The INTA committee in the European Parliament, which is the responsible committee for ACTA, will shortly come to a vote. Live updates here.
The committee session starts at 10:00 in room JAN-4Q1 in the European Parliament. It will give the final recommendation to the European Parliament on how to vote in the final vote in 13 days.
12:34 - (End of liveblogging session. This page will not update further.)
12:33 - I will publish a longer article about today’s events in about an hour.
12:31 - Last question from the press – press conference is ending.
12:28 - The press conference room is full, with people standing in the back again. The press is starting to ask (relevant!) questions – the room is acting as if ACTA is a done deal now, disregarding the fact that the European Parliament still has its plenary vote to go. The discussion feels like a post-mortem of just exactly where the crazy train was driven off the nearest cliff.
12:19 - EPP representative plays down rumors of EPP gunning for a secret vote in INTA. “That’s not how it should be done.”
12:10 - EPP: It appears that the Polish EPP delegates voted against ACTA, breaking party lines.
12:09 - Andersdotter concludes with a healthy dose of reminder that today’s copyright/patent regime is an active impediment to the next generation of entrepreneurs and industries in Europe. More people need to hear that.
12:07 - Amelia Andersdotter is applauded from the audience, as the first speaker getting that treatment.
12:06 - “This was the first time that the citizens of Europe won against combined forces of big industry and the Commission. Epic, really.”
12:06 - Amelia Andersdotter (Greens/EFA, Pirate Party). She talks about access to medicine, and weaves in the three pillars of the Swedish Pirate Party. She moves on to bash the Commission’s lack of respect of Parliament in the most eloquent and unmistakable ways.
12:04 - “Thanks to participatory democracy, and citizens who voiced their concerns about this agreement, we canow go in a different direction.”
12:02 - EPP: “We are going to lose a lot of time and put people at risk of counterfeit products where they’re working if we ultimately reject ACTA…” How does that work with ACTA not changing any laws whatsoever?
12:00 - Now, a representative for the EPP group, explaining their desire for ACTA’s passage. “ACTA as it stands needs to be clarified and improved.” Yes, except that wasn’t possible. Smoke and mirrors.
11:59 - Still can’t move my left foot without searing pain.
11:59 - “Second lesson: Parliament needs to be better at engaging with citizens.”
11:57 - “First lesson: This vote proves that the European Parliament is definitely perceptive; it is definitely hearing the voice of citizens.”
11:55 - Rapporteur David Martin is sitting next to Amelia Andersdotter (Pirate Party MEP) on stage, talking about the benefits of “intellectual property”. Something tells me the entire stage doesn’t agree with that. Martin ends with a brilliant conclusion, though; “In the end, [we decided that] civil liberties should win over intellectual property.”
11:53 - “I think it is quite telling that nobody put forward an alternative to adopt ACTA. The only alternative was to reject or postpone. What this shows is that ACTA was a political decision, and not a legal one.”
11:52 - The rapporteur, David Martin, opens and thanks everybody involved in the process so far. “I welcome particularly the active involvement of citizens, who have been highly involved in this dossier.”
11:50 - Press conference starts. “The committee decided today to recommend the rejection of ACTA, with 19 votes in favor [of rejection] and 12 votes against.”
11:49 - If I were still in the military, I’d know exactly how to bandage my foot right now. But I don’t have any bandages… (It’s not broken, is it? Hurts terribly.)
11:48 - Now in press conference room, where the rapporteur on ACTA (David Martin) will be giving comments on the INTA committee approving his opinion. On the way there, I sprained my left foot and ankle badly – I hope I’ll be able to get through the day despite the pain :/
11:37 - “Could I ask the journalists to leave the room…” the room is in disarray. Moving to press conference room.
11:35 - The recommendation to reject ACTA PASSES, in a 19-against-12 vote! WE WON! WE WON!
11:34 - The final vote remains, and there appears to be some major confusion as to the results of the vote on the amendment that just happened.
11:33 - WE WON IN INTA!
11:33 - Amendment three is re-voted, and it is rejected 19 to 12. WE WON!
11:32 - It is now clear that INTA will recommend a REJECTION of ACTA with a safe margin!
11:31 - AMENDMENT THREE FAILS, 13 VOTES FOR AND 19 AGAINST! This, however, is 32 votes, one too many.
11:30 - “If amendment three is adopted, the final vote on ACTA is suspended until the European Court of Justice has given its verdict. If it is rejected, we go to a final vote.”
11:30 - Amendment procedures have started. Amendment one (yes to ACTA) was just WITHDRAWN. As was number two. There’s only one amendment – postpone ACTA.
11:29 - ACTA COMING NOW.
11:29 - People are not just standing along the back of the room now, but also along the sides of it. I count four TV cameras from where I’m sitting (Jerezim counted six, but I can’t see the entire room), in addition to the eleven (!) TV cameras built into the room itself.
11:25 - “Establishment of instrument for stability”, six amendments. Still not ACTA.
11:19 - Still not ACTA, but voting is proceeding at a breakneck pace on a large number of other items. ACTA is last in today’s session.
11:14 - “Establishing rules and procedures for the European Union’s instruments for something something external actions”. Voting on amendments. In other words, still not ACTA.
11:13 - Ok, so the live page is updating. All set for today’s main attraction: ACTA coming up any minute now.
11:12 - Test – do I have enough bandwidth, here?
11:11 - Still not voting on ACTA.
11:03 - Bandwidth is becoming scarce in the room, indicating that we’re approaching today’s main attraction.
11:02 - Another item. Still not ACTA. 58 amendments.
10:57 - 31 votes in a vote right now. A lot of stirring in the room. It appears another MEP with voting rights has joined the session, upsetting the vote balance AGAIN!
10:57 - “We are approaching the end of the session…” INTA votes on an item with 57 amendments right now, didn’t catch which one, but obviously not ACTA as it has three or two amendments – two if MEP Fjellner (EPP) has retracted his amendment to recommend acceptance of ACTA, as he told media.
10:53 - INTA session continuing. Still not ACTA. When ACTA arrives, there will be voting on amendments first, and then on the final, possibly amended, report. All amendments must fall for INTA to recommend a rejection of ACTA.
10:48 - By “another vote just appeared”, I should clarify: it was not a random extra vote, as before, but another Member of European Parliament with voting rights actually entering session.
10:47 - Another vote just appeared in INTA, changing the ACTA vote balance! It’s one of the non-inscrits, one of the groupless Members of European Parliament. I did not catch his name. This vote is now completely up in the air.
10:46 - “One person too many was voting, there. It’s like a crime story – whose vote is extra?” Recurring theme.
10:44 - I’ve been told that the EPP group tried to disqualify one vote count from the S&P group. One ordinary member was prevented from voting, and when this happens, reserves from the party group take their place – this is standard procedure. However, the EPP argued that the reserve would not be allowed to vote in stead of the ordinary member, and that S&P would have one vote less. This parliament can really be kindergarten level sometimes – such disrespect for democracy would never happen in places like a high school student council.
10:41 - Media is everywhere in this INTA session, and people are standing in the back. Yes, the session room has run out of seats – this kind of bureaucracy practically never draws attention otherwise.
10:39 - According to @EuroparlPress, the ACTA vote will come around 11:00, around 20 minutes from now. However, this is far from certain and determined – it will come whenever the previous items are finished.
10:36 - The list of amendments on the still-upcoming ACTA vote is here, in LQDN’s summary. We see that amendments one and two, if adopted, change INTA’s recommendation to a “yes”, and amendment three calls for a postponement of the ACTA decision until the European Court of Justice has decided on the treaty’s legality. Thus, no amendments on ACTA must pass; the rapporteur’s draft opinion must be passed as written.
10:26 - Yet ANOTHER vote interrupted because the EPP group had one vote too many. I did not track on which session item, but there’s a clear pattern here. That was the third time today.
10:25 - Still not voting on ACTA. Some big-business industry group had gotten to the session entrance and put up big posters about how industry organizations comprising 120 million European jobs (this number climbs fast!) support ACTA passing.
10:23 - The pace of voting is ridiculously fast. “Amendment two, those in favor, those against, abstentions, carried. Amendment three, those in favor, those against, abstentions, carried.”
10:18 - The number of people voting are varying quite a bit. Another proposal (still not ACTA) just passed by 29 votes to none. I’ve been told that it’s supposed to be 14 INTA delegates in favor of ACTA and 14 against in session.
10:16 - Ok, I was confused by the rapid pace of the voting here. We are not voting on ACTA yet; it is the final item of the day.
10:14 - The final vote on a random item (not ACTA) was re-made AGAIN, with one too many EPP votes, and then passed 25 against 2.
10:12 - An amendment to a random report (not ACTA) passed with a 16-13 vote, but was redone. The chair is now pointing out that there are too many EPP members voting. After a re-vote, the amendment passed 17-10.
10:10 - Voting has started. The chair warns of a long list of items today. ACTA is last.
10:08 - The session starts. The chairman addresses some media formalities for the session, and reminds the press that there will be a press conference 15 minutes after the vote [on ACTA, presumably]
10:07 - The live video broadcast from this session is right here. Unfortunately, it appears to be Windows-Media only, so it doesn’t work on Android.
10:04 - There is a live broadcast of this meeting for those who prefer following video. I am trying to find it; Google-fu with “INTA committee video european parliament” should be a starting point. Despite being past 10:00, the meeting has not yet started.
10:01 - Jeremie Zimmermann from La Quadrature du Net is also here in the room.
09:59 - The voting margins are harrowingly narrow, and nobody knows which way INTA will lean. One thing is clear – INTA does not care at all about the recommendations of the previous committees (ITRE, DEVE, JURI, and LIBE); this issue is far too high-profiled to vote on somebody else’s recommendation. But that sword swings two ways: that also means that INTA’s recommendation today will be next to meaningless, being little more than a half-time indication of what the plenary majority looks like, rather an actual recommendation with weight. Still, it draws enormous interest.
09:56 - What we can expect from today is that the conservative and big-business party groups (ECR and EPP) will attempt to recommend a postponement of the final vote on ACTA until after the European Court of Justice has given its final opinion, thus delaying the final vote by about two years. Nobody knows if an INTA recommendation of postponement means an automatic postponement by the European Parliament as a whole: as usual, the ones deciding that are the ones interpreting the rules, and the ones interpreting the rules are the ones who are politically strongest for the time being.
09:53 - On location in the INTA room, JAN-4Q1. I can’t recall having seen a room this full 15 minutes ahead of the session start time before.
(Updates are streamed – no need to refresh.)