After months of intense debate, the European Parliament on Wednesday finally rejected the controversial anti-piracy treaty ACTA.
With an outstanding majority of 478 negative votes, MEPs decided that no European member states will be able to join the treaty in its current form. ACTA was first proposed in 2007 to counter the trade of counterfeit good across borders.
This comes as a big defeat for the European Commission, who was a firm supporter of the text. Already on Tuesday, Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht warned that they will continue to seek advice on wether ACTA violates any fundamental civil rights.
Earlier this year, ACTA prompted a wave of protests across Europe and the world. Critics believe the treaty limits internet freedom and reduces online privacy. Supporters defend ACTA as a way of fighting ‘large-scale’ piracy and intellectual property theft.
So far, a total of 31 countries have signed the treaty globally. But without Europe, the power of ACTA will be greatly reduced.