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European Parliament rejects Anti-Piracy Agreement

Vidya Ram London | Updated on March 12, 2018

Members of the European Parliament voted 478 to 39 against the Bill, which is part of the attempt to standardise internationally the rules governing intellectual property rights.

Attempts to forge the controversial Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, better known as ACTA, has been struck a blow after the European Parliament overwhelmingly rejected legislation.

Members of the European Parliament voted 478 to 39 against the ACTA Bill, part of the attempt to standardise internationally the rules governing intellectual property rights.

While its proponents argue that ACTA is needed to allow countries to work together effectively to tackle large-scale IP violations, the proposals have triggered protests, many fearful that it would lead to Internet censorship, and harm the generic drugs industry. The European Commission’s approach to ACTA has drawn much criticism, with Members of the European Parliament warning about a lack of transparency in the way it was brought forward.

Back in January Mr Kader Arif, a French MEP who acted as the European Parliament’s rapporteur on the agreement stepped down citing a lack of consultation with civil society, and a lack of transparency in the legislative process. Marches took place across several European countries including Germany, and the Netherlands, to protest against the agreement, while 2.8 million people signed a petition urging parliamentarians to reject the law.

“The treaty is too vague and is open to misinterpretation,” Mr David Martin, a Scottish Member of the European Parliament for the Socialist and Democrat grouping who voted against the bill said. “I will always support civil liberties over intellectual property rights protection in the EU.”

The rejection of the bill was also welcomed by anti-poverty groups. “ACTA could have made life saving drugs much costlier for the world’s poorest, resulting in devastating consequences for their health,” said Leila Bodeux of Oxfam.

The lack of action at an EU-wide level will hamper the agreement’s effectiveness, campaigners argue. “If ACTA is not there at an EU level then it cannot be enforced effectively through Europe,” says Jim Killock, executive director of Open Rights Group. “This is a very important moment for Internet politics and human rights in the digital age.”

Published on July 04, 2012

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