EU Digital Agenda commissioner admits ACTA is probably dead

No SOPA and no ACTA likely says an EU policy maker

A European Commissioner for the first time said openly on Friday that the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is more or less dead in the water.

"We are now likely to be in a world without SOPA [Stop Online Piracy Act] and without ACTA," Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a speech to bloggers and Web entrepreneurs in Berlin.

ACTA is an international anti-piracy agreement that was signed by the European Union, the U.S. and nine other countries in January. It will enter into force after ratification by six of the signatory states, but so far none have done so. In the E.U., the deal must be approved by the European Parliament before it can become law.

Following widespread protests across Europe, which Kroes described as "a wake up call," most E.U. parliamentarians look set to vote against ACTA at a plenary session in June or July. The main concern with the accord relates to the digital chapter, which would allow countries to force ISPs to hand over information about their customers' online activities if they are suspected of breaching copyright.

In an effort to appease critics, the Commission, which negotiated the agreement on behalf of the E.U., has asked the European Court of Justice to rule on whether the deal is compatible with E.U. law. Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht has urged the Parliament to delay voting on ACTA until after it has ruled. But, as observed by Kroes on Friday, that seems unlikely to happen.

The top digital agenda policy maker also criticized "out-of-date rules and practices -- like those on copyright licensing. Of course, changing for the digital age doesn't mean always giving material away free of charge. But it does mean we need to be open to new approaches," she said.

"We need to wake up and smell the coffee," said Kroes advocating a free and open Internet. "But that is not the same as being a lawless wild west."

Last month, the independent European Data Protection Supervisor said that ACTA lacked precision about what measures could be used to tackle infringements of intellectual property rights online and could result in a processing of personal data by ISPs that goes beyond what is allowed under E.U. law.

Kroes comments on Friday indicate that at least some policy makers within the Commission also accept that the deal is dead.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?