ACTA Voted Down By European Parliament: Down But Not Out?

By a vote of 478 to 39, the  European Parliament has rejected the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), by a near-unanimous margin of 478 votes to 39 in favor, with 146 abstentions.

ACTA called for internet providers to cooperate with governments in cracking down on online piracy, via measures such as cutting off internet access for those who illegally downloaded music or other files; those accused could face harsh fines and criminal charges. Opponents — many Europeans have been writing to their representatives in protest — have charged that ACTA will lead to censorship and a loss of privacy rights, similar fears of opponents to the two anti-piracy bills, SOPA and PIPA, in the US.

ACTA was approved by a unanimous vote in the European council last December. 22 member states of the European Union had signed the treaty in Tokyo on January 26; for the EU to be a formal member of ACTA, all 27 member countries of the EU would have had to sign the treaty. Following today’s ruling, those countries that have signed ACTA “may have been overruled in putting it into ratified effect,” writes Ingrid Lunden on Tech Crunch.

Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and the US have all ratified ACTA but not yet approved it and today’s ruling may make it harder for them to enforce the treaty.

Loz Kaye, leader of Germany’s Pirate Party (one of ACTA’s major opponents), described the vote as, indeed, a “significant victory for digital rights” and a “triumph of democracy over special interests and shady back-room deals.”

However, whether or not today’s ruling means the “last rites” for ACTA remains to be seen. Lunden (citing TechDirt) quotes the EU commissioner, Karel De Guchtel, who is responsible for the treaty and who has expressed his intention to “push ACTA through the courts” regardless. The European Commission will, he says, “nonetheless continue to pursue the current procedure before the Court, as we are entitled to do. A negative vote will not stop the proceedings before the Court of Justice.”

ACTA may not be quite dead yet; Lunden notes that all eyes will be on Washington, to see how the US government responds.

Europeans protested ACTA in the streets and even in parliament buildings: Whatever the future (or not) ahead for ACTA, you can be sure that opponents will keep working to preserve our rights on the Internet.


Related Care2 Coverage

ACTA Approval Postponed For Now: Does the Treaty Violate EU Rights?

Scientists Fight For Open Access For Research

Act on ACTA: The Internet War is Not Over



Photo by MEP Josef Weidenholzer


Kasia Y.
Kasia Y.5 years ago

Good news for a change. Now we just need to start putting executives in prison for all the abuses they subject their employees and customers to, oh yes, and the economic failure they created with their conservative buddies and deregulating governments. Death penalty anyone?

Vicky Pitchford
Vicky P5 years ago

I agree with Fred, we shouldn't let the music lobbyists rule over us and change the laws.

Leonard T.
Leonard T5 years ago

A related concern to ACTA is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is being secretly negotiated by industry lobbyists and trade representatives. Leaked documents indicate it includes provisions to criminalize some routine internet behavior, force ISP's to turn over user data, allow companies to sue governments for threatening their profits, etc.

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L5 years ago

Perserving one's rights is one thing theif in any forum is wrong.

Magdalen B.
Magdalen B5 years ago

Every one has, of course the right to comment in his or her own language.Everyone should be aware, however, that what they have posted is wasted on some of us

Sheila L.
Sheila Swan L5 years ago

We will wait to see how this all shakes down. But we can also go back to buying music on CD's writing letters to friends (see how much they love it getting something in the mail) and calling. Slowing down may fool the guys who want to limit our rights, since information will escape in any case.

Alan Lambert
Alan Lambert5 years ago

Thanks for the update

Pogle S.
Pogle S5 years ago

Sod off ACTA we don't need to be giving you lot any more excuses to extradite any more European citizens to fill your for profit jails. You are just a bunch of totalitarians following in Hitlers footsteps!

eusebio vestias
eusebio vestias5 years ago

Foi uma vitória de todos os consumidores Europeus a falsificação é o negócio mais lucrativo do mundo e com a economia da China em alta á custa dos consumidores Europeus muitas a indústria do textei na zona do Euro em baixa o desemprego em alta Eu espero que no futuro proximo as indústrias dos textei voltam a estar em alta como 20 anos atrás para que as economias do eurogrupo volta a subir