By DON MELVIN
The European Parliament overwhelmingly defeated the international ACTA anti-piracy trade agreement Wednesday after concern that it would limit Internet freedom mobilized broad opposition across Europe.
The vote — 39 in favor, 478 against and 165 abstentions — means that as far as the EU is concerned the treaty is finished, at least for the moment, though other countries may well participate.
Supporters had said ACTA — the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement — was needed to standardize international laws that protect the rights of those who produce music, movies, pharmaceuticals, fashion goods and other products that often fall victim to piracy and intellectual property theft. Opponents feared it would lead to censorship and a loss of privacy on the Internet.
Many other countries — including the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea — also have signed the trade agreement, though no one has ratified it yet, and the EU vote won’t affect them.
David Martin, a member of the Parliament from Scotland and the person who reported to the European Parliament on the proposal, said before Wednesday’s vote that the agreement was dead. “No emergency surgery, no transplant, no long period of recuperation is going to save ACTA,” Martin said. “It’s time to give it its last rites. It’s time to allow its friends to mourn and for the rest of us to get on with our lives.”
READ THE FULL STORY HERE.