Euro-MPs have today voted to reject the controversial ACTA agreement, following a major campaign from civil rights activists and the online community.
The Anti Counterfeiting Agreement, designed to assist in protecting intellectual property rights from piracy and illegal operations, has been rejected largely on the grounds of failing to offer strong safeguards to protect civil liberties and concerns regarding the lack of wider consultation.
The treaty has been signed by countries from around the world but requires ratification by the European Parliament and the 27 national parliaments before becoming European law. However some countries such as China and Russia, where many of the infringements come from, have chosen not to sign the treaty, undermining its credibility.
Lib Dem MEP for the South West Sir Graham Watson, who voted against ACTA commented,
“From the start, this treaty has been marked by a lack of transparency and a failure by governments to address the concerns over civil liberties and protection for consumers.
“The world is changing. More and more transactions, businesses and trade is moving from the physical to the virtual. And with that comes the challenge of tackling those people who seek to exploit those who operate within the law. But that does not mean we should legislate for the sake of it. We need a long lasting agreement that tackles the source of the problem in addition to protecting people’s freedom.
“With so many concerns from the trade, legal, industry and civil liberties committees in Parliament over the treaty in its current form, it was only right that we voted to reject ACTA.