European Parliament rejected the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) bill on Wednesday, thus denying the possibility for the controversial anti-piracy agreement to be ratified by the European Union (EU).
ACTA was rejected by 478 votes to 39, while the 165 MEPs abstained from voting.
Many blamed the copyright treaty for threatening the individual freedom, especially that related to the internet use.
The vote given by the European Parliament oposed the European Commission (EC), who wanted to sign the bill in the name of the economic businesses which fell victims to the piracy and counterfeiting.
ACTA was signed in January by 22 out of the 27 governments of the European Union as well as the United States, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Switzerland and Morocco.
Today’s decission comes after a 3-year struggle against ACTA. Hundreds of thousands people have protested against the agreement and a broad anti-ACTA petition was signed by 2.8 million people.
All European parliamentary committees consulted in recent weeks, opposed the treaty.
ACTA was only defended by some conservative MPEs during Tuesday’s debate. Right before the poll, they asked the parliament to wait for the conclusions of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Apparently that did not happened anymore.
ACTA rapporteur, British politician David Martin, acknowledged the importance of combating counterfeiting and piracy, however he urged the rejection of ACTA, because of its “vague” form, therefore “dangerous” for individual freedoms.
According to opponents, the most controversial point was the possibility of the Internet service providers to give copyright holders the IP addresses of users suspected of illegal download of data.
French Marielle Gallo explained, on behalf of conservatives, that this fear was totally unreasoned and was mostly related to “disinformation”. In her opinion, ACTA’s approval would not have incriminated the young people who illegally download data.
International agreement to combat counterfeiting (ACTA) is challenged to limitations would impose on freedom of expression on the Internet.
ACTA was negotiated by the EU, U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, , Mexico, South Korea, Morocco and Switzerland, and aimed at combating the counterfeiting from medication and auto parts to online piracy. ACTA needed also European Parliament approval in order to take effect in Europe.
ACTA was targetted by large street protests in several European countries and elsewhere because of its regulations concerning the piracy on the Internet. ACTA’oponents argued that the vague form of the Treaty may lead to restriction of rights and freedoms such as freedom of expression, privacy and free share of ideas.