ACTA Supporters In Europe Fighting To The Bitter End

from the what-a-cliffhanger dept

As Techdirt has reported over the last few months, the passage of ACTA through the European Union’s approval process has been little short of extraordinary. At the end of last year, ACTA seemed almost certain to be approved without difficulty. Then, inspired by the Internet community’s success in stopping SOPA, European citizens woke up to ACTA’s problems and took to the streets in huge numbers.

The first ACTA rapporteur resigned, and the second later came out firmly against ACTA. The main European political parties announced their opposition to ACTA, except for the largest, the EPP Group. More recently, five out of five European Parliament committees recommended that the European Parliament should reject ACTA in the plenary vote on ratification.

That final vote is scheduled to take place this Wednesday, and the surprises keep on coming. First, we had a rumour that the right-of-centre EPP Group would ask for a secret vote, but that never happened. Then today we heard that the EPP Group would be asking for a postponement of the ACTA vote until after the European Court of Justice has given its verdict on the compatibility of ACTA with the European Union’s treaties. That decision probably won’t be handed down for a year or two, so this was plainly a delaying tactic. It was believed that the call for postponement would come at the meeting setting the agenda for the coming week, but once more nothing happened.

And then, unexpectedly, the the EPP Group posted the following message on its Twitter account:

#EPP‬ will ask during tomorrow’s debate on ‪#ACTA‬ for a postponement of the vote until we have ECJ’s ruling.

It’s not entirely clearly under what procedure the EPP Group will do this, although Jérémie Zimmermann from La Quadrature du Net suggested it might be under Rule 177 : Adjournment of a debate and vote, of the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament.

However, there are also some rumors that the EPP Group is divided over whether it should attempt to postpone the vote – understandably, since it would be a huge slap in the face of the European electorate if this procedural trick were used to put off a decision on ACTA for a year or two.

So, it’s still not really clear what will happen tomorrow once the plenary session of the European Parliament begins. Or rather, one thing is clear: that the ACTA battle is by no means over, and that the EPP Group is fighting desperately to stave off defeat in the final vote on Wednesday.

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Comments on “ACTA Supporters In Europe Fighting To The Bitter End”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Ok, looks lke this Christofer Fjellner MEP guy is a big part of the problem somehow.. He campaigns on issues of free trade and managed to wrangle his way to become the EPP rapporteur on ACTA..

He’s obviously bought and paid for by someone.. There’s even some open letters to him from various groups explaining why ACTA’s bad and he still twitters;

“I don’t understand some political groups’ position who are unwilling to wait for #ECJ legal opinion before voting on #ACTA” @fjellner #EPP
? EPP Group (@EPPGroup) July 3, 2012

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Actually it is closer to: If ACTA is rejected, there is a very good chance Australia will not ratify, making New Zealand reject it too and you are left with a US fighting for ACTA in the court (procedural issue) and the rest not wanting to ratify without at least the US. In other words: ACTA might die internationally if EU rejects ACTA now.

If EU postpones it will be a prolongued postponement in Australia and New Zealand, while the US is suing US and the rest postpones untill either US court kills ACTA by sending it to the house and senate or EU votes on it again in ~4 years as Karel de Gucht has promised.

[citation needed or GTFO] says:

A final battle to a neverending war...

Despite any optimism I should be having, I’m going to predict that there will be an upset somewhere. Whether this upset will be for or against ACTA, at least half of the world is going to be pissed off.

Now if only the TPP can be destroyed the same way…

BTW, although ACTA and TPP are the ones we’re focusing on, have there been any other acronyms that have been flying under the public radar that should be brought up?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

to Cerberus

the hope is that if the vote is delayed, there will be more time for those against ACTA at the moment to be transformed (read that as bribed) to become supporters or a lot of proponents will get fed up and just not bother to vote so the yes-men will get their way. the tragedy is that this type of behaviour should even be tolerated at such a high level of politics. if the situation were reversed, there would be such a shit storm it would never get off the ground but in typical US government and entertainment industries form, they will do whatever it takes to get people jailed for doing next to nothing and gaining complete control of the internet, which once got will never be given up!

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

well, there are exceptions, but if the system is working properly and not massively corrupt, yeup.

(seriously though, in most representative democracies if it’s a good idea you’re going to have to use tricks to get it passed because a LOT of stupid, greedy people will try to derail it otherwise due to it not serving their own self interested agenda.)

Dave Levy (user link) says:

The European Right and ACTA

The EPP is the major centre right wing political group. With the exception of the UK’s Tory party the major Christian Democrat and non socialist parties are members of it. There are two further right wing groups, you can characterise them as you wish, but the UK Tory led ECR may well support the EPP as one of their members moved an amendment at the Justice? committee to postpone until the Court ruling.

Who knows how the far right nutters and the more measuered nationalists will vote; this may be bad news. I have always felt that the right’s elected majority may be a serious problem in killing ACTA.

If you are a citizen with MEPs in the EPP, I suggest you write to them, particularly if you voted for them. The best chance may be to take any split in the EPP to the Pariamentary Vote. Best do it now.

Beech (profile) says:

Bright side

Well, as obnoxious as the delaying tactic is it at least shows that the EPP fears the public maybe just a little bit. If the US had to have a democratic ratification of the treaty like we were supposed to we probably could have had the entire country protesting outside of congress, and the congress critters would wade right through us, ACTA would sail through, and they’d all fight over who gets to make sound bytes about, “No no, we really know whats best for you. Now go back home, and stop on the way there and buy some stuff.”

maclypse (profile) says:

Same old..

I’d like to believe we can shoot ACTA down, and that in the long run we can put an end to the increasingly over-zealous patent and copyright laws.

Honestly though, I don’t think the politicians or the general public will get the point without a minor revolution. A total boycot of the entertainment industry with billions in losses monthly, coupled with 20% of the votes for the pirate party might suffice.

I may be excessively negative, but despite everything that’s going on these days, there’s pretty much a media blackout on the topic of IP, copyright, patents and the damage done while trying to protect them. Maybe the publishers are biased and keep it out of the papers? Maybe they just don’t see the problem? Who knows?

Anonymous Coward says:

the most frightening things to me are

a)what is in ACTA that has made these people so desperate to get it passed?
b)what have they promised and/or been promised if they get ACTA passed?
c)how can any elected officials be allowed to act in such a disrespectful manner to the EU and the people with no action taken against them? no one else would be allowed to act in such a dictatorial way without facing severe consequences!
d)how can elected representatives of the people treat them with such contempt?
e)when are the entertainment industries going to be stopped from using any and every means available just to forward their aims and desires when they are to the detriment of everyone else?

anon says:


I just think it is not fair that an agreement that took many years to develop can be stopped in it’s tracks by normal people emailing.

Seriously it costs millions to get an agreement like this to the point of being voted on, all the bribes and job offers that are going to disappear if this does not pass , How can people sleep at night knowing that if this does not pass people who have used the system all there lives to generate wealth for themselves are going to have to find another way to do things, not to mention the money that has been donated to various people to promote this and lie about who it affects and how it affects them.
This is sad that the public is allowed to use there power of size to prevent a law, how are businesses supposed to pass laws now if money does not matter any more.

I think a law needs to be passed that prevents the public from lobbying, it should only be those people that benefit from a law that can lobby otherwise all those bribes and “donations” are going to be meaningless and businesses are going to be destroyed and terrorism is going to explode and and and dogs are going to howl all night and kids are going to cry and cars are going to crash …i mean the world is going to pieces of the public use there right to lobby to stop laws being passed, it should only be those that “understand” the laws that should be allowed to lobby.
Those people that have paid enough and got enough contacts and know who will accept bribes and who accepts donations.

Damn the world is going to pieces if the people actually have a say in what laws are passed.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

OK, how does this work?

From the article:
“ACTA BACKERS of the European People’s Party will likely abstain from any vote on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) treaty in the European Parliament this week…
The EPP could possibly force a postponement, and Fjellner added that the party could ask “for the vote to be referred back to committee”.

Source: The Inquirer (

Perhaps someone from Europe could enlighten me on this one. Fjellner seems to be indicating that if all the members of the EPP suddenly vanish during the vote being taken, mass emergency call to the loo or whatever, that the EPP may delay or postpone the vote? Or am I reading this wrong?

So they’re all lined up at the urinals? Vote anyway!

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