A petition drafted in opposition to the draconian Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has ended up in the hands of the European Parliament, and it has a lot of signatures.

We are impressed to see that 2.5 million people have signed the Avaaz petition that asks that ACTA be rejected. The size of the protest, and no doubt the weight of the petition, has surprised the European Parliament, where the general reaction is that they must take the decision much more seriously now.

"Receiving a petition supported by more than 2 million people places an even bigger responsibility on us to listen to the European people and offer them a place to express their views to the European institutions," said Petitions Committee chair Eminia Mazzoni.

Responsibility for considering ACTA has only just landed at the European Parliament's feet, and in its statements it said that it had to consider both sides of the argument. The other being that ACTA is a force for good, a sentiment that comes out from media firms and rightsholders.

The Parliament must now decide whether the petition is admissible and should be included in its discussions.

The Petitions Committee will decide this in mid-March, after which time it will hold discussions with the petitioners, experts, the European Commission and other stakeholders. Then, if it listens to the people of Europe, it will reject ACTA.