread these resources far and wide via
- mailing lists,
- your blog, etc.
Refer people to la Quadrature's file on ACTA
- Spread the ACTA dossier and refer people to it for more info.
- The short address is: http://lqdn.fr/acta
Show people the NO to ACTA video
- Show the NO to ACTA videos to family, colleagues, friends (not just geeks, everyone)
- You can embed the video everywhere:
- Use the following html code to insert the main version of the video
<iframe src="http://mediakit.laquadrature.net/embed/716?size=medium" style="width: 640px; height: 500px; border: 0; overflow: hidden"></iframe>
<iframe src="http://mediakit.laquadrature.net/embed/716?size=medium&sub=es_ES" style="width: 640px; height: 500px; border: 0; overflow: hidden"></iframe>
The videos are released under a permissive and freedom-granting Creative Commons licence, so you don't have to ask to use them. :)
Use your own words, pictures, sounds to talk about ACTA
Creating more art and expressing oneself is another powerful way to inform other people.
The power of art to explain and touch people is very strong, so this is a great way to act against ACTA if you enjoy writing, drawing, painting, making music, etc.
Here are some ideas.
- Write an article on your blog,
- Write an article for your school, college/university or company newspaper
- Write to your newspapers asking why they aren't talking more about ACTA and telling them about ACTA
- Create more videos, films, pictures, paintings against either the whole of ACTA or specific parts of the agreement
- For instance, you can create banners, buttons, illustrations against ACTA (using images from the videos if you want) that others can use in their signatures, as avatars, to illustrate their blog articles, newspaper articles, etc.
- If you do so, please post a link to your banner here.
- People can also remix and reshape the videos to make them their own and give them a new life.
- For instance, to the right here is a cool remix of the NO to ACTA video with Robocopyright:
More Ways to help
Translate the videos into your language
While many languages have already been covered, you can be part of subtitling effort!
Go to the following EtherPad to see if the NO to ACTA videos are already translated to your language, and if the translation have been turned into a .srt subtitle file: http://pad.lqdn.fr/p/trad-video-acta
Send your synchronized subtitle files to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Organise public events at your school, university, work place, etc.
- Organise a discussion about ACTA, linking it to your classes or your activity
- Show the NO to ACTA video
Publicly take a stand
- If you are part of an NGO, consider publicly denouncing ACTA, and telling your members about ACTA's dangers.
- If you are a well-known person or celebrity, you can also use your following to inform people about ACTA and denounce it.
Support la Quadrature du Net
If you can afford it, financial support is of course greatly appreciated.
You can make a donation to help La Quadrature keep on fighting ACTA and act on the other dossiers it works on.
Translate this page into your language
To help other people from different parts of the world act against ACTA, you can help translate this page.
Remember to always use the English version as the source for your translation, as it is the most up to date version.
For collaborative translation and easy proofreading and correction, you can use an EtherPad such as http://pad.lqdn.fr/p/How-to-act-against-ACTA-LANGUAGE
Once translated, create a new page on the wiki with your translated text, and add a link to your language to the top of this page.
Thanks for your help :)