‘It’s Time to Give It Its Last Rights’: Europe Rejects Controversial Global Anti-Piracy Law

Green Party members of the European parliament demonstrate against the ACTA project (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) during the vote at the European Parliament. (Photo: AP/Christian Lutz) Click on the image to enlarge.


Liz Klimas
The Blaze

BRUSSELS (The Blaze/AP) — The ACTA anti-piracy trade agreement, which has been compared to the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), was overwhelmingly defeated by the European Parliament Wednesday after concern that it would limit Internet freedom mobilized broad opposition across Europe.

The vote — 39 in favor, 478 against and 165 abstentions — means that as far as the EU is concerned the treaty is finished, at least for the moment, though other countries may well participate.

Supporters had said ACTA — the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement — was needed to standardize international laws that protect the rights of those who produce music, movies, pharmaceuticals, fashion goods and other products that often fall victim to piracy and intellectual property theft. Opponents feared it would lead to censorship and a loss of privacy on the Internet.

Many other countries, including the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea, also have signed the trade agreement, though no one has ratified it yet, and the EU vote won’t affect them.

David Martin, a member of the Parliament from Scotland and the person who reported to the European Parliament on the proposal, said before Wednesday’s vote that the agreement was dead. “No emergency surgery, no transplant, no long period of recuperation is going to save ACTA,” Martin said. “It’s time to give it its last rites. It’s time to allow its friends to mourn and for the rest of us to get on with our lives.”

But EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht did not sound ready to give up altogether. He said in a statement after the vote that he would push ahead with his plan to have Europe’s highest court determine whether the agreement, as written, would curtail any fundamental European rights, and would consider his next move in light of that opinion…

The article continues at The Blaze.

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