The European Parliament has rejected the anti-piracy treaty ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement), by an overwhelming majority. ACTA, which was introduced around the same time as SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) in the US, faced similarly harsh criticisms by the public and members of the European Parliament due to its focus on website blocking and general invasions of privacy.
The Parliament voted with 478 votes against, and just 39 in favour. There were 146 abstentions. In addition to this, LIBE, the civil liberties committee; JURI, the legal affairs committee; and ITRE, the industry and energy committee, all voted against the treaty in May.
David Martin MEP said:
It’s time to give [ACTA] its last rites.
Controversially, the EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said in an earlier speech that the Commission would press ahead with the treaty should it fail to pass the European Parliament:
If you decide for a negative vote before the European Court rules, let me tell you that the Commission will nonetheless continue to pursue the current procedure before the Court, as we are entitled to do. A negative vote will not stop the proceedings before the Court of Justice.
The courts ruling could come as late as 2014, and Karel De Gucht has stated that the treaty could be reintroduced in the next parliament in 2015.