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Common Dreams

EU Defeats ACTA

European Parliament votes against controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

by
Common Dreams staff

ACTA, the controversial online piracy treaty, was dealt a blow on Wednesday when the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to reject it.

The European Parliament voted 478 to 39 against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which was drawn up in secret and had been protested by hundreds of thousands across the EU who saw the treaty as an infringement on internet freedom.

President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz welcomed the decision and stated that "ACTA is the wrong solution to fight online piracy." He said that the treaty negotiations had lacked transparency and acknowledged the massive public mobilizations against the treaty.

"The majority of the parliament is of the opinion that ACTA is too vague - leaving room for abuses and raising concerns about its impact on privacy and civil liberties, on innovation, creativity and the free flow of information," wrote Schulz.

"We have to take all possible measures to fight piracy, but this should never be done at the cost of what has made the internet one of the most revolutionary technologies in history: the EP wants the web to remain free and open," he added.

Civil liberties advocates including Pirate Party leader Loz Kaye also welcomed the decision. "The European Parliament vote is a triumph of democracy over special interests and shady back-room deals. This is a significant victory for digital rights, and it's thanks to the tireless work of activists and grass roots organizations, including the Pirate Party world wide. Without this opposition, our representatives would have waved this agreement through. It is now clear that it is becoming increasingly politically poisonous to be 'anti-internet'," Kaye said.

With this vote, there is no possibility of EU ratification, leaving the future of the treaty uncertain.

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