Protests erupt across Europe against web piracy treaty

Posted by Kitara Julian On 6:24 AM
(Reuters) - Tens of thousands of protesters took part in rallies across Europe on Saturday against an international anti-piracy agreement they fear will curb their freedom to download movies and music for free and encourage Internet surveillance.

More than 25,000 demonstrators braved freezing temperatures in German cities to march against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) while 4,000 Bulgarians in Sofia rallied against the agreement designed to strengthen the legal framework for intellectual property rights.

There were thousands more - mostly young - demonstrators at other high-spirited rallies despite snow and freezing temperatures in cities including Warsaw, Prague, Slovakia, Bucharest, Vilnius, Paris, Brussels and Dublin.

"We don't feel safe anymore. The Internet was one of the few places where we could act freely," said Monica Tepelus, a 26-year-old programmer protesting with about 300 people in Bucharest.

Opposition to ACTA in Eastern Europe is especially strong and spreading rapidly. Protesters have compared it to the Big Brother-style surveillance used by former Communist regimes. Downloading films and music is also a popular way for many young Eastern Europeans to obtain free entertainment.

"Stop ACTA!" read a banner carried by one of the 2,000 marchers in central Berlin, where temperatures were -10 Celsius. Read More

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