EU rejects anti-counterfeiting treaty

July 4, 2012 at 4:46 PM
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BRUSSELS, July 4 (UPI) -- The European Parliament rejected a treaty aimed at protecting intellectual property by an overwhelming margin Wednesday.

Only 39 members of the body voted for ratification of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, The Guardian reported. There were 478 votes against the treaty, and 165 abstentions.

The vote means other countries like Japan and the United States can observe the treaty but European states do not have to, for the moment. A spokesman said the European Commission will seek a court ruling on whether the treaty violates human rights and might then seek another vote if the court rules it does not.

Critics said the treaty could limit freedom of expression. David Martin, who represents a Scottish district in the European Parliament, recommended rejection in his report on the treaty, the newspaper reported.

"The treaty is too vague and is open to misinterpretation," Martin said. "I will always support civil liberties over intellectual property rights protection in the EU."

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