Trade MEPs vote against ACTA
European politicians have voted to reject the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that critics believe could lead to restrictions on web freedoms.
The vote by the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee marks a new low for the anti-piracy legislation that started life in secret negotiations behind closed doors, as the committee is responsible for setting the parliament’s policy on the issue.
The final vote is scheduled for next month, with MEPs expected to follow the trade committee’s lead amd reject the legislation.
Liberal Democrat MEPs claimed their votes made the difference, with Conservatives voting to ratify the agreement. “Liberal Democrat MEPs take the issue of copyright and counterfeiting very seriously as property rights form the basis of our economy and also help prevent dangerous counterfeit products, such as medicines, electronics and toys from entering our markets,” said Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder.
“However, the ACTA negotiations have been marked from the beginning by an unnecessary lack of transparency and wider consultation and a potential attack on the fundamental civil rights of individual internet users. On balance, concerns with regard to civil rights outweigh the limited benefits of ACTA.”