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Germany Delays ACTA Ratification

BY TechPresident Staff | Friday, February 10 2012

It appears that the federal government in Germany will delay ratification of the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a sweeping international treaty that includes provisions about intellectual property and online copyright infringement along with stifling the flow of counterfeit goods and pharmaceuticals, according to reports in Der Spiegel and elsewhere. The German government will not act on ACTA until European Parliament makes a move on the treaty, according to reports.

TechPresident's Miranda Neubauer and our Europe editor, Antonella Napolitano, have been watching as protests against the treaty throughout Europe caught the attention, and forced the action, of government officials in several EU members states and within the EU itself.

The protest movement is interesting because it appears that people on the Internet, much like Internet users here in the U.S. protesting this country's Stop Online Piracy Act, mobilized against ACTA with a mix of offline and online action — and got results. Miranda noted late last month that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party is divided on ACTA, with supporters of the legislation drawing retaliation from its detractors online. More broadly, Antonella has noted that Slovenia, Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania had suspended either ratification or enforcement of the treaty pending further public comment.

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New Media Sites in Iran Blur Lines Between Citizen Journo, Professional Journo, & Activist

In 2010, Newsweek declared Iran the “birthplace of citizen journalism.” Iranian bloggers were hailed by Westerners as “brave” for their coverage of the aftermath of the disputed 2009 election. A 40-second video of the death of Neda Agha-Soltan during an anti-government protest won a prestigious George Polk Award, the first anonymously-produced work to be so honored. And then came the 2013 study “Whither Blogestan,” which sought to explain Iran's shrinking blogosphere. Of nearly 25,000 highly active and connected blogs in 2008 and 2009, only 20 percent were still online in September 2013.

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