BERLIN - An estimated 60,000 people demonstrated over the weekend in more than 50 German cities against the international anti-piracy treaty ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement). In Berlin alone there were more than 10,000 protestors and an6,000 in Munich.
The German government is currently refusing to sign the ACTA treaty because the two governing parties CDU/CSU and FDP are in disagreement with each other over the legislation.
Said the German minister of justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger of the liberal party: "The German government will not introduce laws for blocking internet accesses because of copyright infringement or warning-systems. Internet providers are not deputy sheriffs."
The German minister of culture Bernd Neumann, however, said in January in a statement that, "Only considerable sanctions have a deterrent effect on online-piracy. It is also necessary that internet providers are taken into account." Neumann has introduced an amendment to the German copyright law.
Markus Kerber, the CEO of the association of German industry (BDI) said in a statement that, "By refusing to sign the ACTA treaty, the German government is damaging Germany's industrial base and sends a fatal signal to the EU-commission in Brussels."
ACTA has been signed by the EU and ten other states: Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and USA. Each individual EU country also has to have its national government sign off on the agreement. But in Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany the agreement have yet to ratify the treaty due to a number of formal concerns. This includes concerns over enforcement, network locks and the curtailing of freedom of expression.
German music industry associations declined to comment as they currently are in negotiations with the German government over copyright laws.