On 26 January representatives of 22 EU countries signed the ACTA Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement in Tokyo. However, the agreement cannot enter into force until approved by the European Parliament - so, what's next?
The aim of the ACTA agreement - between the EU, the US, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Switzerland - is to strengthen the enforcement of intellectual property rights, including online, and to help combat counterfeiting and piracy of goods including luxury brand clothing, music and films.
The European Commission published its latest proposal on 24 June and the Trade Committee has been given responsibility for guiding the legislation through parliament. The Development, Civil Liberties, Legal Affairs and Industry committees will also have a say.
Only after the proposal is discussed and voted in the committees, can it be discussed and finally voted in plenary.
Before taking a final position, the EP will meet experts, representatives of civil society and other concerned parties, to ensure all opinions and concerns are heard. An assessment by external experts is already available via the link to the right.