THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT international trade committee INTA has voted to reject the draconian Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
The vote this morning was a key one, and there were some last minute attempts by the pro-ACTA lobby to influence the voting in favour of the treaty.
As well as some prominent pro-ACTA posters, there were also some shenanigans early on. MEP De Gucht requested that cameras be removed from the meeting so that the vote could be held in secret.
His request was denied, in part because a press conference to be held 15 minutes after the vote would have revealed what happened anyway, but also, we hope, because it was a rather dirty trick.
There was a lot of extra voting as well, meaning that the votes had to be taken again and the proceedings were delayed.
Two amendments were withdrawn, while amendment three, which asked for a delay on the decision for as long as two years, was also rejected after one false start where too many people voted.
Finally, David Martin, the MEP and rapporteur who had recommended rejection, had his proposal accepted, meaning that finally ACTA was rejected, by 19 votes to 12.
This was the fourth and final committee vote. The full parliament, which has been presented with four committee rejections, will decide whether or not to accept ACTA in July.
In the UK the Pirate Party said that this fourth committee rejection is an acknowledgement of just how wrong the thinking behind ACTA has been. The group of course welcomed the rejection.
"Our objections to ACTA have been consistent. This treaty was discussed in secret and it diminishes privacy in order to protect outdated business models. It harms developing countries and unfairly favours the big players. It's neither in our interests nor your interests; it's not for your benefit, it's not good for humanity," said Ed Geraghty, foreign policy spokesperson for the UK Pirate Party.
"Our opponents have attempted to portray us all as extreme or ill-informed. But the response of the EU committees show that we have been right all along. Today's votes by the International Trade committee support that. We will continue to fight against ACTA and any similar legislation, whether at the national or international level." µ