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ACTA rejected by European Parliament committees

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The controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has been rejected by all three committees that advise the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee (ITC).

The Civil Liberties Committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of rejecting the agreement which aims to protect intellectual property rights but has been criticized for having been decided in secret and for infringing on basic rights and freedom (36 votes to one but with 21 abstentions). Votes in the Industry Committee and Legal Affairs Committee were closer (31 to 25, and 12 to 10 respectively).

UK MEP David Martin said the proposed act leaves “many questions unanswered," including the role of internet service providers (ISPs) in policing the web. Many on the committee felt that the sanctions for breaches of copyright were "disproportionate," he said.

Martin further commented that "This was not an anti-intellectual property vote. This group believes Europe does have to protect its intellectual property but ACTA was too vague a document."

The Committees’ decisions are not binding on the ITC which will make its determination on 21 June. It will then pass to the full European Parliament. The agreement is not expected to pass.

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