European Parliament Votes Down Acta
By an overwhelming vote of 478-39, the European Parliament has rejected ACTA, the anti-counterfeiting trade agreement that has been signed by 23 countries and was strongly backed by the Motion Picture Association of America. The rejection of the agreement came following numerous public protests, most especially demonstrations in Ukraine, Poland, the U.K. and the U.S. On Wednesday, EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht suggesting that the matter will be taken up a fourth time. "Today's rejection does not change the fact that the European Commission has committed itself to seeking answers to the questions raised by the European public," he said, according to the BBC. "The European Commission will continue to seek the legal opinion of the European Court of Justice on whether this agreement harms any of the fundamental rights of European citizens -- including freedom of speech." Among its provisions, ACA requires signatories to outlaw any program or device that circumvents encryption, such as those that can bypass DMA coding on DVDs to allow them to copied, and it requires them to impose laws that would award monetary damages to victims of intellectal propert theft such as studios and record companies.