Today Lib Dem MEPs, and the group they sit in in the European Parliament (the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe), announced that they are killing the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Because they've done so, there's now a majority in parliament against ACTA, which means that it's as good as dead.
This is a good thing because, despite the name, ACTA would have done very little to stop counterfeiting as it wouldn't have included China and other developing countries where most counterfeit goods are produced. On the other hand, it would have done all sorts of other nasty things - such as:
- Limiting the access of developing countries to cheap generic medicines.
- Breaching EU data protection laws
- Endangering privacy and freedom of expression whilst spoiling innovation and distorting competition.
"We have had a very close look at ACTA because the protection of intellectual property rights is important for our knowledge-based economy and for our consumers who need to be protected from potentially dangerous counterfeit products such as toys, medicines and electronics.So, three cheers for Lib Dem MEPs. Great to see them standing up against illiberal and regressive plans. Now if only we could get Clegg to do the same...
"On balance, however, ACTA falls short on too many fronts. First, it does not include many emerging economies, such as China, which are the main sources for counterfeited goods. Second, according to the European Data Protection Supervisor, ACTA would allow 'indiscriminate or widespread monitoring' of internet users without providing sufficient safeguards. This is why Lib Dem MEPs have decided to pull the plug on ACTA"