We had suggested several weeks ago, that following a vote against ACTA by the European trade committee of 19 to 12, it was likely that the agreement would be rejected by the European parliament. What we didn't suspect, however, was by just how many votes ACTA would fail to see the light of day, with the European Parliament voting 39 in favour and, 478 against, with 165 members abstaining.
It's believed that with its landslide loss, ACTA is unlikely to be resurrected, no matter how it is reworded. Though there is still a genuine concern amongst lobbyists that we have not yet seen the end of ACTA or something like it, today is, however, one for celebrating continued and undiminished civil rights, with many rights organisations thanking supporters who protested both on the streets and through e-mails and calls to MEPs.
"This is a historic day in terms of European politics. For the first time the European Parliament has used the powers granted by the Lisbon Treaty to reject an International Trade Agreement. The Commission and the Council will now be aware that they cannot expect blind support from the Parliament, which represents and defends citizens' rights. This vote represents true democracy in action and the coming of age of the European Parliament." stated British MEP, David Martin, who had been tasked to investigate the treaty on behalf of the commission and, who subsequently recommended against it.
Unsurprisingly, the European Commission still seems hell-bent on implementing some form of rash legislation and, is now waiting on the legal opinion of the European Court of Justice to see just how much of ACTA it could have gotten away with.
"Today's rejection does not change the fact that the European Commission has committed itself to seeking answers to the questions raised by the European public. As I have stated before, the European Commission will continue to seek the legal opinion of the ECJ on whether this agreement harms any of the fundamental rights of European citizens - including freedom of speech. European citizens have raised these concerns and now they have the right to receive answers. We must respect that right," stated European Commissioner, Karel de Gucht.
Much like ACTA, Karel was a little vague on exactly which and how many members of the European public he was talking about, suggesting that the dead trade agreement was somehow an answer to their questions. It's true that we all want answers, solid guidelines and legal support when it comes to copyright law, however, that doesn't necessarily mean we want the commission to jump the gun in forming new laws, especially when they're reportedly influenced by large media corporations who have shown time and time again, that the general public is the last thing on their minds.