Internet: MEPs vote down ACTA
4 July 2012
On July 4 the European Parliament rejected the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) with an overwhelming majority of MEPs (478) voting against it (only 39 were for while 168 abstained). “It was the wrong solution to protect intellectual property", commented the EP’s president Martin Schulz after the vote.
At the beginning of the year, the agreement triggered mass protests, first on the street of Polish cities and later across Europe, notes Rzeczpospolita. The protesters feared that ACTA would hand over “exterritorial power to companies providing content for Internet and would make possible punishing users for sharing music or films even within the circle of friends”. As a result, Germany, Holland, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Czech Republic and Poland suspended ACTA’s ratification.
Rzeczpospolita stresses that even in case of ACTA’s rejection, there is still a theoretical chance that – provided the agreement has been modified – the European Commission might send it in again for ratification. However, MEPs have already warned they will not make do with cosmetic changes. In 2010 the EP rejected the SWIFT agreement and forced its renegotiation to include provisions increasing the protection of EU citizens’ privacy.