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ACTA battle fought out on Twitter

As the European Parliament hosted a workshop on ACTA yesterday, activists on both sides of the debate took to social media site Twitter to present their case

In a series of tweets, the European Commission confirmed that the treaty will be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU. Commissioner Karel De Gucht took part in the workshop.

Supporters of ACTA, including the International Trademark Association (INTA), were also present. This caused some confusion in the twittersphere, as one of the European Parliament committees is also known as INTA.

INTA (the association) tweeted: “Commissioner Karel De Gucht ‘#ACTA is a defense on your livelihood’.”

Among opponents of ACTA on twitter were Howard Knopf and Michael Geist. Knopf tweeted: “Chairman of EU INTA meeting threatens to expel those who applauded very critical and forceful presentation on #ACTA by @mgeist.”

Geist explained his objections to the agreement concisely: “1. Process concerns: lack of transparency, damage to int'l institutions (ie. WIPO, WTO) & dev countries.”

The Open Rights Group, which was also present at the workshop, tweeted: “ORG's Javier Ruiz asks: 'how does ACTA affect Commission's roadmap for IPRED review, especially clarifying commercial scale'.”

Other groups were more forthright. The group Anonymous posted: “EuroCommission's #DeGucht fails at Internet. Who let this man try to regulate it? Get a twitter & get back to us #ACTA.”

The detail of the question the European Commission will refer to the Court of Justice will not be known until at least later this month. It also remains to be seen whether the European Parliament will join the Commission, or file a separate question.

You can follow the debate on twitter using the hashtag #ACTA. Opponents of the agreement often also use the hashtag #StopACTA.

Follow Managing IP on Twitter at @managingip and @internetip.

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