ACTA rejected by three EU committees

31 May 2012

All three EU committees advising the International Trade Committee have today rejected the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), the treaty to put a stop to piracy.

ACTA, which had been viewed as an international version of the controversial SOPA bill, had been signed by 22 EU member states, including Ireland, but it has not yet been ratified.

Today, all three committees advising the International Trade Committee rejected ACTA. However, the European Parliament will be making its final decision on ACTA in July.

That’s after the EU International Trade Committee examines ACTA on 21 June.

If the European Parliament votes to reject ACTA, the treaty will be scrapped entirely. If ACTA is passed, work will have to start on bringing ACTA to fruition across the EU. All member states would have to back ACTA.

ACTA is a treaty whereby countries agree to deal with intellectual property infringement in a similar fashion, particularly in areas like music, movies, drugs and fashion, where intellectual property theft is common.

Today the three committees that rejected ACTA were the Civil Liberties Committee, the Legal Affairs Committee and the Industry Committee.

Civil Liberties MEPs felt that ACTA fails to respect the EU’s fundamental rights. Meanwhile the Industry Committee said that it does not balance the rights and freedoms of the different stakeholders. The Legal Affairs Committee voted narrowly against a recommendation to approve ACTA.

Amelia Andersdotte, a member of the Swedish pirate party Piratpartiet, had this to say today: “I am very satisfied that this committee has listened to the concerns of EU citizens, companies, entrepreneurs and the artistic community, who do not believe that ACTA is the way forward.”

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic