David Martin Scotlands Senior MEP gets support of the European Parliament to kill ACTA
The highly controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will not come into force in the European Union after the plenary of the EU Parliament in July rejected the ratification of the international agreement.
David Martin, who is Scotland’s senior MEP and author of the crucial Parliamentary Report, said:
‘ACTA is now dead in the EU thanks to the support of the European Parliament for my Report.
‘I am very pleased that the Parliament has followed my recommendation and rejected ACTA.
‘The Treaty was too vague and is open to misinterpretation. I will always support civil liberties over intellectual property rights protection,’ explained Mr Martin.
This is a historic day in terms of European politics. For the first time the European Parliament has used the powers granted by the Lisbon Treaty to reject an International Trade Agreement. The Commission and the Council will now be aware that they cannot expect blind support from the Parliament, which represents and defends citizens’ rights. This vote represents true democracy in action and the coming of age of the European Parliament.
‘We regret that the EPP (the Conservative Grouping in the European Parliament) has consistently disregarded people's concerns and the advice of the Parliament on ACTA's challenge to fundamental rights,’ claimed Scotland’s most experienced European MP. ‘They tried to bring secrecy and delay to this vote until the very last minute. Fortunately we were able to build a strong majority and defeated their call for a postponement.’
On a positive note Mr Martin said: ‘Now it is time to look forward and tell the Commission that we are willing to work hand in hand to fight counterfeiting wherever we find it. This time the Commission must act with public opinion and find a new approach to copyright issues. They can be dealt with separately and at a later date and after further consultation.’
Reflecting on the long sorry saga David Martin judged: ‘ACTA was wrong from the start. It was negotiated in secret, and tries to put together incomparable elements in the same Treaty; incompatible elements such as counterfeit goods and on-line copyright.
‘On top of that, the lack of clarity sparked fears among internet users and many experts alerted us to the risks for fundamental rights – we listened and acted accordingly.
In conclusion, Mr Martin stated: ‘We need to learn from this sorry mess, we need to listen to the people, we need to start again from scratch. We want to fight counterfeiting and we are willing to start working as soon as possible on a good solution one our voters are comfortable with.
What is ACTA?
* The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is an international treaty aiming to standardise copyright protection measures.
* It seeks to curb trade of counterfeited physical goods, including copyrighted material online.
* Preventative measures include possible imprisonment and fines.
* Critics argue that it will stifle freedom of expression on the internet, and it has been likened to the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa).
* Acta has been signed by 22 EU members, including the UK, but is yet to be ratified by the European Parliament.