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European Parliament All But Rejects ACTA 248

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the actaing-out-loud dept.
An anonymous reader writes "European Parliament today adopted Written Declaration 12/2010 which basically tells the Commission to all but drop the negotiations. From the article: 'Citizens from all around Europe helped to raise awareness about ACTA among Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) by collecting, one by one, more than 369 [of the MEPs'] signatures. With Written Declaration 12/20103, the European Parliament as a whole takes a firm position to oppose the un-democratic process of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), and its content harmful to fundamental freedoms and the Internet ecosystem.'"
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European Parliament All But Rejects ACTA

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  • About Fucking Time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @10:50AM (#33509168)
    EU has been impressing me lately. They seem to actually care about good governance sometimes. That's one hell of a lot more than I can say about the USA and the "land of the free".
    • by jvillain (546827) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @11:04AM (#33509330)

      The EU blows hot and cold but there are times that I am very grateful that they have the back bone to stand up to the US. Our prime minister has taken over from Blair as the one who gets on his knees and blows who ever is in the White House.

    • by Hylandr (813770) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @11:14AM (#33509472) Homepage

      EU has been impressing me lately. They seem to actually care about good governance sometimes. That's one hell of a lot more than I can say about the USA and the "land of the corporate free reign".

      Here, let me fix that for you...

      - Dan.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        I'm not convinced the EU did this for good reasons, or for their OWN corporate overlords (like they did when they sued Microsoft in order to protect the EU-based Opera). Recall that the EU corporations would actually be damaged by ACTA, which primarily exists to protect the US TV/music industry. So naturally the EU corporations would oppose its passage, and press the MEPs to oppose it too.

        This is EU corporations fighting back against US corporate protectionism.

        Then again, perhaps I'm just too cynical.

        • by Nursie (632944) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @11:57AM (#33510036)

          That's some mighty fine cynicism there. But I can't find much to pick at. Opera seems a bit small-fry for that sort of a concerted effort though. Hmmm.

        • by dotwaffle (610149) <slashdot@walst e r . o rg> on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @12:13PM (#33510222) Homepage

          Opera is based in Norway. Norway isn't part of the EU.

        • by sznupi (719324)

          That doesn't fit at all how the EU "goes after" primarilly local companies abusing the market. You just hear about cases of overseas / from you place ones more.

        • by X.25 (255792) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @03:40PM (#33513236)

          I'm not convinced the EU did this for good reasons, or for their OWN corporate overlords (like they did when they sued Microsoft in order to protect the EU-based Opera).

          EU sued Microsoft in order to protect Opera?

          Whatever it is you are smoking, I'd like some. Thank you.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mjwx (966435)

            EU sued Microsoft in order to protect Opera?

            Just like the EU sued Shell (Dutch) under the same laws to protect...

            Wait, can I start again.

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @11:19AM (#33509544) Journal
      The USA is the land of the free. The free are very happy there, and they have a ready supply of serfs to keep them that way.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by skine (1524819)

      Some people are freer than others.

      Sadly, corporations now have the rights of people.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yes without most of the responsibilities that go with it.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @11:31AM (#33509678)

        without any of the obligations...

        Taxes? pass them on to customers.
        Service? Who do they draft?
        License fees? pass them on to customers.
        Liability? We bought laws to protect us from our own greed and sins.

        All the *priveleges* without any of the responsibility.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I am usually proud to be american, but when we get our head up our ass its really up there.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Nursie (632944)

        Hey, if there's one thing about the USA it's that when you go for something you really go for it. Other countries have surpassed you in the number of fat citizens but nobody, and I mean nobody, just up and goes for it like your fat folk. Same for head-up-assness.

        I'm sure there are non-negative examples too... like the space program, hell, back when it was a race the USA decided to damn the consequences and make a concerted push. It's a good quality, albeit with unintended consequences.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @11:33AM (#33509718) Journal
      The EU parliament does. But make no mistake, it is the brain of dinosaur. The bureaucracy below is an example of wasted resources and corruption.
    • Now just watch (Score:5, Insightful)

      by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @11:58AM (#33510048) Homepage

      Now let's all just watch the commission ignore the requests of the parliament. Unless it's really not important at all, of course.

      Power in the EU is not with the parliament, but with the commission. Even after the treaty both executive and legislative power remains with the commission, and they threw in a part of the judiciary to match.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nickco3 (220146) *

        Power in the EU is not with the parliament, but with the commission

        Actually the most powerful body in the EU is the Council of Ministers, which made up of serving European government ministers and very much in the euro-driving seat in recent years.

        However, the European Parliament does have the power to reject or amend international trade agreements, which ACTA would appear to be.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Spad (470073)

        The EU Parliament can still overrule the Council of Ministers with a 2/3 majority vote and history has shown that they're willing and able to do so when the COM try and go against them on big issues.

      • Re:Now just watch (Score:5, Informative)

        by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @08:14PM (#33515844) Journal

        Power in the EU is not with the parliament, but with the commission.

        This used to be the case, but is not true [wikipedia.org] anymore, for almost a year now [wikipedia.org].

    • by erroneus (253617)

      I tend to think that younger government bodies tend to be more idealistic in nature. The U.S. seems to have started that way before greed settled in then for reasons I cannot comprehend, it became open season on the native american and the american bison among others and people of the time seemed perfectly comfortable with it.

      Give the EU some time and it will also degenerate into something we can hate. There is lots of big industry looking for ways to grow and the way they do that is by getting or prevent

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        >>>The U.S. seems to have started that way before greed settled in then for reasons I cannot comprehend,

        The Northeast (federalists) wanted to protect their growing business interests (mills, fishing) and during the 1790s quickly setup the central bank and other instruments that were unconstitutional, but also not answerable to the people, and held a great deal of power to favor the early corporations.

        One could argue the "greed trend" dates as early as the 1780s when the Constitution gave authors an

        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @03:01PM (#33512688) Journal

          We are wiser to stick with the precepts of Natural Law, with few excursions. Does nature give to human beings a monopoly over their ideas? No. Therefore neither should humans have a monopoly in Man's Law - let ideas by liberated after a reasonable time (say one decade).

          I'm used to your posting complete nonsense, but this is hilarious. Natural law means that the strong prey on the weak. Predators feast on whatever they can catch. If you really believe that this is a good way to build a civilisation, then I presume you won't object if someone stronger than you decides that the world would be better off without you in it. Or is that one of your 'few exceptions'? In which case, you are one of the 'Libertarian Communists' that another poster referred to recently - you want a strong society to protect you and a weak society to protect everyone else.

          • by theaveng (1243528)

            ...Natural Law is nonsense...

            Okay well if you don't want to listen to C64 Guy, listen to Thomas Jefferson instead. I dare you to call his idea "nonsense". He had an estimated IQ of 160 (the typical college grad is only 109):

            "If nature [aka Natural Law] has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself. But the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of ev

    • I agree, but the thing that worries me is that I don't really understand WHY the EU has been making such seemingly rational and sound decisions.

      I worry that someone will trip up a janitor somehwhere and a chain of events will be set in motion that will result in the EU parliament insisting that black people wear flashing LED hats and women can only breathe every second minute of the day. And that dogs can only bark on Tuesdays.

      I just wish there was a sound basis for their soundness of behaviour.

  • Now that we know where Paradise is, when do we leave?
  • by Svenne (117693)

    Really? They couldn't be bothered to count more than 369 signatures?

  • A democratic institution representing the desires and best interests of it's electorate?
    What gives?

    • by butterflysrage (1066514) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @11:10AM (#33509416)

      quick! to the Liberation-mobile!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sznupi (719324)

      In the end, representation generally does happen, in a way - it's just that what individual members of a given society claim they want and value, and what the society actually promotes in the system of governance, are not necessarily the same thing.

      Personal anecdote time: during uni I had one roommate from a place which will remain unnamed, but is generally one of impoverished & corrupt ones - at the time we were also watching on the BBC a major unrest there, revolving around electoral fraud. Of course

      • Re:Wait, what? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by dachshund (300733) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @01:53PM (#33511718)

        But what was he doing? Studying & living blissfully in a relatively expensive place, financed by his family at home in the position of public authority, on a curse leading to a diploma which will be useless (just for a paper; while cheating) - but with a position in a public institution at home virtually assured after his return.

        Minus the cheating bit, your description could really apply to any somewhat privileged middle-class Western individual. In that sense it probably covers you, me, and the vast majority of Slashdot posters as well.

        It sounds like your issue with this gentleman is the fact that he's enjoying his status on the backs of his own less-fortunate countrymen, while blaming their problems on someone else. But don't kid yourself that you're somehow morally superior to the guy. Those of us who are lucky to be born into a wealthy country are basically doing the same thing, we're just doing it on the backs of some other country's less-fortunate folks (and many of our own countrymen too).

    • Re:Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JohnBailey (1092697) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @11:18AM (#33509536)

      A democratic institution representing the desires and best interests of it's electorate?
      What gives?

      Too many people to effectively bribe.

    • Re:Wait, what? (Score:4, Informative)

      by daem0n1x (748565) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @11:59AM (#33510066)

      The European Parliament is usually a reliable entity with good sense. That's why there are so many rulings that allow the hateful non-elected European Commission to go over their heads in many issues. I wouldn't be surprised if the EC just ignores the Parliament and signs an agreement with the US to apply ACTA here.

      After all, it's presided by a jerk called Barroso, that went from Maoist troublemaker in the 70s to free-market right-wing super-bureaucrat. He avidly supported the invasion of Iraq when he was the Portuguese Prime Minister and licked Bush's ass until his mouth turned brown. Strangely he was rewarded a job as head of the Commision in spite of being a spineless ass-licker that embarrassed and ashamed us Europeans, and specially us Portuguese.

      Another ass-licker, Tony Blair, nearly won the job of President of European Council, but this time the outrage was too much for the Euro Dickhead Bureaucrats to sweep under the rug.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      I like to think "democracy", ie. the fast growing Pirate Party and subsequent loss of votes.

  • by Scorch_Mechanic (1879132) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @10:57AM (#33509264) Journal
    Now that the EU has "all but rejected ACTA", how likely is this to impact the enactment of this blatantly evil trade agreement in the US of A? Speaking as a concerned citizen of the US, can I breathe a little easier now, or is there more that still needs to be done to grind this horrible blight on the internet out of existence?
  • Now all we can hope is that the US government decides its a bad idea as well. And while I'm wishing for the impossible - I'd like a solar powered corvette and world peace.
    • Re:good (Score:4, Informative)

      by game kid (805301) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @11:36AM (#33509780) Homepage
      I was about to say "don't forget office sex with your pantsuited, bespectacled busty redhead secretary", but you already used your three wishes. :(
      • Re:good (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Nursie (632944) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @12:03PM (#33510114)

        Is it Christina Hendricks? 'cos I would totally take back the other wishes. All of them.

      • by russotto (537200)

        I was about to say "don't forget office sex with your pantsuited, bespectacled busty redhead secretary", but you already used your three wishes. :(

        Not to worry, with the solar-powered Corvette he should be able to find an acceptable substitute.

        • I was about to say "don't forget office sex with your pantsuited, bespectacled busty redhead secretary", but you already used your three wishes. :(

          Not to worry, with the solar-powered Corvette he should be able to find an acceptable substitute.

          Well said. Plus I've already dated a redhead. The scars are healing nicely.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Huh? Isn't the US government the one behind it? They're hardly likely to drop it...

  • Further details... (Score:5, Informative)

    by petaflop (682818) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @11:02AM (#33509314)

    The 369 signatories (377 now) are all MEPs (members of the European Parliament). 369 is significant because it is a majority of the eligible votes.

    The linked page is just one of the relevant pages - you have to follow the links on the left to get at the rest. Here's a couple of interesting pages:
    http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/Written_Declaration_12/2010_signatories_list [laquadrature.net]
    http://www.laquadrature.net/en/ACTA [laquadrature.net]

  • Source? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cf18 (943501)
    Can we get a better source than a wiki page that anyone can edit and was last updated on March 8th?
  • Now that Europe has more or less said FU to ACTA, can/will Canada and Mexico drop it too?

    • no.
      Canadian politicians are lemmings: OMG, don't want to rock the boat. until they've been in 6+year in parliament, they have no balls or leave with the pension.

      Mexico is no better. If they would have any balls they would have legalized drugs just to get rid of the anarchy they have now.

      • by Ironhandx (1762146) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @11:32AM (#33509708)

        That analysis isn't quite right as Stephen Harper(current PM) has done a fair bit of boat rocking with his far right agenda etc. That asshole has undone some 30+ years of relative progress in just a few short years.

        He is very willing to bend over for any US agreements however. Mostly because he's busy pointing at the US(the southern US in particular) as an example for Canada to follow, as though thats a good idea. He slacked up on that part however after their economy collapsed and ours mostly just dipped and leveled out rather than collapsing.

  • This isn't over? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spliffster (755587) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @11:17AM (#33509528) Homepage Journal

    As a European I am glad to read this. However, I am no sure if this is over yet. The cynic in me says: there wasn't enough money flowing to some representatives or some representatives want to advance their own agenda a little bit more. I guess it is time to negotiate behind closed doors a little bit more until we reach an agreement.

    • by Halo1 (136547) <jonas.maebe@elis.[ ]nt.be ['uge' in gap]> on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @12:08PM (#33510162) Homepage

      Repeating the standard pub arguments about politics is not the same as "insightful", mods.

      The whole ACTA thing is already being negotiated behind closed doors. It's unlikely that anyone is trying to bribe MEPs at this point since the European Parliament is not directly involved in the negotiations itself, and the European Commission is trying its best to keep them as far as possible from the negotiations. Not to mention that it's pretty hard to bribe that many individual MEPs with so many different political backgrounds and nationalities so as to block a written declaration from passing. It would be one of the most expensive and idiotic strategies ever.

      And of course MEPs do this because it advances their agenda: they don't want to be kept out by the European Commission from negotiations like this only to be presented with a fait accompli later on. Well, that combined with the fact that several of them also don't like the inclusion of patents in it, and all the stuff about cutting people's Internet access for copyright infringements is also not very popular there [edri.org].

      Note that I'm not saying that it *is* over now. However, that is unrelated to any alleged bribery or selfishness.

  • A big THANK YOU to all the MEP's who signed this. Way to grow a spine. Let's all hope ACTA dies the brutal death it was always destined for.

  • Just empty talk (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Unfortunately, the EU Parliament is a pitiful powerless entity and "Written Declarations" are just words without substance. The EU Parliament site describes what a Written Declaration is: (http://www.europarl.europa.eu/activities/plenary/writtenDecl.do)

    "A written declaration is a text of a maximum of 200 words on a matter falling within the European Union's sphere of activities.
    Written declarations are printed in all the official languages, distributed and entered in a register.
    MEPs can use written declarat

    • Amen. Not to mention that the EU has a history of bending over backwards for lobbyists [wikimedia.org], evil Orwellian shit [telegraph.co.uk] and selling out its citizens' privacy to foreign nations [wikimedia.org].
      So this declaration feels less like "Oi! Stop drafting that treaty!" and more like "Oi! Stop drafting that treaty without giving us a chance to add some juicy bits!".

  • Reading the text, I'm worried that the European Commission will be able to argue that the current process is already complying with those demands.

    There's a lot of "You can't do X unless it complies with existing EU law!" or "This better not have side effect X!" - to which the European Commission could say "Ok, we're already obliged to comply with EU law, so that changes nothing, and of course we've no intention to cause side effects, so let's continue and sign this thing.".

    I'd love to see a document showing

  • Common sense in politics?
    Wasn't the end of the world said to be in 2012? ;)

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