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Latvia and Lithuania join ACTA; Estonia waits on government decision

  • 2012-01-27

Lithuania and many other member-states of the European Union, including Latvia, on Jan. 26 in Tokyo, have joined the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The ACTA is an antipiracy trade agreement designed to protect international intellectual property rights.

The treaty intends to establish an international legal framework for intellectual property protection, including counterfeit goods, generic medicines and copyright infringement on the Internet, reports LETA/ELTA.

However, references of foreign media as if Estonia was planning to sign the controversial ACTA pact on together with other EU member states are not true, LETA/Postimees Online cites Estonian Foreign Ministry.

Mariann Sudakovfrom foreign ministry press service explained that since ACTA is a pact of mixed responsibility, it has to be signed by the EU and member states separately.

Estonia did not sign the agreement, as a government decision is needed for that. "The Estonian government will only start discussing the agreement. The agreement is open for signing till March 31, 2013," she said.

Japanese foreign affairs ministry reports that all in all 22 member-states of the EU have signed the ACTA. The critics of the treaty say that it restricts the freedom of expression online. Many countries saw protests against the initiative, particularly numerous protests have been held in neighbouring Poland.

On Oct. 1 2011 in Tokyo, the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea signed the treaty. Japan is the ACTA depositary.