Remember when European Union trade chief Karel De Gucht said that Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) would be referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in February? Well it turns out that the infamous treaty will not go to the highest court in Europe after all. According to a report from TorrentFreak, the road to the EJC has been blocked in the European Parliament.
Yesterday, the European Parliament’s trade committee soundly rejected the plan to send the treaty to the ECJ. Apparently 21 MEPs voted against the measure, with five voting in favor of it and two abstaining. So instead of going to the EJC, ACTA is on its way to being put before Parliament as soon as June for a vote.
ACTA will likely be pushed through various committees in the European Parliament during April and May, followed by a final full Parliament vote at its June plenary session. One way or the other, this could be the end of talking about stopping ACTA. If it fails in the European Parliament, then supporters would have to start from scratch, but passage makes it a lot harder to get rid of.
"Referring ACTA to the court is no substitute for the political procedure needed to check this agreement and determine democratically whether its entry into force is in the European interest," said Pirate Party MEP and Shadow rapporteur on ACTA for the Greens Amelia Andersdotter. "Only a democratic ratification process via the European and national parliaments is able to provide such a judgment, and we therefore welcome today’s decision to continue with this process."
"If ACTA dies in European Parliament, then it’s a permakill, and the monopoly lobbies will have to start fighting uphill," said Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge." If ACTA passes, the same monopolists get tons of new powers to use, and close the door for the foreseeable future behind the legislators for a very necessary reform of the copyright and patent monopolies."
By TorrentFreak's accounting, opponents of the bill have just 10 weeks to stop ACTA.