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.
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.
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.
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
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...
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
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.
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 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.
> 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.
> 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.)
Not a bad thing, but TFA isn't authoritative.
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.
[Borrowed from a HN comment I made about a week ago on this issue: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4161254]
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.
Each time he refiled it and it was again soundly defeated it would just make him look increasingly like an ineffectual buffoon.
Of course, the battle ain't over yet.
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.
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.
I concur with the toxicity of the subject.
Unfortunately, as I live in the UK, I suspect that ACTA could reveal itself again here.
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!
3.5 MEPs answered?
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.
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.
I know where I'm moving to then.
(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.
(You can too. Remember this when it's time for the next election.)
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.
I'm just using it as an example of something that there is very little real democratic choice on, however.
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'...
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.
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.
I never said anything about piracy.
IMO, in a democracy, we have only ourselves to blame, it's our indifference that manifests as our leaders' arrogance and ignorance.
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?
Also De Gucht was appointed to office, not voted in. There is no democratic way to oust him.
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.
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.
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.