The European Parliament has rejected ACTA today at 12:56 CEST. There were 478 against, 39 in favour, 165 abstention.
This means that the treaty is effectively dead. In theory, the remaining countries that are party to the agreement could still
adopt it, but it’s unlikely that they’ll bother.
It’s also a humiliating defeat for the Commission, which is now facing a more assertive Parliament. MEPs weren’t happy at all with how the EC treated them during the negotiation process. Bizarrely, the Commissioner in charge of ACTA, Karel de Gucht, says he still wants to have the European Court of Justice review the agreement.
ACTA also shows that citizens are willing to stand up and be counted for their digital rights en masse – that’s probably the best news out of this whole process.
The ideas that ACTA stood for won’t go away, and are bound to return in new guises. There’s the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) being negotiated by the US, Japan and various Asian countries. Closer to home, the EC is currently reviewing IPRED2. And no doubt there will be more treaty drafts, law proposals and other noxious stuff. Unitary patent, anyone?
We’ll attend to these things tomorrow. Today, we celebrate.