ITS BODY is still warm, but that has not stopped anyone from celebrating the death of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in Europe today.
The draconian treaty staggered into the European Parliament for the last time today, and for a sixth consecutive time it was rejected in a vote.
This afternoon MEPs rejected the outrageous ACTA treaty by 478 votes to 39, with 165 MEPs abstaining. The list of who voted and who didn't vote has been published several times already, and some people are already drawing their conclusions from the patterns they see.
Half of the votes in favour of #ACTA are from French (sarkozyst) MEPs! France is definitely home of the Copyright Talibans..— Jérémie Zimmermann (@jerezim) July 4, 2012
This is a victory for everyone except corporate cartels and opponents of ACTA like the UK Pirate Party said that the treaty's defeat showed how powerful the people are when they pull together.
"This must signal a start for a new way of doing politics. No more should international agreements be negotiated behind closed doors and simply rubber stamped by parliaments. Policy must become something that happens with the people, not to the people," said Loz Kaye, leader of the Pirate Party in the UK. "The Pirate Party will continue to oppose treaties such as ACTA that seek to attack our fundamental rights."
ACTA: you won! openrightsgroup.org/blog/2012/acta…— Open Rights Group (@OpenRightsGroup) July 4, 2012
This defiance was mirrored by the Open Rights Group, another very vocal opponent of the ACTA treaty. "This victory was thanks to your continued pressure which helped ensure that at every step of the way Europe's representatives voted to reject the provisions within ACTA. We know that MEPs have been inundated with emails and calls from people who, just like you, have fought tirelessly in the defence of democratic freedoms," said the message there.
"Your persistence has paid off: MEPs have listened and stood up for democracy - some of them doing so quite literally in a moment of post-vote triumph, holding placards reading ‘Hello Democracy, Goodbye ACTA'."
Someone who has been right in the thick of the debate is David Martin, the European Parliament rapporteur who time and time again recommended that the treaty be rejected.
#ACTA biggest EVER legislative defeat for Commission in Parliament— David Martin MEP (@davidmartinmep) July 4, 2012
He made that call again this week, and today, after his wishes came true, he welcomed the news and reminded us what a murky and blighted piece of legislation it was in the first place.
"I am very pleased that the Parliament has followed my recommendation and rejected ACTA. The Treaty was too vague and is open to misinterpretation. I will always support civil liberties over intellectual property rights protection," he said.
"This is a historic day in terms of European politics. For the first time the European Parliament has used the powers granted by the Lisbon Treaty to reject an International Trade Agreement. The Commission and the Council will now be aware that they cannot expect blind support from the Parliament, which represents and defends citizens' rights. This vote represents true democracy in action and the coming of age of the European Parliament."
Martin also lamented the behaviour of the European People's Party (EPP), the group that tried to derail the voting at the last minute.
"We regret that the EPP (the Conservative Grouping in the European Parliament) has consistently disregarded people's concerns and the advice of the Parliament on ACTA's challenge to fundamental rights," he explained.
"They tried to bring secrecy and delay to this vote until the very last minute. Fortunately we were able to build a strong majority and defeated their call for a postponement."
No matter how hard the pro-ACTA lobby tried, it could not stop the waves of opposition that the execrable treaty attracted and as more and more people protested so it became harder for supporters to convince anyone that ACTA should be approved.
"We have to pay huge tribute to the people who protested on the streets of Europe on those cold February days. EDRi and others worked for years on leaks, rumours and never-ending meetings with the Commission and Parliament," said Joe McNamee, executive director of the civil rights group EDRI today.
"Citizens heard our warnings and demanded that the EU defend rights over monopolies, citizens over corporations, democracy over dogma. Thank you to all protesters for your part in an historic success."
Of course, these would not be Hollywood studios, and believe us, there were a lot of Hollywood interests involved in this, even if there wasn't a bad guy and a twist ending.
It should come as no surprise then that European Commissioner Karel de Gucht has already announced that the EC will wait for the European Court of Justice decision before considering what to do next.
"Today's rejection does not change the fact that the European Commission has committed itself to seeking answers to the questions raised by the European public. As I have stated before, the European Commission will continue to seek the legal opinion of the ECJ on whether this agreement harms any of the fundamental rights of European citizens - including freedom of speech. European citizens have raised these concerns and now they have the right to receive answers. We must respect that right," he said in a statement.
"It's clear that the question of protecting Intellectual Property does need to be addressed on a global scale - for business, the creative industries whether in Europe or our partner countries. With the rejection of ACTA, the need to protect the backbone of Europe's economy across the globe: our innovation, our creativity, our ideas - our intellectual property - does not disappear."
Which is just ruddy typical. µ
Buy shares in VPNs now
Yes, even the one your wrote while you were steaming drunk
Tens of people inconvenienced