EU halts anti-counterfeiting treaty ratification

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BRUSSELS (AP) ? The European Commission, facing steep opposition, is suspending efforts to ratify an international anti-counterfeiting agreement and instead referring it to Europe’s highest court to see whether it violates EU rights.

EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht says an opinion from the European Court of Justice will clear away the misinformation surrounding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, known as ACTA.

De Gucht said Wednesday, “This debate must be based upon facts and not upon the misinformation or rumor that has dominated social media sites and blogs.”

EU officials say ACTA will change nothing in the bloc but the EU must ratify it as an example to other countries. However, opponents fear it would lead to censorship and a loss of privacy on the Internet.