European Commission drops court challenge of ACTA legality

The EU puts a stake in the anti-piracy treaty, which can 'no longer come back from the grave'

The European Commission has finally killed ACTA, the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, by withdrawing its bid to have the treaty's legality confirmed.

ACTA was rejected by the European Parliament in July following widespread protests across Europe. The treaty had been agreed to and signed on behalf of Europe by the European Commission in January 2012.

But as civil liberties groups raised the alarm, many countries backpedaled on their decision to sign. The major sticking point was the digital chapter, which opponents said would leave the door open for countries to force ISPs to police their customers.

In April, the European Union's top data privacy watchdog, the European Data Protection Supervisor, criticized the treaty, which was meant to combat piracy, warning that it could lead to widespread monitoring of the Internet.

In order to appease opposition to the treaty, Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, asked Europe's top court, the European Court of Justice (ECJ), to rule on whether it breached freedom of expression under E.U. law.

After anti-ACTA protesters accused E.U. leaders of stalling, the Parliament decided to vote on the treaty without waiting for a court decision, rejecting it 478-39.

But even after ACTA was rejected by the Parliament and could not become E.U. law, De Gucht held out hope that a positive response from the EJC would allow him to reintroduce it.

The Commission's announcement that it was withdrawing its request to the ECJ, was greeted with delight by those who had worked to defeat ACTA.

"Withdrawal of ECJ referral of ACTA shows that citizens were right, and that Commissioner DeGucht was wrong and lying," tweeted Jeramie Zimmerman of the digital liberties group La Quadrature du Net.

Meanwhile, European Parliamentarian David Martin, who had advised his colleagues to reject ACTA, said that he was pleased ACTA could "no longer come back from the grave in Europe."

And it appears that the international agreement is also dead elsewhere. It can only enter into force if ratified by six of the remaining 10 signatory states: Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, the U.S. and Switzerland. So far only Japan has ratified it.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags intellectual propertycopyrightlegalEuropean Court of JusticelegislationgovernmentEuropean Parliamenttrade

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?