updated 11:20 am EDT, Mon April 16, 2012
ACTA may be rejected outright if Euro advice taken
The US' attempts to push the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) were dealt a possible hit after new European Parliament rapporteur David Martin published (PDF) a recommendation that the representatives for European Union's member states reject the bill. Echoing the same sentiments that led his predecessor to quit in protest, he saw the "vagueness" of the bill as being overreaching. Whatever advantages it would have in clamping down on piracy would be "far outweighed" by curbs on civil rights, Martin said.
Parliament had already voted in 2010 that it would never allow ACTA if it required a three-strikes rule, or the mandatory disconnection of users if their connections are found trading in pirated copies three times. Language of the proposed treaty has since been softened.
While EU countries have signed ACTA, they can't make it law without Parliament approval. A recommendation against ACT could negate all of the signatures and leave a major hole in ACTA with just North America, Japan, and South Korea as the core areas covered. One of the largest sources of counterfeits and piracy, China, isn't part of the treaty.
Some of the exact details of ACTA have been kept secret and have partly fueled distrust of the measure, as many suspect the US knows it would face widescale public opposition if ACTA negotiations were made public. The agreement is widely thought to have been orchestrated by movie and music labels trying to protect legacy business models through an international deal that would not only supercede local laws but make it difficult to contest the agreement if they later object. [via The Telegraph]