This morning the EU Parliament voted to reject ACTA. The result was 478 MEPs voted against ACTA, 39 were in favour of adopting it and there were 165 abstentions. Despite 22 EU member states including Ireland having signed the Agreement, this vote means it cannot now be ratified by any EU country. ISPAI recognises the need for international agreements to protect business from counterfeit goods and to deter piracy of copyrighted works but ACTA had a poorly thought out one size fits all approach (due to online copyright piracy being shoe-horned in at a later stage) which was simply not practical for the Internet environment. Key issues for MEPs were lack of clarity defining scale for online piracy and protection of users fundamental rights. While ISPs would agree with such principles, industry had practical concerns that ACTA appeared to require ISPs to provide customer data to rights-holders and to impose sanctions against alleged infringing customers without court involvement.
Click here for a video of the vote and the reaction of parliamentarians. (Jump to time 12:51:30, about 6 minutes)
Below EuroISPA’s Press Release
ACTA: the European Parliament stands against repressive measures for IPR enforcement
Brussels, 4 July 2012 – The European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA) welcomes the European Parliament’s decision calling for a more balanced protection of fundamental rights in international negotiations.
EuroISPA and its members welcome the European Parliament’s decision to call for a more balanced approach in the protection of the fundamental rights at stake when the EU negotiates international treaties. The European Parliament found that the intended benefits of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) were far outweighed by the potential threats to civil liberties and the legal uncertainties about the role of Internet Service Providers in enforcing intellectual property rights.
“EuroISPA believes any international agreement should be negotiated openly, involving all the different stakeholders with the aim of promoting the legal certainties needed by the European Internet industry to develop and compete internationally”, said Malcolm Hutty, President of EuroISPA.
EuroISPA welcomes the growing reflection in Europe that repressive measures are not the right way forward and calls on the EU to support the development of the Digital Single Market as a primary focus. The role of the EU in international negotiations should indeed be to foster the potential economic of the Internet to create jobs and growth, while preserving fundamental rights for citizens and businesses.