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ACTA Fails to Pass In Three Important EU Committees, Still Has Two More To Go

by on31 May 2012 1886 times

Jollyroger-1We have been following the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) since it first leaked into the public eye. The agreement (as we have said) appears to be only about counterfeit physical goods, but anyone who really takes a look at the few leaked details (which have been kept pretty secret) will find that it is more about copyright law and protecting the IP of the software and entertainment industry (mostly the US portion of it) and restricting countries rights to enact and change their own laws outside of the agreement.

Yesterday ACTA went through the opening stages of voting in the EU. Although far from over the beginnings are looking good for those opposing ACTA. So far in the three votes that it has been put to it has been rejected. ACTA had to pass through the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI), The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and finally the Committee on Civil Liberties.

All three of these rejected the proposed agreement with small margins (but it was still rejected). The next hurdle will be on June 4th when it hits the Third World Development Committee (DEVE). Opponents of ACTA, while happy with the current state, warn that things are not over. There is still a lot of work to do and they are encouraging people to continue to let their representatives know that they want them to reject this new trade agreement.

As Rick Falkvinge stated in his Blog;

“What happened today was the first steps in a long chain that ends with the final vote in all of the European Parliament, which is the vote where ACTA ultimately lives or dies. If it is defeated on the floor of the European Parliament, then it’s a permakill. Boom, headshot.. But on the way to that vote, a number of specialized committees will say what they think from their perspective.”

After the DEVE ACTA gets to its most difficult battle the vote in the Committee for International Trade (INTA). This has been called the “spiritual home” of ACTA and is where many feel the opposition will face its hardest battle. Still the fact that the tide is changing as the members in parliament change is something to be optimistic about (now we need to see this happen in the US).

“To see a Pirate Representative get her opinion (“reject ACTA”) voted through to the next step, whereas the copyright maximalist gets her opinion (“accept, embrace, and love ACTA”) shot down in the Legal Affairs committee, is a complete breach of a crucial tipping point.”

If ACTA is not passed by the DEVE or the INTA then the agreement is dead for all intents and purposes. Many other countries are rejecting the agreement (and are even beginning to reject agreements like TPP). The time when the entertainment industry can legislate their business policies to the world is fast closing. Their window to embrace new technologies and methods for simple and inexpensive distribution is also closing. You only have to look at the next generation of devices to see that online content is the future (look at the number of devices that will not even have DVD-drives). To hang on to their outdated methods is only hurting them and the economy in general.

Still as we (and others) have said the battle is far from over. Even if ACTA is rejected completely there will always be new agreements and laws proposed that seek to trample innovation and technology. To prevent these people need to be involved in a much bigger way.

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Last modified on 31 May 2012
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