Yesterday was the 4th of July but it also marked another independence day of sorts. The European parliament voted resoundingly against adopting ACTA (by 478 to 39 votes with 165 abstaining). ACTA you may recall was an attempt to create a new global intellectual property rights regime that would dramatically extend the rights of copyright holders everywhere. ACTA was conceived behind closed doors and kept secret for a long time, which isn’t surprising given its content. After the defeat of PIPA and SOPA in the US, ACTA became the target of activism in Europe. That activism led to a tremendous turnaround in which many countries individually and now Europe as a whole went from supporting to defeating ACTA. ACTA is now down but not quite out yet. There are still some smaller countries that might sign up to it and in the US the approach to ACTA to date has been to adopt it under executive power as a treaty instead of holding a congressional vote. Also still in the works here is the equally secretive and equally bad Transpacific Partnership or TPP. We should all encourage our representatives to look into ACTA and TPP and require that theses agreements be put to a congressional vote. In general it would seem to be a good idea to roll back executive power here and I am planning to read Rachel Maddow’s new book this summer which seems highly relevant in that regard.