PSA: Full ACTA Vote in European Parliament July 3

On July 3, the full European Parliament will finally get to vote on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), and going into that vote things don't look good for the treaty. Yesterday Australian lawmakers voted to reject ratification of the treaty joining a growing chorus of European countries that believe the law violates the rights of its citizens in the name of fighting counterfeit goods and copyright infringement.

In the European Parliament five different committees have voted in favor of rejecting the treaty when it comes up for a full vote. Those committees included the Committee on International Trade, the Development Committee, the Civil Liberties Committee, Industry Committee, and Legal Affairs Committee.

UK MEP David Martin, who has been the most vocal critic of the treaty has said that its language was too vague.

"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," he told the BBC recently, adding that it "left many questions unanswered", including the role of ISPs in policing the internet.

"In the end it came down to vote on intellectual property or civil liberties and I'm glad that civil liberties won over," he added.

If ACTA does fail to get approval next week, that failure can be blamed on how it came to pass in the first place: through secret negotiations. Pro tip for bureaucrats think of starting from scratch on a new treaty: treaties that create fundamental changes in international law need to be negotiated in the public and involve experts on both sides of the issues – rightsholders, law enforcement and human rights advocates.

We will let you know how this vote turns out next week.


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