ACTA Banished From Europe In Parliament Vote

ACTA finally dies after most MEPs reject it in a European Parliament vote

ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, has been crushed by a vote in the European Parliament, with 478 MEPs against, 39 in favour and 165 abstentions.

Having been rejected by various European bodies, the most recent being the European Trade Committee, the latest ACTA vote looks like the final nail in ACTA’s coffin.

The European People’s Party’s key ACTA advocate Christofer Fjellner asked before the vote for it to be delayed until the European Court of Justice ruled on whether the agreement was compatible with the EU treaties, but that was rejected by the majority of MEPs.

Following the ACTA vote, neither the EU nor its individual member states can join the agreement.

“I am very pleased that Parliament has followed my recommendation to reject ACTA,” said rapporteur David Martin. Yet Martin also said alternative ways should be sought to protect intellectual property in the EU, as it is the “raw material of the EU economy”.

Draconian agreement?

Many saw ACTA as a draconian agreement, negotiated by the EU and its member states, along with the US, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Switzerland. One of its more troublesome proposals was to ask ISPs to ban users from the internet if they were repeatedly accused of copyright infringement.

Others took umbrage with the lack of details in ACTA, such was its broadness. For instance, it made counterfeiting of real goods equal to online piracy.

ACTA was also shrouded in secrecy until it was leaked. Once it came to light, numerous campaign groups and concerned individuals called for it to be stopped.

A petition, signed by 2.8 million citizens worldwide, was sent to the European Parliament asking it to reject ACTA, whilst various protests were organised.

“This is a significant victory for digital rights, and it’s thanks to the tireless work of activists and grass roots organisations,” said Pirate Party leader Loz Kaye.

“Without this opposition, our representatives would have waved this agreement through. It is now clear that it is becoming increasingly politically poisonous to be ‘anti-Internet’.

“This must signal a start for a new way of doing politics. No more should international agreements be negotiated behind closed doors and simply rubber stamped by parliaments. Policy must become something that happens with the people, not to the people.”

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