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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

ACTA is Rejected

And once again – great news for the Europeans! After all, the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement was officially rejected by the EU Parliament.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade agreement has widely been regarded as a legislation which would defend copyright owners but at the expense of public interest, privacy, and civil liberties. That’s why there was no surprise that outfits like the Pirate Party of the United Kingdom were considering the ACTA’s failure a victory for the others, while entertainment industry-resistant outfits celebrated the day. EU Parliament had to use the Lisbon Treaty, for the very first time, to reject ACTA. The result of the vote was amazing: 478 members voted against, 39 in favor, 165 abstained.

However, the lobbying isn’t over. The matter is that the nuances of ACTA may appear under new names, and that the EU Commission claimed that it will try to push the agreement through regardless.

According to the EU Parliament spokesperson, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is, most definitely, dead. But the ACTA rapporteur has underlined the need for an alternative way to protect the intellectual property at international level. In other words, we can expect a different proposal in this field soon. The spokesperson pointed out that under the treaties, only the EU Commission has the right of legislative initiative – it means that only it can draft and formally propose legislation.

Of course, overturning the controversial treaty should be considered a small victory, because it took the weight of the Internet to publicize until public opinion over weighed the proposals supporting ACTA.

The British Pirate Party believes that it’s time for the EU Commission to accept mistakes in pushing ACTA and listen to the citizens of Europe. The Party points out that any legislation intended to protect intellectual property should balance the interests of copyright owners and the public. In addition, it is supposed to drive innovation and creativity. This doesn’t just mean providing restrictions on use, imposing penalties or privacy busting measures to curb the sharing of culture. First of all, a lot of people realize that copyright infringement and counterfeiting aren’t the same thing. Secondly, it needs to be consulted on openly and achieve public consent.

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