Controversial anti-piracy act kicked out by the European Parliament
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), has been rejected by the European Parliament today with 478 members voting against the Act, just 39 in favour of it and 165 members choosing to abstain. The move has been welcomed by rights groups and consumers alike, all whom have innundated their MEPs with letters and emails urging them not to vote for ACTA.
Many of the MEPs who voted against the act, stood up holding banners in the wake of the victory bearing the legend ‘Hello Democracy, Goodbye ACTA,’ according to the Open Rights Group.
However, Commissioner Karel de Gucht said after the vote that the European Commission would wait for a decision from the ECJ on how the act potentially infringes on the rights of the citizens affected before considering the next step. ACTA is a multi-national treaty designed to protect intellectual property rights for artists such as musicians and movie-makers.
The act has been widely criticised as it doesn’t appear to count the rights of individuals, just those who are in positions of power such as the movie industry. Further to this, the kind of penalties imposed on those caught downloading illegal content is out of proportion for what really should be a civil case.
Similar acts, such as SOPA have already been thrown out by the US congress following overwhelming opposition from all sectors of society.
However, for the UK at least, it’s not over yet as the government prepares to overhaul some of the existing Digital Economies Act, pushed through by Labour before they left power, as well as the introduction of the much maligned ‘Snooping Act’.
However, for the moment at least, the vote against ACTA can be seen as a victory for both democracy and the freedom of the internet, which if over-governened will lead to the stifling of innovation in the booming technology industry.