ACTA is completely, finally, no-turning-back dead-and-buried in Europe, with the European Commission admitting that there is “no realistic chance” of the treaty being adopted in Europe.
The frank assessment of the future of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement was made as the EC withdrew its request that the European Court of Justice examine the treaty’s compatibility with European law.
Earlier this year, the European Parliament rejected the treaty, so the reference to the court was already largely a moot point.
While some provisions of ACTA could have been viewed as benign – for example, provisions trying to protect against fake drugs – activists had complained that its copyright provisions were too draconian. In particular, provisions that criminalized circumventing digital rights management were criticised.
The EU's decision to shun ACTA will do little to advance the agreement's prospects, with other nations less-than-enthusiastic about signing it off. Australia’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, for example, had recommended that ratification of the treaty be delayed, something rejected by the federal government. In November, the government stated that it expected an analysis of the costs and benefits of the treaty by the rapidly-approaching end of 2012. Australia’s government still maintains that ACTA does not require laws introducing any new criminal sanctions, something still queried by activists.
So far, only Japan has actually ratified the treaty. ®