The European Parliament rejected the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement in a 478 to 39 vote Wednesday, marking another setback for entertainment companies — much to the delight of critics.
Opponents argued that the treaty was crafted without public input and said its copyright measures could hamper future online innovation.
Similar to the outcry against the Stop Online Piracy Act in the United States, ACTA protesters took to writing their representatives to oppose the extension of government enforcement powers in the name of stopping copyright infringement.
If enacted, ACTA would have introduced stronger fines and criminalization of people who bypass DRM copyright tools, TechCrunch reports.
Not everyone was pleased with the result. Carol Guthrie, a spokeswoman for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, told The Hill, “It is unfortunate that there has been so much misrepresentation of ACTA, because its language explicitly preserves free expression and privacy while fighting commercial-scale IP theft.”
“There continues to be a need for international cooperation on these issues,” Guthrie said.
While the European Parliament vote puts ACTA on the ropes, the fight is likely far from over. Techdirt reported last week that Karel De Gucht, the EU commissioner responsible for the treaty, was intent on getting ACTA passed.
“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,” Gucht said in a speech.
The United States and seven other countries have already approved, but not ratified, ACTA. The EU parliament’s rejection means that European countries that have signed the treaty may have been overruled.
The Guardian reports that this is the first time the European Parliament has used its powers under the Lisbon Treaty to reject an international trade agreement.