Old May 31st, 2012 Top | #1

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Default Acta: Piracy treaty dealt crucial blows in EU votes

Three key EU committees have voted against the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta).

The treaty, which aims to curb piracy, was rejected by committees tasked with assessing its legality and impact on civil liberties and industry.

To date 22 member states, including the UK, have signed the treaty - but it is yet to be formally ratified.

The European Parliament will make its final decision on Acta in July.

If it passes, the agreement will then come into force across the EU. If rejected, Acta will be scrapped entirely.

While the agreement covers the counterfeiting of physical items, such as pharmaceuticals, it is the measures relating to pirated material on the internet that have caused most concern among campaigners.

The agreement suggests setting international standards over how copyright infringements are dealt with. Preventive measures include possible imprisonment and fines.

However, critics say it is a potential threat to freedom of speech online.

The latest round of voting involved the Committee on Legal Affairs (Juri), Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE) and the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). All three voted to express "opinions against Acta".
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