Europe Rejects ACTA Anti-Piracy Trade Agreement
BERLIN - The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to reject the ACTA treaty designed to crack down on online piracy and other intellectual property theft worldwide.
In a vote of 478 against to just 39 in favor, with 149 abstentions, EU politicians killed ACTA, responding to critics who complained the treaty had been negotiated in secret and could be used to violate freedom of expression rights across Europe.
Supporters of the treaty had suggested postponing the crucial voting at the Parliament plenary on Wednesday, but members of the parliament decided not to delay the decision any further.
Anti-ACTA politicians were out in force Wednesday, with many wearing anti-ACTA T-shirts and hoisting banners condemning the treaty.
The EU's No vote was a bygone conclusion after five European Parliamentary committees, including the powerful International Trade Committee, recommended rejecting the treaty and a majority of the parties represented at the EU Parliament came out against ACTA.
ACTA was highly controversial in Europe and thousands of Europeans marched in protest against the treaty. Millions more signed petitions calling for the EU to dump ACTA. The anti-ACTA factions hailed Wednesday's vote as a major victory for Internet freedom.