What has happened with ACTA in Poland has surely caught the attention of the world (or at least Europe), but perhaps the scale of it is still underestimated. When word got out that ACTA was to be signed by the Polish government only IP specialists knew what it was. Nevertheless, in a very short time the Polish internet started buzzing and a moment later exploded in fury.
The government’s reaction was at the beginning a genuine and utter disbelief, as no one saw it coming, but frankly speaking how could they? There was for example no public outcry against the enforcement directive (99,9% of the population still does not know it exists).
At first the Prime Minister tried to keep his cool. He declared Poland would sign ACTA and it did so in Tokio (because of time zones it was about 3 am in Poland and hence a funny exchange in one of the radio stations:
A: They signed ACTA under the guise of the night! Scandal!
B: But it was about noon in Tokio! A; What? In broad daylight! Scandal!)
The protests, again surprisingly, did not recede, so the government declared the ratification of ACTA was not certain.
As to the question why in Poland and why so vehemently one could only speculate. But it is important to stress that in Poland the quarrel was and is not about ACTA as such. It is mostly about intellectual property in general, about the scope of copyright exceptions and limitations and about the frustrating uncertainty of copyright law, which has not been able to precisely define what is a copyright work and what constitutes fair use.When people hear they can be tracked down, brought to court, maybe even accused of criminal behaviour for something they have been doing for years, it is natural they feel threatened. When they hear a simple photo is a copyright work and they can be made liable for using it on Facebook, they do not develop warm feelings for copyright law.
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