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ACTA Rejected By European Parliament 142

Grumbleduke writes "Today the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to reject the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Despite attempts by the EPP Group to delay the vote until after the Courts have ruled on its legality, the Parliament voted against the Treaty by 478 to 39; apparently the biggest ever defeat the Commission has suffered. However, despite this apparent victory for the Internet, transparency and democracy, the Commission indicated that it will press ahead with the court reference, and if the Court doesn't reject ACTA as well, will consider bringing it back before the Parliament."
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ACTA Rejected By European Parliament

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Congratulations to the FFII, EDRI and quadrature. You guys did awsome work.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Seeteufel ( 1736784 )
      And the mass popular movement, they cannot stand how the EU Commission treats citizens and members of parliament anymore. Europe is once again reborn as a democracy, of the people, for the people.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Dupple ( 1016592 )

      It may well be that the vote has passed but may not make any difference []

      Especially as there appears to be a plan B,,16070495,00.html []

      It's a good win at the moment, but the war isn't won.

      • I don't think so. The ACTA process is terminated now. IPRED+ will be delayed because of the outcome of the vote, and it is EU legislative, not an international monster. It is much easier for civil society to deal with IPRED+ than ACTA because here Parliament sits in the driving seat.
      • by F69631 ( 2421974 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @02:11PM (#40543327)

        It's rare to see the EU parliament - composing of over half a dozen groups, each of which is umbrella organization for dozens of parties from many countries - to be as united as they were now. They voted not only against the internet restricting laws but also against the kind of shady activity that occurred during ACTA preparations. Whatever the commission says now, I doubt they've got the balls to bring ACTA - or nearly identical equivalents with different name - back anytime soon... it would be such an act of disrespect towards the parliament that things could escalate far more than anyone is willing to risk "just for copyright".

        I think we're safe at least until June of 2014 (next parliamentary elections in EU)... that is, of course, unless same provisions are brought back in a bill that also mention child pornography. EU legislators are pretty weak against the "think of the children" argument.

    • and I'm kind of proud to be an European. This was the first time were I recognized some "we, the people" feeling - the EU is mostly a bureaucratic umbrella and we have many democratic deficits.

      But take a look at this [], protests all over the continent, finally some pan-European atmosphere.

      Neither top-to-bottom nor some organized spectacle (e.g. Euro2012 [football championship]) - great!

      • Yeah well done Britain. God my country sucks.

        You know I went to Germany last year (I wasn't in the capital either, I was in Bremen, a small city in the North), I saw people wearing those Guy Fawkes masks meeting up in public peacefully protesting. They actually care. I've never seen it here, we simply worship consumerism.

        Even Bulgaria got in on the action, we are at the bottom of the scale for engaging in political issues as important as this.

  • by polar red ( 215081 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @09:41AM (#40541041)

    unexpectedly, democracy works ! EP win against EC !

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Jahta ( 1141213 )
      Well we're not quite out of the woods. The EC (unelected and largely unaccountable) haven't given this one up yet. But the scale of the No vote, and the likelihood that the European Court will find at least some parts of ACTA unconstitutional, is going to make it tough for even the EC to push it through.
      • Re:nice (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @10:00AM (#40541219)

        The European Parliament has to give its consent. The vote was that it denied its consent.

        The EC also invoked the European Court of Justice. The ECJ will simply say, we cannot rule on ACTA anymore because the process is terminated.

        FFII for analysis [].

      • Indeed. The EC's man in charge of this treaty has stated he will continue to press-forward through the EU's "supreme court" to get ACTA enforced. So basically the Parliament vote don't mean shit..... you have a law-making body that can bypassed by the executive branch. (Sounds familiar.)

        • Re:nice (Score:5, Insightful)

          by lordholm ( 649770 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @10:33AM (#40541505) Homepage

          No, it cannot be bypassed. What he can do is have it subject to judicial review and try to resubmit the ratification proposal. However, I would assume that parliament will not take kindly to this. Maybe they should move for a no confidence vote on Karel.

          • Unfortunately I think the EP is a little hindered in their power over individual commissioners, they can only fire the entire commission, not single individuals. Doing that requires requires grand standing and a game of chicken between the EC and the EP.

      • by Teun ( 17872 )

        The EC (unelected and largely unaccountable)/quote> Come on, quit that old bullshit.

        The European Commission is appointed and controlled by the governments of the member states, all of them democratically elected.

        • Re:nice (Score:5, Informative)

          by Svippy ( 876087 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @11:25AM (#40541893) Homepage

          The EC (unelected and largely unaccountable)

          Come on, quit that old bullshit.

          The European Commission is appointed and controlled by the governments of the member states, all of them democratically elected.

          Ah, indirectly. Most - if not all - EU countries use a parliamentary system, which means our governments are not directly elected, but elected by the parliaments which are directly elected. So you have voters > local parliament > local government > EC. So yeah, that's quite far from the voters. Compare to the EP: voters > EP. One step.

          A lot of special interests are bound to be happening through those steps. However, the EC has far less power with the passing of Lisbon, so I wouldn't worry too much.

        • by Jahta ( 1141213 )

          Come on, quit that old bullshit. The European Commission is appointed and controlled by the governments of the member states, all of them democratically elected.

          Your point being? The EC is a group of political appointees, with a history of pushing agendas at odds with the wishes of the electorate and their democratically elected representatives.

          Remember the software patents [] battle?

          • by HuguesT ( 84078 )

            The EC members, since 2009, consist of the head of states of every EU countries. Hardly "political appointees". In some countries in Europe the head of state is elected directly by the people.

      • Re:nice (Score:4, Insightful)

        by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @10:56AM (#40541691)

        They'll just extradite everyone who violates it to the U.S. for prosecution.

      • by Kat M. ( 2602097 )

        The European Commission is not unelected nor unaccountable. Its president is first proposed by the European Council and then elected by the European Parliament. The European Council, in agreement with the president of the commission, then appoints the commissioners, which are then also subject to a vote of approval by the European Parliament. The European Parliament can also dismiss the European Commission (basically, a motion of no confidence), though not individual commissioners. In fact, an angry Europea

        • An incoming PM immediately faces a vote of confidence though, in the form of the budget vote. If they lose that then it all starts again with someone else being asked to try and form a government. The budget vote, in practice, demonstrates that the appointed prime minster has the backing of the majority of MPs.

      • by HuguesT ( 84078 )

        Of course the EC is elected. It is an executive council made of all the head of states or government (whoever wield the actual top executive power in their respective state) and a few European representative like the president of the European Commission. All these people are elected according to the system of their own country of origin.

        Of course it is accountable. Decisions taken in the EC are discussed in newspapers in Europe like any other political body of import. Boneheaded decision making result in no

        • Of course the EC is elected. It is an executive council made of all the head of states or government

          No, maybe you are thinking of the council of ministers, which is a separate organ, but even then you would be wrong. The European Commission is made up of people _appointed_ by the executive branch of each member state. As such they do represent the traditional head of government. but not the head of state! Who gives a shit what the queen thinks?

          No European organ is made up of the heads of state, the kings a

    • by tsa ( 15680 )

      I have the feeling that democracy doesn't work here. What does the legality of a rejected law matter? So why does the Court still have a say in this? And why, if ACTA is deemed legal, does the Parliament have to vote again? Is that normal procedure?

      • Re:nice (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Elldallan ( 901501 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @10:12AM (#40541333)
        The Court does have a limited say because it is supposed to investigate if ACTA is compatible with the framework treaties of the European Union, if they are Parliament can vote on it and either pass or reject ACTA which has already happened. However if the court finds that ACTA is incompatible with said framework treaties then it cannot be passed regardless of Parliament vote unless said framework treaties are changed as well. If the court finds that ACTA is ok then the Commission can remove whatever parts they think led to the rejection in Parliament and ask the Parliament to vote on the amended ACTA
        • Re:nice (Score:5, Informative)

          by lordholm ( 649770 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @10:39AM (#40541551) Homepage

          This is true, except that the Commission cannot easily change ACTA as is as the treaty is signed. They could ask to have a protocol added which would require the approvals of all the original signing parties which include the US, Canada, the EU, the individual EU member states et.c. This in turn would mean that most governments need to acquire new negotiating mandates from their respective parliaments and so on. This is not a trivial operation.

          • Re:nice (Score:5, Insightful)

            by stanlyb ( 1839382 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @12:42PM (#40542481)
            In most countries, this "mandate" requirements was never issued. The pact was signed secretly, behind the curtain, and without the knowledge of the public, and in some cases (i know of a few countries) even without the consent of the parliament.
            Nevertheless, the real issue is the unconvinient publicity of the ACTA, which could make all these "hidden" deals very hard to strike. Which is actually a real democracy at work.
          • Indeed, it might not be trivial but it can be done, hopefully they are a bit daunted by the underwhelming 6% support in Parliament since even if they have another go at it there is no guarantee that Parliament will accept the new revised version, hopefully the court strike it dead as well because that should really put a wrench in their machinery.

            Personally I fear that this was just a smokescreen and they put it up there just to fail and take up media space while they're busy passing the real treaty throu
  • Well done (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @09:42AM (#40541049)

    But we're only safe until the next bit of daft legislation.

    • But that's always true of any government on any issue. You need to maintain constant vigilance that they're not going to pass some terrible law.

      Is there a government? If yes, then they can pass something you don't like and you need to be sure they don't if at all possible. If no, then you don't have to worry about it, but you have bigger issues that you do need to worry about then.
  • by halfEvilTech ( 1171369 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @09:43AM (#40541057)

    Its nice to see some political critters with a shred of common sense still. Of course the MPAA/RIAA's of the world over there are thinking what the hell happened and if they didn't donate enough.

    • by GroeFaZ ( 850443 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @10:31AM (#40541477)
      This time it's not political critters developing a shred of common sense, it's political critters channeling civil society's common sense and massive protests. For once, they have worked.
    • This is Europe. You can wine and dine the MEPs, to an extent, but you need to corrupt them in so many languages that you might find the task daunting... Also unlike the US, outright buying of politicians is frowned upon.

      Because make no mistakes, unlimited campaign donations via "superpacs" is just that, buying politicos.

      • Because make no mistakes, unlimited campaign donations via "superpacs" is just that, buying politicos.

        No doubt.

        It should be noted, however, that politicians were bought and sold long before "superpacs" were even thought of.

        • by ppanon ( 16583 )

          It should be noted, however, that politicians were bought and sold long before "superpacs" were even thought of.

          True. SuperPACs are just the big box stores of corruption. But don't underestimate the impact of big box stores.

  • "...will consider bringing it back before the Parliament." Who do they think they're dealing with, Ireland?
    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      They'll keep sending it until it's passed. It's what they get paid for.

    • It would have been very funny seeing this proposal being rejected continuously unless you consider that each iteration of the process costs task payers money.

      Why are we continuously footing that bill if it has been shown that the treaty has been overwhelmingly rejected?

      "SOUP! The goat fetched SOUP!!"
      "SOUP?!?11one This makes no sense!"

      • task payers = tax payers.... sigh... I should stop reading /. and get back to JIRA.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You are correct. All actions now should be direct at EC member responsible for Trade Karel De Gucht asking him why after so many rejections of ACTA he is still wasting tax payer money by not retracting his ACTA submission from the EU court.

    • They say so, but the reality is that there is no chance whatsoever for it to return. The reason is simple, the process has terminated. They would have to seek a new mandate for a new treaty and this time member states would be more cautious and the Lisbon treaty of the European Union requires more transparency in regulatory dialogue.
  • by Sasayaki ( 1096761 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @09:46AM (#40541093)

    ACTA is like a sleezy guy trying to pick you up in a bar.

    You can tell him no six hundred times and he'll keep coming back, because all it takes is one yes and he's fucked you.

  • The governments themselves are doing all they can do get in on its users, throttling and censoring to their liking. They probably saw this as a challenge.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @09:53AM (#40541153)

    Higgs' Boson discovered by LHC before Tevatron, and ACTA (already implemented in the USA) finally rejected by the European Parliament. Europe wins both in science and democracy. Very sad july 4th for the USA.

    Dear hollywood cocaineaholics/drunk singers/corrupt american politicians/etc..., f*uck you!

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Hey - don't take it too hard..

      You still have those beautiful software patents.
      Now that's something we don't have here in Europe.
      It must be a lot of fun to see all those cases increase (well ... if you are a lawyer that is).

    • You see, this time US "imperialism" exports independence day. Higgs and ACTA rejection []. A great day to celebrate!
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Why is the European Parliament doing business today? Don't they know it's the Fourth?

      • So, it appears that only USA has GOD's particle (lol, whatever that means...) and ACTA. Now, now, tell me that they are not god-chosen.
    • Higgs' Boson discovered by LHC before Tevatron

      To be slightly pedantic, machines don't make discoveries. That, or the Higgs was discovered months ago.

    • by alexo ( 9335 )

      Very sad july 4th for the USA

      Not really, it might just encourage the Americans to do better.
      They out-Sovieted the Soviets, perhaps it's time they try to out-Europe the Europeans instead.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just wait for Romney to get elected, Europe will find out what it's like to not do what they are told.

    Retroactively adopt ACTA or face War! we have several ships ready with nuclear armed cruise missles ready to strike every capitol and 3 largest cities in all of europe if you dont to what you are told to do.

    dissent must be stopped with a swift and severe blow to reinforce the fear to the others.

    We have always been at war with Eurasia.
    The emperor commands us to fight against the heretics.
    Pick any insane w

    • Come on! The US is not the power it used to be. And in the old times it would not impose its interests in such a blunt way. In fact, ACTA's European demise is also a blow for it as a worldwide treaty.
  • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @10:36AM (#40541527) Journal
    ... but they began to hate it too : image []
  • by k(wi)r(kipedia) ( 2648849 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @10:37AM (#40541533)
    Could the relatively recent electoral successes of the various Pirate Parties convinced the MEPs to vote against the treaty, perhaps as an attempt to head off a backlash at the ballot box? The near triumph of the various anarchist and radical left factions in Greece might have also served as a sobering reminder of what could happen when government decides to act against public opinion. This is not necessarily a good thing but should be considered as a political fact of life that comes with the rise of the socially networked voter.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wvmarle ( 1070040 )

      The vote was near anonymous. More than 90% against. That's not just populism, the pirate parties don't make any serious inroads.

      Greece is a bad example: that country is in shatters, and people will vote for whoever is not part of the old leadership. The austerity there hurts too, of course, many people don't like it of course, but it seems the overall opinion of the Greek people is that their country should stay in the Eurozone. That's at least what they're currently heading for.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The vote was near anonymous. More than 90% against.

        I don't think that word means what you think it means.

        - Unanimous Coward

    • The Pirate Party is very influential. Take a look for instance at this "Creation and Copyright in the Digital Era" [] position paper, in particular paragraph 26. The Greens/EFA is the fourth-largest political group in the European Parliament and officially supports reducing copyright to 20 years after publication. There's even more in that paper.

      Guess what your MAME collection could look like with a copyright limited to 20 years? Or software for your 8-bit home computer emulator you used way back when? As well

  • by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @10:59AM (#40541713)
    The US Constitution requires any treaty to be ratified by the US Senate. As of now no Senate vote on ACTA has occurred so it's not law even in the USA. But the Justice Department is also insisting they will enforce it.
      • I was under the impression that it only applied to US citizens. This wiki page [] lists three American citizens of note that the government admits to. Hamdi was held at Guantanamo for a while, but the government claims it didn't know he was a citizen. Lindh was put on trial a few months after his capture, and never went to Cuba. Padilla was held for years before trial, but again not at Guantanamo.

        It seems that most of the prisoners there are not citizens and have no reasonable expectation that we'll gra
    • by Znork ( 31774 )

      The sleazebags in the white house seem to claim that it's a 'trade agreement' that doesn't change law so it needs no ratification. And they try to claim the same in Europe, altho they have not gotten around the need for ratification.

      Of course, that's ignoring the point that signing even an agreement that doesn't change current law will still prevent a scaling back of IP law and thus bind congress and senate.

      This corruption seems prevalent throughout various government arms in many countries. 'Special' IP en

  • People didn't understand? They were the victims of a misinformation campaign? LOL.

    Wonder how many humiliations it'll take to demoralize and scare copyright extremists enough that they'll never try the likes of ACTA again? Drum Karel De Gucht out. Force Theresa May to reconsider and not extradite O'Dwyer. Kick out the officials who are helping with the harassment of the Pirate Bay.

    Then the extremists can spend the rest of their lives sulking in their mansions like deposed royalty, since they seem unable to face reality.

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      No amount will be enough. We're going to have to roast one or more of them on a spit to get the point across.

  • Just because a thing is legally permitted does not make it sensible. I'm pretty sure that it's legal for me to stockpile Froot Loops by filling my car with them. Consider the EC as being advocates of that sort of thinking.
  • Just frickin' die already! And stop trying to take the rest of the world with you down your death-spiral.

    The world owes you NOTHING.

  • by Tom ( 822 )

    Yes, one commissioner has said that he's going to bring it back again and again.

    The summary misses something important, though: That EU MEPs have made it very clear what they think of that strategy. Shooting yourself in the foot is a really attractive option compared to the equivalent of telling the judge up front that you're going to appeal his ruling anyways - when he knows that he will also preside over the appeal case.

  • So, we can vote against those ;)

They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.