Poland freezes anti-piracy pact ratification
By Colin Mann

Poland has put on hold plans to ratify a controversial international online anti-piracy accord after widespread off-and-online protests in the country.

“I consider that the arguments for a halt to the ratification process are justified,” Prime Minister Donald Tusk told reporters. “The issue of signing of the ACTA accord did not involve sufficient consultation with everyone who is part of the process,” said Tusk, who suggested that broad talks would be held on what to do next.

“The ACTA ratification process will be frozen as long as we haven’t overcome all the doubts. This will probably require a review of Polish law. We can’t rule out that, at the end of the day, this accord will not be approved,” he stated.

Tusk’s decision follows high-profile protests, mainly involving young Poles who fear the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) – aimed at creating international standards for intellectual property protection – could significantly curtail online freedom.

Poland gave assent to the agreement on January 26 with an initial signature of endorsement, but ratification by parliament is needed for it to come into force.

Tusk’s administration drew criticism for signing the accord after talks with record companies and commercial media, but without consulting groups representing Internet users.

ACTA was negotiated between the 27-nation European Union, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and the United States.