The European Union parliament soundly defeated the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The margin of the defeat was quite large. 478 voted against the bill and 165 abstained while only 39 voted in favor of the bill.
A conservative party in the parliament tried to postpone the vote until after the European Court of Justice had ruled whether the act poses a threat to civil liberties. The agreement has already been signed by Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea,. New Zealand and the United States as well as the EU and member states. Some of these signatories may now decide to jettison the deal or try to renegotiate it.
Oxfam claimed that ACTA could very well make life saving drugs very costly for those in poor countries:.
"ACTA could have made life-saving drugs much costlier for the world's poorest, resulting in devastating consequences for their health. With Europe's rejection, we're now hugely relieved that ACTA is going nowhere," What is represented as necessary for free trade is of course usually the opposite. Key to free trade and ensuring that markets do not interfere with monopoly rights are intellectual property rights such as patents.
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, who represented the bloc in ACTA negotiations said:
"With the rejection of ACTA, the need to protect the backbone of Europe's economy across the globe, our innovation, our creativity, our ideas - our intellectual property - does not disappear," While some claim that ACTA is dead it will no doubt arise again from its ashes. Monopoly rights not free markets are crucial to modern capitalism's profitability. Free markets are defended for ideological purposes and to argue against economic policies that the most powerful capitalist bodies do not like. For more see this article.