The European Parliament has officially rejected the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The Parliament voted 478 to 39 to reject the ACTA, which means that it will never be implemented in any member country of the European Parliament. The news is not surprising, given that five committees voted against the treaty leading up to the showdown on the floor of the European Parliament this week. It also didn't help that ACTA was negotiated in secret and citizens in various member countries protested against it because of its loose and murky language.
One of the MEP's that was strongly against the treaty was German Green Party member Jan Philipp Albrecht. While Albrecht is delighted with the outcome, he is not naive enough to believe that another ACTA-like treaty or bill will be put together and presented to EU lawmakers sometime later on down the road.
Others like German Christian Democrat Daniel Caspary lamented the treaty’s demise saying that the health of millions of consumers would continue to be put at risk from fake products and tens-of-thousands of jobs would be in jeopardy thanks to piracy. Supporters tried to delay the vote by asking MEP’s to wait for a ruling from the European Court of Justice, but opponents pushed ahead anyway.
Whatever EU members do next, the defeat of ACTA may serve as lesson to everyone about transparency and the importance of including other parties besides rightsholders in the process.
Ultimately the defeat of ACTA is a victory for the citizens of the world who stood up and protested in the streets and online. How appropriate it is that ACTA was finally put to death on the Fourth of July.
Thanks to Michael Chandra for the link from ZD Net.