James Losey writes, "After the defeat of SOPA and PIPA in the United States attention turned to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement in Europe. Like SOPA and PIPA, ACTA raised concerns that excessive measure to enforce copyright online would limit freedom of expression online. And while the approval by European Parliament once seemed inevitable, protests across Europe and advocacy by civil society lead to Parliament rejecting the Agreement in July 2012. But the protest, while highly visible, represented only a portion of the networked advocacy against ACTA in Europe."
For my new article in the Journal of Information Policy I interviewed actors with multiple perspectives on the debate including key civil society organizations, views from inside European Parliament, and trade groups. I found that key factors that lead to ACTA's defeat in European Parliament included the five-years of network building preceding the protests, the catalyzing role of the defeat of SOPA/PIPA in the United States and early protests in Poland, and the central role played by civil society organizations in bridging horizontal networks of decentralized protests to the institutional body of European Parliament. While online activism and protests are important, my paper shows the valuable role that groups like EDRI, La Quadrature Du Net, Digitale Gesellschaft, and the Panoptykon Foundation play in information policy debates in Europe.
(Image: ACTA, Lamessen, CC-BY-SA)