Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Standing up for online freedoms – European Parliament Trade Committee rejects ACTA

The European Parliament’s Trade Committee has voted against the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Agreement (ACTA) as a recommendation for the whole Parliament to reject the deal during its session in July 2012. The committee voted by 19 votes to 12. No member of the committee abstained.

Liberal Democrat MEP for South-East England Catherine Bearder commented after the hotly contested vote:

“Liberal Democrat MEPs take the issue of copyright and counterfeiting very seriously as property rights – including intellectual property rights – form the basis of our economy and also help prevent dangerous counterfeit products, such as medicines, electronics and toys from entering our markets.

“However, the ACTA negotiations have been marked from the beginning by an unnecessary lack of transparency and wider consultation and a potential attack on the fundamental civil rights of individual internet users. On balance, concerns with regard to civil rights outweigh the limited benefits of ACTA, to which even major countries known for their counterfeit products – such as China – have not subscribed.

Catherine also expressed disappointment that UK Conservative MEPs tabled an amendment to delay the vote on ACTA until after a ruling by the European Court of Justice on its legality. Once this amendment was rejected by 12 votes to 19, the Conservatives unsuccessfully voted in favour of ratifying ACTA. It is a great shame that we could not count on Conservative MEPs to reject ACTA. It is up to Liberal Democrats in the UK and in Europe to defend our fundamental civil rights. That’s why we voted against ACTA.”