“A world without SOPA and ACTA”

Neelie Kroes is Vice President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Digital Agenda. In that role, she’s been in the ACTA spotlight, and has generally expressed support. A few months ago, the open-internet European advocacy group La Quadrature du Net found it “extremely worrying” that she was “so oblivious to the many criticisms against ACTA”.

Kroes also found herself immersed in last January’s SOPA controversy, going so far as to Tweet: “ACTA is not SOPA. ACTA does not change EU law.” Her comment thus echoed the position of Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative: “ACTA is consistent with existing U.S. law, and does not require any change to U.S. law.”

Today all that has changed. Kroes now says, “We are now likely to be in a world without SOPA and without ACTA.” She thus acknowledges the ACTA/SOPA connection and recognizes the power of the Internet community. As she told a Berlin conference:

We have recently seen how many thousands of people are willing to protest against rules which they see as constraining the openness and innovation of the Internet. This is a strong new political voice. And as a force for openness, I welcome it, even if I do not always agree with everything it says on every subject.

“A strong new political voice” indeed!

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