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ACTA killed in EU parliament: 478 votes to 39 (falkvinge.net)
495 points by charliesome on July 4, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 86 comments

As expected.

Even most pro-ACTA parties voted against to save their countries leaders from having to find another way out of this mess now that public opinion turned against it. Blaming the EU parliament is a relatively cheap and easy way to nullify their previous commitment (and signatures!), and one that won't result in US sanctions against individual member states.

It's basically a get-out-of-jail card for those countries that did a 180 and would no longer ratify ACTA despite signing it.

For once the EU parliament is good for something!

It has been good for many things so far, it just doesn't get reported usually.

And if the Constitution Treaty hadn't been rejected by popular vote some years ago, the EP would actually have much more influence over the Commission.

"more influence" isn't good enough in a democracy. These are supposed to be the people's representatives. Calling the treaty a "constitution" without it guaranteeing civil rights and true democracy was an insult to the people, and quite rightly buried by those that were allowed to vote on it.

The EP is a joke, a political instrument played by the same people that supported ACTA, and is now being used as a way to get out of it.

Which in all makes it more significant. In reality, it isn't so much that the EP stopped ACTA, but the people who first supported it (people with actual power) that have changed their minds, even though most of them can't admit so directly because of international (read "US") relations. In the long term, that (changing minds) is the bigger victory.

"more influence" is enough. In a democracy, nobody has but "influence", that's called "checks and balances". Giving real power to any human being --elected or not-- is generally a bad idea.

Is there a list of the MEPs who voted yes? I'd like to make sure to vote these MEPs out if I have the opportunity, and I'm sure others would as well.

The information you're looking for should appear at https://www.votewatch.eu shortly.

You can see all votes here: https://www.votewatch.eu/cx_vote_details.php?id_act=3055&... Including filtering by vote and country.

Here's a raw list of those who voted for ACTA

ALDE: Newton Dunn, Takkula

EFD: Allam, Provera, Tzavela

PPE: Audy, Bendtsen, Berra, Cadec, Casini, Dantin, Dati, Deß, Florenz, Gahler, Gallo, Gauzès, Grossetête, Hortefeux, Juvin, Lamassoure, Langen, Le Brun, Le Grip, Lehne, Mathieu, Morin-Chartier, Motti, Ponga, Posselt, Proust, Quisthoudt-Rowohl, Riquet, Rivellini, Roatta, Sanchez-Schmid, Vlasto, Weber Manfred

S&D: Moreira

And those who abstained:

ALDE: Chatzimarkakis, De Backer, Hirsch, Klinz, Krahmer, Lambsdorff, Manders, Meissner, Paulsen, Reimers, Thein, Theurer

ECR: Ashworth, Bradbourn, Cabrnoch, Callanan, Campbell Bannerman, Chichester, Deva, Elles, Eppink, Fajmon, Ford, Foster, Fox, Girling, Hannan, Harbour, Karim, Kirkhope, Kožušník, McClarkin, McIntyre, Nicholson, Ouzký, Stevenson, Strejček, Swinburne, Tannock, Tošenovský, Van Orden, Vlasák, Yannakoudakis, Zahradil, Zīle, van Dalen, Češková

EFD: Rossi, Salavrakos, Vanhecke

PPE: Albertini, Andrikienē, Angelilli, Auconie, Ayuso, Becker, Boulland, Böge, Băsescu, Caspary, Collin-Langen, Correa Zamora, De Veyrac, Dehaene, Dorfmann, Ehler, Essayah, Estaràs Ferragut, Feio, Fisas Ayxela, Fjellner, Fraga Estévez, Gardini, Gargani, Garriga Polledo, Giannakou, Gräßle, Herranz García, Higgins, Hohlmeier, Hökmark, Iacolino, Ibrisagic, Jahr, Jeggle, Jiménez-Becerril Barrio, Jordan, Kalniete, Karas, Kariņš, Kelly, Klaß, Koch, Koumoutsakos, Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou, Kuhn, Kukan, Köstinger, La Via, Liese, Lope Fontagné, Lulling, López-Istúriz White, Macovei, Marinescu, Matera, Mato Adrover, Matula, Mauro, Mazej Kukovič, McGuinness, Mikolášik, Millán Mon, Mitchell, Muscardini, Mészáros, Naranjo Escobar, Niebler, Ortiz Vilella, Pack, Papastamkos, Patrão Neves, Pieper, Pietikäinen, Pirker, Preda, Pöttering, Reul, Rübig, Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Sarvamaa, Saudargas, Saïfi, Schnellhardt, Schnieber-Jastram, Schwab, Sedó i Alabart, Seeber, Sommer, Striffler, Svensson, Tatarella, Thyssen, Tıkés, Ulmer, Vaidere, Verheyen, Voss, Weisgerber, Wieland, Winkler Hermann, Zalba Bidegain, Zanicchi, Zeller, Záborská, de Grandes Pascual, del Castillo Vera, Šadurskis, Šťastný

S&D: Christensen, Correia de Campos, Costa, Jørgensen, Schaldemose, Thomsen

from page 19 of this document: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=PV&re...

Scary number of Finnish names in that list.

What? According to http://bit.ly/RcTxfR only one from Finland voted for ACTA.

Exactly one. And Takkula is an opportunist turncoat who has pretty much zero chance of being re-elected in the next MEP election. (The centre party probably won't accept him on their list.)

Ok, correction: Finnish-sounding names

Here is a list with party and country:

1 Magdi Cristiano ALLAM EFD Italy

2 Jean-Pierre AUDY EPP France

3 Bendt BENDTSEN EPP Denmark

4 Nora BERRA EPP France

5 Alain CADEC EPP France

6 Carlo CASINI EPP Italy

7 Michel DANTIN EPP France

8 Rachida DATI EPP France

9 Albert DESS EPP Germany

10 Karl-Heinz FLORENZ EPP Germany

11 Michael GAHLER EPP Germany

12 Marielle GALLO EPP France

13 Jean-Paul GAUZÈS EPP France

14 Françoise GROSSETÊTE EPP France

15 Brice HORTEFEUX EPP France

16 Philippe JUVIN EPP France

17 Alain LAMASSOURE EPP France

18 Werner LANGEN EPP Germany

19 Agnès LE BRUN EPP France

20 Constance LE GRIP EPP France

21 Klaus-Heiner LEHNE EPP Germany

22 Véronique MATHIEU EPP France

23 Vital MOREIRA S&D Portugal

24 Elisabeth MORIN-CHARTIER EPP France

25 Tiziano MOTTI EPP Italy

26 Bill NEWTON DUNN ALDE/ADLE United Kingdom

27 Maurice PONGA EPP France

28 Bernd POSSELT EPP Germany

29 Franck PROUST EPP France

30 Fiorello PROVERA EFD Italy

31 Godelieve QUISTHOUDT-ROWOHL EPP Germany

32 Dominique RIQUET EPP France

33 Crescenzio RIVELLINI EPP Italy

34 Jean ROATTA EPP France

35 Marie-Thérèse SANCHEZ-SCHMID EPP France

36 Hannu TAKKULA ALDE/ADLE Finland

37 Niki TZAVELA EFD Greece

38 Dominique VLASTO EPP France

39 Manfred WEBER EPP Germany

21 French out of 39. Once again, I'm proud of my country. Sigh.

Count by party not by country. EPP of course.

Well, there's 28 Poles in EPP, and none of them voted pro-ACTA :) I guess they were scared by the protests in january-february this year.

Not a list, but chances are they were from http://www.eppgroup.eu (based on today's press release at http://www.eppgroup.eu/press/showpr.asp?prcontroldoctypeid=1...)

That group (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_People%27s_Party_%28Eu...) is larger than those 39 votes against and 165 abstains, though.

For the curious: http://www.nrc.nl/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/acta.jpg shows what the EU parliament looked like today.


That seems to be another vote -- it's about "Customs enforcement of intellectual property rights", and it went through 397 - 259, as far as I understand.

Oups, I'm officially stupid.

Yup, that's a nice reason to go vote at the next EU Parliament elections.

I couldn't find anything at the moment, only the results of a recommendation (With some of the names you're looking for): http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT...

Maybe later, the procedure file will be updated, it has this new vote only listed under 'forecast': http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/ficheprocedure.do?...

I don't know, but there definitely should be. (Given that we vote for these people, who should at least know what they're actually doing. In any case, the parliament is still in session, (http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/) I hope to hear a bit more about this in the hours to come.

Doesn't the EU Parliament use electronic voting? In which case there should be public records on the EU Parliament website.

Even if it wasn't electronic, it would still be published online (like most parliaments) :)

When I visited the EP recently we were told the speaker just does an eyeball estimate from a show of hands when it's not close. Seemed pretty untransparent.

Nope, 2010. This was a sane resolution, authored by the Greens and other center-left parties, asking for more transparency and putting some limits and sanity checks on the contents of the treaty, and it didn't pass: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION...

I think the parliament did end up voting a similar resolution though.

Here's one earlier resolution that did pass, strictly about the lack of democracy and not the content of the treaty: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION...

There are a few more, but it's confusing because sometimes the votes are only on some paragraphs of the resolution. The paragraphs aren't easily cross-referenced, and I don't know if this kind of vote is final.

There's a full list at www.ehrenhauser.at/assets/ACTA-RollCall.pdf

The best information I can find about who voted how is this, which seem to show that those that voted against where from the UK and the Netherlands. (See separate tab By Country).


Those are the results of a vote back in 2010.

Bah, sorry.

Commissioner Karel De Gucht said recently he'd re-field it until it passed:

> If you decide for a negative vote before the European Court rules, let me tell you that the Commission will nonetheless continue to pursue the current procedure before the Court, as we are entitled to do. A negative vote will not stop the proceedings before the Court of Justice.


That's addressed directly in TFA:

> The European Commissioner responsible for the treaty, Karel de Gucht, has said that he will ignore any rejections and re-table it before the European Parliament until it passes. That’s not going to happen. Parliament takes its dignity very seriously and does not tolerate that kind of contempt, fortunately. This is something relatively new in the history of the European Union’s democracy – the first time I saw Parliament stand up for its dignity was during the Telecoms Package, where the Commission also tried to ram through three-strikes provisions. (Instead, Parliament made “three strikes” schemes illegal in the entire European Union.)

yes, but the article is written by an activist with obvious bias.

Not a bad thing, but TFA isn't authoritative.

Regardless of bias, it is a fact that the Parliament, being a relatively new institution with very vague and weak powers (compared to the Commission and the Council), is eager to pick as many constitutional fights as it can win.

In this sense, the Commissioner's remarks were like a red drape waved in front of a sleepy bull, and were probably the main cause for such an overwhelming rejection.

Never tell politicians that they don't matter; it's the best way to motivate them to prove you wrong.

I suspect De Gucht may have overestimated his influence here. He has also perhaps forgotten that his term of office is not so long and that the European Parliament could even hold up the appointment of the next Commission if it wanted to make a point about abuse of authority. (It did hold up the first Barroso commission in 2004, forcing a reshuffle of which commissioner was given which portfolio, so this is certainly not an idle threat for the Parliament to make, either.)

[Borrowed from a HN comment I made about a week ago on this issue: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4161254]

The man is an idiot in the first place. He's being investigated in Belgium for tax fraud and insider trading. He also has a bad (for a diplomat) habit of speaking his mind, which has got him banned from Congo and has quite a few Jews frothing at the mouth.

His opinion, in other words, is irrelevant. Let him bark. If he doesn't end up in prison of impoverished at the least the EU and Belgian parliaments will get him to pipe down a bit.

But given the overwhelming landslide-class majority by which the measure was rejected I think he'd need to be a grade-A asshat to try it again any time soon.

That was strategically a dumb comment he made, and given the results of the first vote he'd only harm himself politically if he followed through.

Each time he refiled it and it was again soundly defeated it would just make him look increasingly like an ineffectual buffoon.

I'm very happy about this. Not only because ACTA was bad, but also because this shows the views of the parliament were fairly congruent with the views of the public - and that's always a good thing in a democracy.

Of course, the battle ain't over yet.

While this is really good news, and should be celebrated, I'm still asking myself if this would have been approved if a draft wouldn't have leaked. However, we must not rest on our laurels, as I'm sure something else will appear sooner than later to replace ACTA.

A victory of common sense. It's nice to see a logical outcome rather than a sponsored outcome (which is how the US and its intensive lobbying works).

For what it's worth, some of us have been lobbying our MEPs. We just did it the old-fashioned way, by writing to them and asking them not to support this if they want us to vote for them next time.

It will be interesting to see what really killed this agreement. I'd like to think it was a principled stand against conducting negotiations behind closed doors, or an objection to the dubious copyright provisions, or perhaps the implications for supplying medicines to developing nations.

Sadly, I suspect in reality it was at least partly driven by fear of association with politically toxic subjects like SOPA/PIPA. Still, a win's a win, and if the result here is as straightforward as the reports so far imply, hopefully ACTA is effectively dead in Europe now whatever the (unelected) Commission and (unelected) representatives of national governments might prefer.

>Sadly, I suspect in reality it was at least partly driven by fear of association with politically toxic subjects like SOPA/PIPA. Still, a win's a win.

Well, on the bright side, SOPA/PIPA and legislation like these are actually becoming toxic and politically nonviable. Legislations like these will keep popping up like whack-a-mole until they become toxic and seems like we're on our way to achieve that.

A big thank you to those who did lobby!

I concur with the toxicity of the subject.

Unfortunately, as I live in the UK, I suspect that ACTA could reveal itself again here.

I'm in the UK as well, and have similar worries. My own MP (Julian Huppert in Cambridge) seems to be fairly clued up about these technical/IP issues, but I fear he is in a small minority within Parliament as a whole.

There is a certain kind of person -- I'm still not sure whether it's in the political classes or whether it's an ingrained assumption/bias at the top of the civil service -- who keeps supporting harsh IP-related laws. I don't assume that they're doing it out of malice. I think there are good arguments for having a robust IP framework, at least until someone demonstrates anything more effective at promoting creation and distribution of new works.

But at the same time, as a practical matter, there is inevitably a balance to be struck between enforcing someone's IP rights and protecting someone else's rights of privacy, freedom of expression, and so on. I get the feeling that a lot of the briefings used to persuade representatives to vote for these draconian laws aren't paying much attention to the costs in these areas, only to the assumed economic benefits of having a strong IP regime in place. At least if the problem is ignorance rather than malice/corruption, one possible solution is education, and thus I write to my representatives in the hope that at least some of them will listen.

FWIW, I had about a 50% response rate to a letter to 7 MEPs on this subject, although I don't think I should count the one whose letter basically repeated each of my points verbatim but with the words "I understand that..." at the start of each sentence!

> FWIW, I had about a 50% response rate to a letter to 7 MEPs on this subject, although I don't think I should count the one whose letter basically repeated each of my points verbatim but with the words "I understand that..." at the start of each sentence!

3.5 MEPs answered?

Well, technically 5/7 replied, but two were little better than auto-reply e-mails mumbling something about sending a reply later (which never came in either case) so I discounted those to leave 3/7 and called it around 50%.

One of those was the utterly vacuous letter I mentioned, so I think I should discount that one as well.

So really, I got only two substantive replies (for the record, one was from a Lib Dem and the other from a UKIP MEP) that genuinely addressed the issue I'd brought up and explained their position.

Huppert, your MP, even posts on Slashdot from time to time.

He's been known to, though I think he gets slightly more credibility for actually being a real scientist who understands things like evidence and falsifiability. He also has entrepreneurial experience and has worked a lot with Liberty, both of which are relevant to issues like this one.

Unfortunately, there are very few people with such a useful background serving as MPs in the House of Commons today, but an awful lot of people who are essentially career politicians and have never worked outside politics or closely related fields such as journalism.

Cambridge has an elected someone with common sense, an understanding of issues that are relevant and important to British industry and society as a whole?

I know where I'm moving to then.

It's a nice place, bar the epic amounts of students and associated noise and vomit, insane traffic jams, very odd traffic management, chav ridden Arbury, nazi bus drivers, extortionate public transport costs and epic levels of bike theft.

(I spent a good few years living in Cambridge).

Mind you saying that, I live in a rather nice and tidy bit of London near the river and it's just about the same but the cash is better.

Some of us simply voted for the Pirate Party directly. :-)

(You can too. Remember this when it's time for the next election.)

It's not worth it, at least here in the UK. Just vote UKIP/Green.

As someone else pointed out, the concept of Intellectual Property, its goals, and how it is enforced continues to diverge on the two sides of the Atlantic, which is probably a good thing.

This probably comes down to the kinds of democracies. In the US we have a two party system where both candidates are the same in most cases. Do you want to vote pro ACTA or pro ACTA?

Well, the UK (where I'm from) isn't much better. I'd call it 2.5 party system. Two large parties: Labour (centre-left), Conservative (centre-right), and the small Liberal Democrats (centre to centre-left), and the minority parties. But both Labour and the Conservatives keep moving closer to the centre. And quite a lot of issues you wouldn't have any choice on. For instance, same-sex marriage: Do you want same-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, or same-sex marriage?

If you look at how many votes they pick up, there isn't such a wide gap between the top three parties, and several of the minorities take a substantial share too. However, our first-past-the-post system for general elections magnifies any differences. Usually this gives the largest party a disproportionate number of MPs and often an absolute majority. On the other hand, it potentially gives a lot of influence to even very small parties if there is a stalemate between the two largest parties that means neither can form a government alone. So perhaps it's not so much that we have a 2.5 party system, but more that votes count on a very non-linear scale.

Incidentally, I would characterise both Labour since Blair and the Conservatives as being some way to the right on most social and economic issues. It's not yet clear how much Miliband, E. will bring things back to Labour's more traditional left-wing stance. The Liberal Democrats still seem to be quite left-wing in principle, even if they have to temper that to some extent while they are in a coalition government. I'm not sure we really have a mainstream moderate/centre party in English politics today, though obviously none of our major parties are as polarized/extreme as in some places.

Should one of the parties also support slavery just so that you have a choice? Eventually an issue reaches a point where the vast majority of the population supports an issue (such as keeping slavery illegal), and when that happens it shouldn't be a surprise that no parties are against it. I hope and think this is what has happened to the issue of same-sex marriage in the UK.

Oh of course. I'm in favour of same-sex marriage, personally, and I like the fact almost every important party supports it.

I'm just using it as an example of something that there is very little real democratic choice on, however.

Where 'vast majority' can equal 55%. Or not even then - sometimes an issue is not worth fighting over compared to others. Most people want to pay less tax, for example, but politicians of all stripes know that's not feasible, and stick with the minority desire to keep taxes up and focus on other things.

Another thing that politicians are great at ignoring is the general public's disdain for their paypackets. On this issue, even the most brazen shouter of 'my mandate comes from the people' turns to 'this is a delicate issue that the public don't understand'...

I think it will be quite a long time, if ever, that all parties will agree there should be no intellectual property.

I believe that two party is the lesser of your problems. The huge dependence of Congress on lobbyist money is worse. The whole system is basically legalized corruption.

Companies have every right to crack down on copyright infringement.

This is a victory against a piece of legislation that was overreaching, potentially harmful to entirely innocent parties, and could have caused censorship across the internet. A lot of people (mostly reddit users) seem to think that there is now some automatic right to download shit for free whenever you want, and we should be protected by law to be able to do this. That's just greedy entitlement. And that's not what this is about. Everyone deserves to be paid for their work, whether it's you, me or a corporation (which often employs people like you and me anyway). The point in this case, is that authorities went too far down the road of infringement of people's genuine rights in trying to protect corporate profits.

I'm sure there will be those who disagree, but taking other people's work without their permission isn't morally justifiable whichever way you try to spin it. Regardless of who made it. And that's not what we should be fighting for. This is not, and should not be a "victory for piracy". It's about our freedom as individuals not to be treated like de facto criminals by our own governments.

It's easy to rant for or against this. On a flipside:

1. Copyright is deeply broken. It currently extends well beyond any reasonable interpretation of it's original purpose.

2. You can't enter a medium and regulate it so you can do business. The standard rules and metaphors of IP don't apply as well to digital distribution. The easiest way to prevent copyrighted work from being distributed is to not digitize it. Very few books and comics were being illegally downloaded before they started epubing them. But you can't pretend you have the right to a law on medium with a structure counter to that law.

3. "Everyone deserves to be paid for their work" is false. Everyone who does work, which can be sold in the current market, given the current realities of the world, and who price and distribute their product properly should be paid for their work. If I go clean up a public park, I have no right to charge admission. If I build a statue in a public space, I can't charge people to look at it, even if they come from far away to see it.

Everyone deserves to get a part of any profit derived from their work, is a more correct statement.

Your point being?

I never said anything about piracy.

It's strange to live in a world where sanity feels like insanity.

I believe you mean, where the common good triumphs over personal agendas.

IMO, in a democracy, we have only ourselves to blame, it's our indifference that manifests as our leaders' arrogance and ignorance.

An important event for subjects outside intellectual property context. The next time someone has the bright idea to create a treaty in secret, people can point to ACTA as an cautionary tale. It alone is maybe the most important victory from this.

Great, thanks to this thread comments I have realized the only representative "my" party has on the EU Parliament did not vote... but her last bog post says she is happy they wont let ACTA to be approved. I feel... sad

There are other laws that are in procedure with the same dangerous lines: TRIPPS IPRED. Europeans, take care, there's more work to do!

Next up: TPP. Bring it MPAA/Obama administration!

Actually, the government has no idea what's being proposed in the treaties yet the apparent American diplomats are pushing it.


Even though ACTA is dead, I would like to see those 39 that voted for it lose their seat in office over it.

> The European Commissioner responsible for the treaty, Karel de Gucht, has said that he will ignore any rejections and re-table it before the European Parliament until it passes

Is it just me with limited political understanding or is making this claim publicly just an outrageous slap in the face of EU citizens and democracy? Could someone with better understanding shed some light on the processes at hand and how de Gucht could make that statement without instantly being oust from office?

That seems to be how the EU works. They did exactly that when Ireland rejected the Lisbon treaty. Ignored the referendum results and basically told them to go back and vote again, until they came up with the right result.

Also De Gucht was appointed to office, not voted in. There is no democratic way to oust him.

It was also the Irish Government that wanted to re-run the Treaty of Nice and Lisbon (they did it twice!). The Irish political mainstream was entirely behind Nice & Lisbon, and they were sorta suprised at the No vote. Hence they decided to re-run it.

The EU has no problem dropping a member state out if that government wants to not take part. The UK didn't want the recent Fiscal Compact, and was going to veto it. So the rest of the EU (bar UK & Czech Rep.) just went ahead with a different treaty.

Appointed by whom?

EU Commissoners are appointed by member states. Roughly one commisoner per state. The European Parliament is elected by the people. The Council of Ministers is made up of the governments.

Can not be un-appointed, or are they like US Supreme court judges and serve for "life".

They can be removed from office, yes. The European Parliament can even impeech the lot of them.

It's democratic to silence a voice once heard? 'Sorry, we decided on that, it can never be tabled again'? Ignore changing morals, new information?

If there's no limit, you can do trivial DDOS to block ANY decision of EU by corrupting one unelected person, that can only be fired by firing the whole European Commision.

That's begging for decision paralysis. The same problem liberum veto had ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberum_veto ).

I think it's safe to assume when we voted againist sth once, we can ignore it for next 5 or 10 years.

"re-tabling it before the European Parliament until it passes" is completely different from "tabling it again after x years after new information surfaced".

The former suggests pretty much immediate, repetitive, DoS style re-tabling and an intention to force something through despite that matter having been voted AGAINST - the later suggest good democratic processes.

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