ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, appears to be near death as European lawmakers voted against the widely protested treaty in a committee vote.
The 19 to 12 decision against the treaty by the International Trade Committee of the European Parliament is seen as a sign the treaty won't pass in its final vote on July 4. Three other committees had already voted against the treaty.
MEP David Martin told UK newspaper the Telegraph that ACTA was "dead in the water" while German Green politician Jan Philipp Albrecht said, "This vote is the penultimate nail in ACTA's coffin."
The decision was lauded by ACTA oppenents including Peter Bradwell of Open Rights Group said. "MEPs have listened to the many, many thousands of people across Europe who have consistently demanded that this flawed treaty is kicked out," said Bradwell.
Ed Geraghty, the foreign policy spokesperson for Pirate Party UK, also praised the decision. "Our objections to Acta have been consistent. This treaty was discussed in secret and it diminishes privacy in order to protect outdated business models. It harms developing countries and unfairly favours the big players. It's neither in our interests nor your interests; it's not for your benefit, it's not good for humanity."
The United States had already signed the international treaty in October of 2011.
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The European Parliament's International Trade committee (Inta) has voted to reject the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement ( Acta), by 19 votes to 12. It's a key decision, because this committee strongly influences the wider parliament.
Acta is, as we explained in our guide, an "international agreement that aims to create international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement." Critics have likened it to the Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa), and say it would stifle freedom of expression on the internet, brand individual file-sharers in the EU as criminals, and introduce disportionately harsh sanctions for breaches of copyright.
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Ars Technica: ACTA on life support as key EU committee rejects it
Now the fourth—and final—committee to consider the treaty has rejected it by a 19-12 vote, giving opponents strong momentum going into next month's decisive vote of the full European Parliament. The trade committee's vote is considered crucial because it has formal jurisdiction over trade agreements like ACTA.
Last year, ACTA looked almost unstoppable. Negotiated in secret, it was signed by President Obama last year with little fanfare and was expected to win approval easily in Europe. But protests against America's Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) inspired parallel protests against ACTA in Europe, causing several countries to express reservations about the treaty.