ACTA, the global trade agreement that threatened to create serious problems for the open internet, is dead in the EU. The European Parliament voted on the matter today though there were some concerns that the vote would be postponed.
The majority of votes were against the agreement, 478 parliamentarians. Only 39 voted for the document to be ratified and 165 abstained.
ACTA, or the anti-counterfeiting trade agreement, was designed as a global agreement to stop counterfeiting but, crucially, to also deal with copyright issues.
If it went through, the countries adhering to it would have had to make changes to their copyright laws and introduce several worrying additions in the vein of those proposed by the US SOPA and PIPA bills.
The US, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea signed the treaty last year. The EU along with 22 member states signed it too in January this year.
However, the treaty had to be ratified by the European Parliament. It is yet to be ratified in any of the countries that signed it.
Things looked to be going smooth at that point, but then something happened. The people rose up against SOPA and PIPA in the US in a way that was never seen before. After those threats were fought off, the public's attention turned to ACTA which had been flying under the radar until that point.
Criticism in Europe mounted and people took to the streets in several countries. The protests signaled the obvious, didn't like ACTA. That's when political support started dropping as well. Still, until the vote today things were far from clear cut.
The treaty's lobbyists started to talk about postponing the vote, for a year or two, hoping perhaps to be able to sneak it through once people got bored with the issue.
On paper, ACTA is not entirely dead, the countries that signed it could still go ahead and ratify it. But there is growing sentiment against it in other places as well. In fact, the only place where there hasn't been too much criticism is the US. But a trade agreement with just one country isn't much of an agreement.