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“Today, the European Parliament has buried once and for all the ACTA treaty,” the statement said. “For the French Socialists, the vote marks the first and foremost a new inter-institutional balance of power, with the active participation of citizens in the European debate.”

But copyright holders were, as Martin said, mourning the treaty’s demise. A release on behalf of Europe’s “creative industries,” saying it represented 130 trade federations representing sectors employing over 120 million workers, bemoaned Wednesday’s vote, saying it would damage Europe’s economy.

“The decision on ACTA is a missed opportunity for the EU to protect its creative and innovation-based industries in the international market place,” the statement said. “Intellectual property rights remain the engine for Europe’s global competitiveness and a driver of economic growth and jobs. In the current economic climate, it is particularly crucial to protect these beyond the EU itself.”

Alan C. Drewsen, executive director of the International Trademark Association, was particularly critical.

“Europe could have seized the chance to support an important treaty that improved intellectual property standards internationally,” Drewsen said. “We expect that ACTA will move ahead without the EU, which is a significant loss for the 27 member states.”

The failure to ratify the treaty is a humiliation for the European Union, which was one of the prime movers in the multi-year effort to negotiate the agreement. EU officials had maintained that ACTA would change nothing in European law, but would be simply an instance of the EU leading by example and exporting its strong copyright protection laws to other countries where safeguards are weaker.


Don Melvin can be reached at