people have been protesting a lot recently about ACTA, as its getting real close for it to be being voted now (from wikipedia: "The treaty is according to Article 39 open for signature until 31 March 2012 for the participants involved in the negotiations as well as all members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) of which the participants agree"). basically, the also so discussed, SOPA and PIPA were in fact less evil than this, due to the essence of ACTA itself and also to its magnitude - the number of the countries involved. in the wikipedia article about it, a world map is shown and the list of participants is slightly scary...but lets think about it for a while...
i'm not much into politics and economics, but i can definitely make some speculations. for example:
- japan being the so called "initiator" of the agreement may in fact be a muppet of the united states and its parties with massive interests like the MPAA.
- perhaps SOPA and PIPA were designed only to draw some initial public fire and were never intended to pass at all.
- and also another crazy one might be that ACTA is only interested in the internet part and the whole "trade agreement" while the restrictions on medicine (etc..) are just for masking the "real deal"
...but these are just my speculations and can easily go into a "conspiracy theories" column.
its pretty safe to say that most european countries are interested into ways of limiting piracy of software, media and having a better control of what people do that may impair industries economically. the now heavily generalized term "open source" (not only for software, but for any public research for good or bad), they do not enjoy at all, but also they do realize that enforcing great restrictions on small parties on what they do with their time spent on medicine research, crops research or torrent downloading, will not be democratic at all.
for example, a certain political group that has the current power, knows that voting for/accepting this agreement will pretty much "put their heads in the bag" - in a way they will be screwed on the next elections, as most young people or pretty much all people with possession of basic intellectual properties will never vote for them ever again. this is one of the main reasons i think ACTA will not pass in sane european governments. i really cannot say the same for other countries...but, if great deal of corruption is involved (where for example members of a political group will be well "compensated' for their efforts) i can see this passing - after all, everyone is mostly interested in power, more power and making more money while in power to ensure safety for their families for generations ahead.
i remember reading about ACTA a while back and in general word about it was around for quite some time.
in regard of free software and its distribution, this so called "trade agreement" will make a big impact. here is what FSF has to say on the subject (article from 2008):