Thursday, 5 July 2012

Anti-piracy agreement rejected by European parliament

Civil liberty and freedom won the day as ACTA the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement was rejected by a majority vote in the European parliament on Wednesday, five years after its inception.  478 MEP’s voted against the act, 39 voted for and 165 abstained and given the strength of feeling against the agreement, questions should be raised about if negotiations about its implementation were enacted in the proper way.  The proposed agreement created fierce debate over whether it was the right measure to tackle the trade of illegal, counterfeit goods and protect Intellectual Property.

The European Commission will now need to think about how they overcome this setback, in a way that will be accepted by the European parliament, as ACTA has been implemented although not ratified in 31 countries.  Supporters of ACTA including the European People's Party (the Conservative Grouping in the European Parliament) say this will put Europe at a disadvantage.  MEP’s from the left including the Greens and alliance of Social Democrats had argued that in the initial stages the full weight of the proposals were not fully out there in the public domain and there was a lack of detail in the proposals.

 David Martin, Socialists and Democrats Euro MP and author of the parliamentary report on the treaty, said after the vote: "ACTA is now dead in the EU thanks to the European Parliament”  The agreement saw mass protests earlier in the year from opponents who argued that the agreement would limit online internet freedom.

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