European Union efforts to ratify the international Acta "anti-piracy" treaty looked dead in the water today after the EU parliament voted 478-39 against it with 165 abstentions.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which seeks to shore up intellectual property "rights," has been signed by a number of wealthy countries but ratified by none.
It was unanimously agreed by EU heads of government in December but cannot become EU law unless all 27 member-states formally approve it.
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said he remained keen to force through the treaty and would wait for a ruling by the EU Court of Justice on whether it curtailed "fundamental European rights" before making his next move.
"It's clear that the question of protecting intellectual property does need to be addressed on a global scale," Mr De Gucht said.
But Scottish Labour MEP David Martin said: "No emergency surgery, no transplant, no long period of recuperation is going to save Acta. It's time to give it its last rites."
The controversial treaty was launched by countries including the US, Japan and Australia to strengthen international copyright and patent law.
But it has been condemned by critics for restricting internet freedom and seeking to clamp down on generic medicines in use in the developing world, forcing impoverished countries to pay through the nose for expensive patented drugs to treat HIV/Aids and other illnesses.
When EU bosses approved it in December protests erupted in several European cities, while an anti-Acta petition has been signed by over 2.8 million citizens of member states.