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The European Parliament has overwhelmingly defeated the international ACTA anti-piracy agreement, after fears that it would limit Internet freedom mobilized broad opposition across Europe.

The vote Wednesday was 39 in favour, 478 against, with 165 abstentions.

The defeat means that, as far as the EU is concerned, the treaty is dead — at least for the moment — though other countries may participate. A spokesman for the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, said it may try again after it obtains a court ruling on whether the agreement violates fundamental EU rights.

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Supporters said ACTA — the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement — was needed to standardize international laws that protect the intellectual property rights. Opponents feared it would lead to censorship and a loss of privacy on the Internet.

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