updated 08:54 pm EDT, Wed July 4, 2012
MEPs vote 478 to 39 against controversial anti-piracy measure
ACTA has been rejected by the European Parliament in a vote today. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement was soundly defeated, with 39 parliament members voting for the agreement, 478 against, and 165 abstentions. The move against the motion practically kills the agreement in its current form, with many critics suggesting it cannot be revived no matter how many amendments are made to it.
Twenty-two EU member states had signed the treaty but could not make it law without European Parliament approval. The US, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea have also supported ACTA, though the vote results do not affect existing trade agreement in those countries.
Critics have complained about ACTA on multiple points, including the "vagueness" of the bill being seen as overreaching, which led European Parliament rapporteur David Martin to recommend that representatives of EU member states reject the bill, as the advantages in clamping down on piracy would be "far outweighed" by curbs on civil rights. Public protests of the bill have already been staged in many countries.
The secrecy surrounding specific points of ACTA also fueled distrust, leading many to think there would have been further and more widescale public opposition of the bill if they were revealed, especially considering movie and music labels protecting legacy business models were suspected of being behind the trade agreement. [via BBC]