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Archive for February, 2010

A now very self-confident Trade Committee INTA of the European Parliament cratered the European top ACTA negotiator Luc Devigne from the Commission DG Trade (Wed 24 Feb 2010). Devigne took the interesting legal position that only their “EU negotiation position” has to reflect the acquis, not the scope of the ACTA negotiations as a whole. In particular, there is are no adopted criminal sanctions as part of the “acquis communautaire”, yet. Devigne previously took a maximalist position and said that it was upon member states to limit competences of the negotiations. The “Acquis Communautaire” is the corpus of law harmonized by the EU, and in the field of criminal law there are strong objections of member states to harmonize national criminal laws on the EU level. So while ACTA negotiations comprise criminal measures there are no harmonized criminal measures in the EU, thus formally the Commission lacks competence. It is a “technical” surprise to me, that the Council seems to believe that participation of few particular member states in the negotiations is a functional workaround. Unfortunately the Council refused to disclose the negotiation mandate of the Commission.

Chair

  • Short introduction

Luc Devigne, Commission DG Trade

Daniel Caspary, Conservatives

  • We don’t get enough information
  • Where is the European interest (as opposed to the United States)?
  • We don’t have EU level criminal law, so how can it be negotiated?
  • Post Lisbon Parliament of Equal Footing -> member represented

Bernd Lange, Socdem

  • Lisbon treaty: what happens? Insufficient level of information? Parliament involved?
  • De Gucht promise. Interinstitutional agreement?
  • Where is the info? Transparency?
  • Restriction use on the internet discussed under ACTA.
  • New Zealand leak
  • Can Com guarantee that regarding you won’t take the same approach as in the Telecom package.
  • Internet “free access” should be the principle

Martin

  • Enforcement, not … — guarantee needed that we don’t have to change the acquis.
  • Transparency lack –> suspicion
  • Summary published, but it is rather a sketch
  • Expect Commission to join the call for transparency.

Catherine Bearder, ALDE

  • Secrecy concerns
  • Consolidated negotiated text, deadline for comments, deadline 12 March, but we haven’t seen it.
  • Lesson from SWIFT
  • When are we are going to see the text, please?

Syed Kamall, ECK

  • We all see importance of IPR, different positions
  • How affect civilian and border control
  • non-physical products.
  • transparency, vacuum does not help, access to documents.
  • unintended consequences of legislation
  • “better regulation”, we want an “impact assessment”.

Carl Schlyter, Greens

  • Why IPR criminal measures? Why not criminal on environment??
  • How can you be sure that we don’t have to change the law.
  • Crime to record movie screenings?
  • Crime to remove interoperability on DRM content?
  • Does the agreement say, countries may exclude or shall exclude?
  • If you are suspected of rights breaches…
  • Gets right holder access to infringing items? What effects on business espionage?
  • Disable content access without prior to court ruling?

Luc Devigne, Commission DG Trade

  • Industry EU/US interests: All IP right benefits the EU industries. All industries benefit, no national differences. (rem: There should be national differences, this is e.g. a base for TRIPS “trade-related” provisions. Devigne basically makes a case that ACTA is not within his trade portfolio, and reveals his simplistic “maximalist” mindset)
  • International negotiations: parties around the table argue that their negotiations position should not get revealed. (rem: EU is governed by Art 15 TFUE citizen’s access rights but uses “international affairs” exceptions, media leaks claim that European participants denied the US call for more transparency, all negotiating parties seem to blame domestically the others for the lack of transparency)
  • Stricly followed the rules, new rules negotiated
  • Weird, lobbyists have document: We don’t share documents with lobbyists.
  • Full respect: what is not in the Acquis will not be in the EU position
  • We have de minimis rules in our position
  • Criminal sanctions not harmonized. This is why they will not go beyond the acquis(???)
  • Past informations
  • We are asked about things which don’t exist. We cannot give what is not existing.
  • We are not going beyond any Acquis and fundamental rights

Carl Schlyter, Greens (angry)

  • Please answer my concrete questions.
  • YES or NO.

Daniel Caspary, EVP

  • I agree with the previous speaker.
  • To what extent the seven Member states were involved.
  • Parliament disadvantaged.
  • Level of principles

Luc Devigne, Commission

  • Don’t beyond the Acquis. “shall”, this is EU position of course. Cannot comment on content of agreement.
  • Role of the parliament : over all position

What are the member states doing?

  • “They attend.”

David Martin, Labour

  • I also asked a specific question

Commission

  • discussed with the member states, not a consensus yet at the ACTA table.

Carl Schlyter, Greens

  • Point of order: Next time I would like to invite the Commissioner himself, because totally in conflict with information I got from the Commission.
  • Conflict between Commissioner and his staff

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Oral Question with debate (Rule 115)

AUTHOR(S):
Carl SCHLYTER, on behalf of the Greens/EFA Group
Daniel CASPARY on behalf of the EPP Group
Kader ARIF on behalf of the S&D Group
Niccolò RINALDI on behalf of ALDE group
Helmut SCHOLZ on behalf of the GUE Group
Syed KAMALL on behalf of the ECR Group

Transparency and State of Play of ACTA negotiations(Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement)
Parliament in various occasions has called on the Commission and Council to ensure the widest possible access to ACTA documents, notably in its reports of 18 Dec 2008 (Susta Report, P6_TA(2008)0634, Paragraphs 14, 28) and in its report of 11 March 2009 (Cashman Report, P6_TA(2009)0114), whose Paragraph 26 reads: “the Commission should immediately make all documents related to the ongoing international negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) publicly available.”

Parliament in its Resolution of 9 February 2010 on a Framework Agreement with the Commission demands immediate and full information at every stage of negotiations on international agreements, in particular on trade matters and other negotiations involving the consent procedure, to give full effect to Article 218 TFEU. The Commission on 27 January 2010 assured its commitment to a reinforced association with Parliament in the terms of this Resolution.

  • When will the Commission grant Parliament access to all primary texts relating to ACTA, in particular the ACTA negotiation mandate by the Council, the minutes of ACTA negotiation meetings, the draft chapters of ACTA, and the comments of ACTA participants on the draft chapters?
  • Has the Commission made an impact assessment of ACTA’s implementation on e-trade in the EU and worldwide? How will the Commission ensure enforcement of ACTA internet provisions are fully in line with the Acquis and how will the Commission redress any incompatibilities?
  • Does the Commission agree that access to ACTA documents should be given to Parliament prior to the coming into effect of the new Framework Agreement?

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Microsoft Money, a Quicken competitor, is discontinued. But what happens to users and their “locked in” data?

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Eine der bekanntesten Persönlichkeiten der netzaffinen Anwaltszene, Günter Freiherr von Gravenreuth letzte letzte Nacht in seiner Wohnung in Schwabing freiwillig aus dem Leben geschieden, vor dem Antritt einer 14 monatigen Haftstrafe wegen Untreue und Betrug. Berühmt wurde GvG durch Konsumentenfallen, durch serielle Abmahnungen und seine rege Beteiligung in Internet-Diskussionsforen.

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HTML5
A vocabulary and associated APIs for HTML and XHTML
W3C Working Draft 18 February 2010

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A Swedish colleague sent around this link to a document on the 7th round of ACTA negotiations which originates from Swedish media.

Here is the meat:

The civil enforcement chapter was discussed very thoroughly. It was possible to agree additional language, but when entering into the detail of the different mechanisms (provisional measures, injunctions, calculation of damages) progress became slow due to the different technical concepts of each legal system.

“Due to lack of time, internet discussions could not be concluded.”

“Some progress on transparency, where parties agreed to update and improve the Joint Summary issued a few months ago in order to include the issues discussed in the last two rounds and to add a rebuttal of the main unjustified rumours circulating about ACTA (control of laptops, iPods at the border; compulsory “three-strike rule” for internet infringers, etc.). However, there is no agreement yet on the release of negotiating texts. NZ offered to organise a meeting of stakeholders during the next round.”

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