BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Wednesday, June 16, 2010 -- The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today published a new declaration calling for rejection of ACTA unless key changes to protect the public's freedom are made, and is asking people around the world to add their names in support before the next round of negotiations on the treaty happen in Switzerland at the end of this month.
In an article introducing the declaration, FSF president Richard Stallman says, "ACTA threatens, in a disguised way, to punish Internet users with disconnection if they are accused of sharing, and requires countries to prohibit software that can break Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), also known as digital handcuffs."
The FSF statement praises the aim of an earlier effort, the Wellington Declaration published by citizens in New Zealand to condemn ACTA's prohibition of devices that can break digital handcuffs, but takes a firmer stance.
Stallman explains the need to go further as, "When we oppose ACTA, we are not asking our governments for a favor. Defending our freedom is their reason for being, and we demand it by right. We should not 'compromise' by volunteering to cede some of our freedom so that they have less to do."
FSF's operations manager John Sullivan added, "Now that some details of ACTA have been made public, we know that our previous concerns were justified. We are asking the free software community to join us in speaking out against this attack on the public's freedom, and I hope that people will not only sign the statement, but also write and publish their own specific thoughts about the issues. This is a time for people to show -- in as many ways as possible -- that they value the freedoms ACTA threatens. The more signatures and visible support we have, the weaker ACTA will look."
The petition is available for signing at http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/acta/acta-declaration
, and Stallman's article explaining the background behind it is at http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/acta/why-acta-declaration
It goes without saying that signing is important.