The much criticised ACTA bill has been dealt what could prove to be a deathblow after the European trade committee voted to reject the piracy treaty.
This is being viewed by some as the end of the road for ACTA, given that the trade committee recommends how to vote to the wider parliament. That vote in the European Parliament is due to take place in July.
The aims within ACTA to tighten rules on both online and offline piracy have attracted many critics, perhaps most notably UK MEP David Martin. Speaking after the vote, Mr Martin said:
“This was not an anti-intellectual property vote. This group believes Europe does have to protect its intellectual property but ACTA was too vague a document… In the end it came down to vote on intellectual property or civil liberties and I’m glad that civil liberties won over.”
If the European Parliament were to vote against ACTA, then the bill would be scrapped.
Peter Bradwell, a campaigner with the Open Rights Group, had this to say:
“This is the fifth consecutive committee to say ACTA should be rejected. It now falls to the vote of the whole European Parliament in early July to slam the door on ACTA once and for all, and bring this sorry mess to an end.”
On the other side of the table there are people such as Johannes Studinger, head of UNI MEI, a global union for the Media, Entertainment and Arts industries. He defended the need for a bill such as ACTA:
“The majority of jobs in our knowledge-based societies rely on intellectual property. Counterfeiting and piracy, including on the internet, are creating a global black market threatening the economic basis of real jobs in the creative industries. It’s a global problem that needs a global response. We need a tool like ACTA.”
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