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EU Halts Copyright Treaty Ratification

Euro banknotes and coins in open cash register at a shop in Olching, Germany.
The European Commission is suspending efforts to ratify an international anticounterfeiting agreement and instead referring it to Europe's highest court to see whether it violates EU rights.

EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said the European Court of Justice will be asked to clarify whether the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) complies with "the EU's fundamental rights and freedoms."

The agreement has so far been signed by 22 EU member states.

However, several countries, including Germany, Denmark, Poland, and the Czech Republic, have backed away from the treaty amid public protests.

Opponents of ACTA fear it would lead to censorship and a loss of privacy on the Internet.