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European Parliament Hands ACTA Anti-Piracy Accord Stunning Defeat



In a bitter defeat for large media and pharmaceutical companies, the European Parliament on Wednesday roundly rejected the global ACTA anti-counterfeiting accord. The Guardian reports that the US and Japan are likely to proceed with approval of the international accord, and it remains to be seen whether European supporters try to revive it.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was negotiated among officials in large Western nations for the purpose of establishing international standards for intellectual property rights enforcement. It was chiefly aimed at strengthening the battle against counterfeit medicines, and to coordinate repression against illegal Internet downloading.

The text of the agreement became a bête noire for digital liberty activists and patients using unapproved drugs, including anti-AIDS medicines. A movement spread across Europe to oppose ACTA, convincing some governments of EU member states not to ratify the agreement. The European Parliament voted 478 to 39 (with 165 abstentions) to reject the provisions.

The European Parliament's decision was welcomed by activists and politicians across Europe:

The French Pirate Party, the organisation supporting the liberalization of copyright and patent law tweeted:

Citizens' victory against the ACTA treaty in the European Parliament.

PartiPirate ‏@PartiPirate

Victoire des citoyens contre le traité #ACTA au Parlement européen

Former French Presidential candidate:

Good news for the democratic system: the European Parliament has just rejected ACTA.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon ! ‏@melenchon2012

Bonne nouvelle pour la démocratie : le parlement européen vient de rejeter #ACTA.

Spanish website Cultura Ahora tweeted :

The European Parliament rejects the antipiracy treaty.

Cultura Ahora ‏@Cultura_Ahora

La Eurocámara tumba el acuerdo antipiratería #Cultura #Eurocámara#Acuerdo #ANTIPIRATERÍA #ACTA #Questionity

It is game over according to Pablo Romero, Madrid-based journalist who tweeted:

The "antipiracy" treaty has been definitively rejected by the EU Parlement.

pabloromero ‏@pabloromero

Game over: El Parlamento Europeo tumba de forma definitiva elacuerdo "antipiratería" #ACTA

On the Romanian version of the EU Parlement's account :

Final vote on ACTA: the European MPs rejected the treaty by 478 votes against, 39 in favour and 165 abstentions.

Parlamentul European ‏@Europarl_RO

Vot final asupra #ACTA la #PE: eurodeputații resping acordul cu 478 voturi împotrivă, 39 pentru și 165 de abțineri

There was also some winks of satisfaction from the United States, which was celebrating the July 4 Independence Day. Noting the reports on the same day about the Swiss-British discovery of the Higgs boson "God Particle," Global Voices founder Ethan Zuckerman had this much to say:

Ethan Zuckerman‏@EthanZ

ACTA defeated, Higgs Boson found (maybe) - perhaps US should take a day off more often?

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Look At This Crap! The "Enshittification" Theory Of Why The Internet Is Broken

The term was coined by journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the fatal drift of major Internet platforms: if they were ever useful and user-friendly, they will inevitably end up being odious.

A photo of hands holding onto a smartphone

A person holding their smartphone

Gilles Lambert/ZUMA
Manuel Ligero


The universe tends toward chaos. Ultimately, everything degenerates. These immutable laws are even more true of the Internet.

In the case of media platforms, everything you once thought was a good service will, sooner or later, disgust you. This trend has been given a name: enshittification. The term was coined by Canadian blogger and journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the inevitable drift of technological giants toward... well.

The explanation is in line with the most basic tenets of Marxism. All digital companies have investors (essentially the bourgeoisie, people who don't perform any work and take the lion's share of the profits), and these investors want to see the percentage of their gains grow year after year. This pushes companies to make decisions that affect the service they provide to their customers. Although they don't do it unwillingly, quite the opposite.

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Annoying customers is just another part of the business plan. Look at Netflix, for example. The streaming giant has long been riddling how to monetize shared Netflix accounts. Option 1: adding a premium option to its regular price. Next, it asked for verification through text messages. After that, it considered raising the total subscription price. It also mulled adding advertising to the mix, and so on. These endless maneuvers irritated its audience, even as the company has been unable to decide which way it wants to go. So, slowly but surely, we see it drifting toward enshittification.

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