European Parliament Issues Press Release Explaining ACTA

The European Parliament has issued a press release entitled "What You Should Know About ACTA," detailing what ACTA is, who among the EU's member states has signed it and what has to happen for it to either be accepted or rejected.

The press release is neither for nor against the anti-piracy treaty. In fact it details the myriad of options the governing body has at its disposal to defeat it. Europeans should take heart in knowing that there are plenty of options to see the treaty either permanently delayed or rejected.

While the Parliament cannot make any changes to the treaty (because it was already negotiated) it can either approve or reject it. They could also vote to refer it to the European Court of Justice for a ruling on its compatibility with wider EU law. If it is sent to the Court of Justice, ACTA cannot be enforced until the court makes a decision on it. The Parliament could also let a decision on the matter remain "pending," because there is no legal deadline for a response.

But even if the European Parliament approves ACTA, all of the EU member states have to ratify the treaty. Given the level of protests and the inability to make any changes at the European Parliament, ratification by all member states remains an unlikely possibility.

The one troubling thing about ACTA is that – even if it is rejected by the European Parliament – "if six countries outside the EU still ratify it then the agreement will enter into force there." So those countries that ratify it could enforce it.

You can read the entire press release here. The European Parliament is expected to vote on ACTA sometime this summer.

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