A European Parliament committee has advised parliamentarians in Strasbourg to reject the online anti-piracy bill ACTA. They will vote on July 4. Opponents say the bill infringes on people's privacy.
A special committee has called on the European Parliament to reject the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, better known as ACTA. The panel was divided on the matter, 19 parliamentarians opposed the anti-piracy bill and 12 supported it.
The advisory committee's decision is not necessarily binding - the real vote is scheduled for July 4 - but the European Parliament in Strasbourg usually follows the advice of such groups.
Germany is one of five EU members not to have signed up to ACTA so far, along with Cyprus, Estonia, the Netherlands and Slovakia; a rejection in the European Parliament would render ACTA invalid throughout the bloc.
Most European countries approved the deal in January, with other signatories around the world including the United States, Japan, Australia, Canada, South Korea and Singapore. The deal has come under heavy public criticism, however, with critics alleging that the deal does more to constrain individual privacy than to prevent piracy.
ACTA's influence on the online world has become the focus of the controversy, though the bill is in theory far broader. It is also meant to establish stricter standards to protect intellectual property rights, targeting things like counterfeit goods and non-licensed generic medicines.
msh/sej (AFP, dpa)