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Anti-ACTA protesters in Bulgaria earlier this week. AP Photo/Valentina Petrova/PA Images

Cork teenager organises protest against ACTA

‘The February March’ against the controversial international anti-counterfeiting agreement will take place later today.

A 16-YEAR-OLD student from Cork has organised a protest against the controversial anti-counterfeiting agreement which will take place in the city later today.

The February March will take place in Daunt Square and has been organised by Evin Doyle, 16, who believes that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) – which Ireland signed up to in January – challenges “our civil liberties and essential right to privacy.”

The controversial treaty, which has been the subject of protests in Dublin and across Europe, harmonises international standards on protecting the intellectual property rights on goods such as clothes, medicine, and other physical items.

However, widespread concern has been raised that the provisions of the treaty allow for similar rights to be afforded to movies and music distributed online which could potentially give governments the ability to block content on the internet.

“There was little to no coverage of this bill, despite the massive ramifications it will have on every internet user worldwide, let alone a public vote.

“We cannot be the only people who sees this as a blatant violation of everything ‘informed democracy’ stands for,” the organisers say in a statement.

Doyle, a fifth year student at the Christian Brothers College in Cork, said he hopes as many as 300 people could show up for the event.

“I was following the SOPA and PIPA bills with quite a bit of interest, so when they went under ACTA came to my attention fairly quickly,” he told

“As for why it interested me so much, I can’t honestly say. I think, more than anything else, it was how secretive the entire deal seemed.”

ACTA was signed off on by Ireland and representatives of the 26 other European Union countries at a ceremony in Japan last month. However, it has yet to have been formally ratified by Germany, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Earlier this week, a Bulgarian cabinet minister asked the government to suspend the ratification of the treaty amid protests across Europe last week.

Munster MEP Phil Prendergast also criticised ACTA saying its provisions were “excessive and go beyond what is required under EU law.”

The European Parliament is due to debate the treaty later this year but already a French MEP who was in charge of scrutinising it in the European legislature has resigned. He said the process of ratification was “a charade” in which he would no longer participate.

The February March gets under way in Daunt Square, Cork at 3.30pm today.

In pictures: Anti-ACTA protesters march in Dublin

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