Update 2: Statement from UKIP added to the end of the article.
Update: Three Netherlands MEPs have changed their vote, leaving UKIP as the ONLY party that supports ACTA.
Opposition to the secret ACTA treaty is spreading like wildfire. Today the members of the European Parliament had their say, as on a resolution against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, arguing that it flouts agreed EU laws on counterfeiting and piracy online. MEPs will go to the Court of Justice if the EU does not reject the leaked proposals which include draconian powers to censor the internet and disconnect net connections.
The result was a massive landslide in favour of open government and internet freedom. 636 MEPs were on the side of freedom, and just 10 voted in favour of ACTA.
I can now name and shame those 10, people who were elected to represent us, but who want us to be governed by a secret worldwide clique where the RIAA call the shots and politicians are too scared to tell the public what they are signing us up to. The list in full is:
- Nigel Farage (United Kingdom, UKIP)
- Marta Andreasen (United Kingdom, UKIP)
- Stuart Agnew (United Kingdom, UKIP)
- Gerard Batten (United Kingdom, UKIP)
- John Bufton (United Kingdom, UKIP)
- Trevor Colman (United Kingdom, UKIP)
- The Earl of Dartmouth (United Kingdom, UKIP)
- Mike Nattrass (United Kingdom, UKIP)
- Paul Nuttall (United Kingdom, UKIP)
- Nicole Sinclaire (United Kingdom, UKIP)
Just 16 politicians couldn't make their minds up and abstained. They include:
- Diane Dodds (Northern Ireland, Democratic Unionist Party)
- Nick Griffin (United Kingdom, BNP)
- Andrew Henry William Brons (United Kingdom, BNP)
I am, quite simply, disgusted.
If those names make you feel ashamed to be British, you can do something about it right now. Join the Pirate Party UK, make a donation, come forwards as a candidate for us. Make sure your voice is heard.
The Pirate Party UK's press release:
Pirate Party UK supports MEP calls for ACTA openness, condemns UKIPToday marks a change in tide for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), as MEPs once again aligned with Pirate ideals to vote in favour of fully transparent negotiations. In a landslide 636-10 decision, the European Parliament threatened the Commission with legal action if MEPs continued to be kept in the dark. EU negotiators will now be forced to go cap-in-hand to the ACTA negotiating table to obtain other delegations' agreement on full transparency. The United States have a well-documented stance against transparency in the treaty's negotiations, and as a result may very well end up stalling ACTA indefinitely. Pirate Party UK leader Andrew Robinson said, "This is a great day for the principles of freedom and democracy, but I am quite simply disgusted that the majority of the opposition to open, accountable government comes from our own country." This is not the first time that MEPs have called for openness in these proceedings -- having voted not once, but twice against the secretive nature of the talks -- but these resolutions have, up until now,been ignored by the EU's negotiating team. Now however, it seems that the Commission will have to listen. It's not only national Pirate Parties that have been critical of ACTA's secrecy. Criticism has been rife,and has flooded in from all walks of life, including academia, the telecommunications industry, civil rights groups, and web mega-corporations such as Google. Only 13 MEPs voted in favour of ACTA, 10 of them members of UKIP, elected to represent this country, but choosing instead to support a worldwide treaty they have never even read, negotiated in secret beyond the reach of democracy. There some particularly interesting aspects to the motion against ACTA:
- An affirmation that so-called "three strikes" laws will be forbidden, in accordance with theParliament’s decision on Article 1.1b in Directive 2009/140/EC (championed by Piratpartiet's MEP, Christian Engström).
- A strong statement against searches and confiscation of devices such as laptops, cell phones and MP3 players by border and customs authorities.
- An emphasis that privacy and data protection are core values of the European Union.
- Full text of the motion
- Voting record (PDF; see page 30)
- Reaction of Christian Engström, Pirate Party MEP: "Epic win."
A UKIP representative has asked for a right to reply, and I am happy to add this statement from them:
"Whilst we as a group voted against the ACTA Resolution on Wednesday 10th March 2010, we did so on the principle that the ACTA Treaty itself should not exist in any form. It is a catastrophic violation of individual private property. Had we voted to support the Resolution, we would be recognising the existence of such legislation and on that basis we decided not to recognise the Treaty."