Powerful EU committee rejects ACTA - now it's unanimous

A fifth and final EU committee has reported unfavourably on ACTA, the controversial, secretly negotiated, far-reaching copyright treaty. The damning move came from the committee for International Trade, seen as the most important of the committees considering ACTA. Now that it has reported in, the verdict is unanimous: every expert committee in the EU has recommended against ACTA. Now it is going to the Parliament, whose "rapporteurs" (Members of the European Parliament charged with investigating and reporting on legislation to the whole group) have also roundly rejected ACTA as unsalvageable, the hopeless product of a corrupt process. The European Parliament will vote in two weeks, and there's some talk that the vote will be held in secret, which would allow MEPs to vote against all expert advice and the prevailing desires of their constituencies without fear of reprisals. If that happens, it will be a fitting end -- a corrupt, unaccountable secret vote on a corrupt, unaccountable secret treaty.

Press release – MEP: “Decisive vote against ACTA”


  1. Well, now that it’s been unanimously rejected by everyone who matters, its passage is probably a mere formality.

    And by “mere formality”, I mean, ‘slipped in as a concealed rider to an omnibus bill on cabbage imports, following an intense round of backroom negotiations and threats of trade sanctions’.

  2. “there’s some talk that the vote will be held in secret” – I’d like to see a citation for that. From what I can see, there was a proposal from a pro-ACTA MEP to exclude cameras from the Trade committee, so that *they* could vote in private; it was rejected by the committee.

    I do *not* believe that it is permissible for a plenary session of the whole parliament to vote secretly, and would be shocked to see evidence that this is in fact possible.

  3. This is a good argument for other countries to pull out, even if they’ve already signed on. Hope this causes Canada to review their own participation.

  4. It is a forgone conclusion that ACTA will be ratified despite all the evidence against it. Let’s face it, every other time any government body has a secret vote on anything, the purpose of the secrecy is to hid things from the public. That’s how it has always worked in the past and there is absolutely no reason to think it will work differently now. There are too many big corporations throwing around too much money and too much extortion for it to not pass. Once again a tiny minority of rich scum will prevail against the wishes of the general population of an entire continent.

  5. The pessimism here is a little unwarranted, because Boingboing does not address one of the most powerful forces in the global IP wars:  the third world.  In the multilateral fora – WIPO and the WTO – the developing countries have successfully blocked most attempts to impose higher standards of intellectual property protection over the last decade, and even managed to weaken IP in regard to certain medicines.  The more powerful ones (India, China, Brazil, Thailand etc) have taken advantage of the situation – pumping out cheap generic drugs that have saved countless lives, and so on. 
    As a result, those trying to strengthen IP rights have made a strategic retreat. Now they are devoting themselves to lifting protections inside the OECD nations – which is what ACTA is all about. The idea is to bring about high, uniform standards in the rich countries, then impose them on the third world.
    But its not working;  popular resistance and European human rights law is proving a fatal obstacle to the strategy – hence the retreat to an even smaller group of countries (the proposed Trans-Pacific Pact). I’m not arguing for complacency, and I’m not naive enough to think those fighting for an unbalanced extension of IP rights will just give up, but come on, we have to recognise our strengths, which include an abundance of allies.

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