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Home / News-archive / European Parliament rejects ACTA

European Parliament rejects ACTA

The European Parliament has rejected the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on 4 July 2012, by 478 votes to 39, with 165 abstentions.

By voting the Parliament could not amend the ACTA, but only approve or reject it. Its rejection means that neither the EU nor its individual member states can join the agreement.

 

ACTA aims to protect the intellectual property in both digital and physical goods, and had originally proposed criminal sanctions for those who used the internet to break copyright.

 

ACTA was negotiated by the EU and its member states, the US, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Switzerland to improve the enforcement of anti-counterfeiting law internationally. During the negotiation, rumours had suggested that ACTA could mean iPods were examined at international borders for pirated music, although this suggestion was rejected by those involved in the process as only a very preliminary proposal.

 

This is the first time that the European Parliament exercises its Lisbon Treaty power to reject an international trade agreement. In fact, before the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty international treaties such as ACTA were negotiated only by the European Commission under the mandate of Member States. At the beginning the European Commission tried to establish a mandate from the EP for the negotiation of the treaty. However, the European Parliament asked the Commission to make ACTA documents public  enhancing MEPs’ role in negotiating the contents and guaranteeing a democratic decision-making process on the EU common commercial policy.

The ACTA rapporteur for the EP was satisfied with the vote, but he also stressed the need to find alternative ways to protect intellectual property in the EU, as the "raw material of the EU economy".

 
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