Good news everyone! The Dutch parliament has just officially rejected ACTA. In addition, parliament has also accepted an additional motion which prohibits the government from signing similar agreements in the future. It was originally the plan to wait for the ACTA vote in the EU parliament, but a majority in the Dutch parliament felt that ACTA was too dangerous not to throw into the bin right away, EU vote or no. I’m not exactly sure what this means for ACTA as a whole, but it’s my understanding that if one member state votes against ACTA – which we just did – it’s effectively dead in the EU.
Dutch parliament officially rejects ACTA
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2012-05-29 3:47 pmJokel
The Dutch parliament also agreed to a motion to reject all “ACTA-like” agreements in the future.
That means every “workaround” to get something “ACTA-like” accepted will be rejected.
No work-arounds this time. How this works out in practice will remains to be seen, but at thins moment it is a big win.
2012-05-29 4:12 pmcfgr
If I’m not mistaken, this is only for the current legislation. After the next elections, government is open for business again. It would scare me if a government can prevent future governments from voting for something.
2012-05-29 5:06 pmrexstuff
It’s not even for the current legislation; I don’t know about Dutch law, but I know that over here, no court will honour legislation preventing future legislation. If necessary, they can simply appeal the current law and enact a new one.
2012-05-29 4:23 pmMOS6510
That’s a law they can change if they have enough votes and given enough reason. And that’s the problem with laws, we tend to assume that they are facts, but they’re just variables that can change.
We also have a net neutrality law and a judge ordering the blocking of The Pirate Bay. I’d like to see the numbers of the result of that, because I doubt it stopped people downloading a single bit (slight pun intended).
I guess it needs some European laws, they aren’t so easy to get rid of I assume.
2012-05-29 5:18 pmshotsman
Sadly, an EU Directive will trump any nationally enacted laws.
Directives are (AFAIK) approved by the Commissioners and NOT subject to votes in the Parliament.
If I’m wrong I am sure that Thom will correct me.
2012-05-30 5:38 ambdpedersen
It’s a bit more complex than that. Yes, a directive will trump national law, but the commision cannot force it through on its own. It will need to pass both the European Parliament and the the council. Every country have a veto in the council in matters like this.
2012-05-30 7:22 amcyrilleberger
Every country have a veto in the council in matters like this.
Not really, until 2014, the rules of the treaty of Nice are applied, which require an unanimous vote on most topics, except for the “European Economic and Social Committee”, and ACTA belonged to that commitee, which follow the rules of qualified majority voting complicated system. With the treaty of Lisbon, every decision is taken with a more simple (but still complicated) qualified majority voting system (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualified_majority_voting for more details).
However, based on experience government have been usually very favorable to ACTA-like policies in the past, meaning the Council is not really our hope. But the European Parliament is usually anti-ACTA-like policies, its agreement is required for a directive from the “European Economic and Social Committee” (and after Lisbon is active, on everything else).
However, it does not prevent any member state to enact ACTA-like laws. To prevent this to happen, we would need a directive that specifically says that forbid ACTA-like laws, but, such a directive is unlikely to ever exists, since directives are written by the European Commission, which is definitely in favor of ACTA-like policies.
Edited 2012-05-30 07:23 UTC
2012-05-30 7:28 amcyrilleberger
Answering to my self… One important point to note is that the main reason why government where pushing ACTA was the secrecy around it. Since the treaty was discussed behind closed door, the general public was unaware of what was going on, also, when the treaty goes in front of the parliament, it become a simple vote “yes” or “no”, without discussions on modifications. Very convenient.
However, if ACTA-like laws were to be voted individually by countries, then those laws would be discussed in the public places, and I would guess they would be much harder to pass.
I see what you did there Thom Zoidberg!!
All laws in the EU at national or EU level must comply with the European Convention on Human Rights. If they don’t the governments are required to change them.
It pisses off British governments no end and I am very glad about it. They seem only too keen to take rights away.
ACTA may well of fallen foul of it and if so it would have to of been removed.
Edited 2012-05-30 22:49 UTC
Congratulations to the Dutch! However, this is just the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. Even if ACTA is rejected at the European level some countries will likely introduce similar legislation under pressure from the USA. These will most likely be the newcomers to the EU. I live in such a country and there already are proposals for changes to the copyright laws which basically implement ACTA. Rough times ahead.
The forces behind ACTA are still alive and will find another way to get what they want.
We need some water tight laws that prevent any ACTA like crap from even having a chance of getting implemented.