Today the European Parliament rejected the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. With 478 votes against ACTA, 165 abstained and only 39 in favour, this agreement cannot become law in the EU or in any individual member state. The European Parliament’s key ACTA advocate, Christofer Fjellner, asked before the vote that Parliament should delay its final vote until the European Court of Justice has ruled on whether ACTA is compatible with the EU treaties. However, when a majority of members of the European parliament rejected this request, a substantial minority responded by abstaining in the vote on Parliament’s consent.
The negotiations for ACTA between EU, US, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Switzerland started about 5 years behind closed doors. The intention behind ACTA was to fight fake goods or piracy and protect the rights of those who produce products that often fall victim to piracy and intellectual property theft but as time passed by, actions like warnings to Internet users up to completely disconnecting them after repeated copyright infringements were considered. Once the drafts for this agreement have been made available to the public, lots of people mainly in the EU started fighting against ACTA as they saw a very big risk of this agreement restricting Internet freedom. Although some actions were removed again from the agreement, many statements were still very vague and the lobbying against that agreement continued which eventually led to the rejection today.