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Archive for April, 2011

Remember the Cliff Richard directive proposal for a copyright extention of sound recordings also known as 2008/0157(COD)? The extention was fiercely debated in the European Parliament and by consumer groups. Our MEPs adopted a plenary report and then… Then our EU-Council with all the member states at the table went into wait-and-see mode. They noticed that the Commission proposition was quite a bit over the top. Meanwhile we have a new parliament, the Lisbon Treaty regime, a new Council. Now it’s back on the agenda, just before the children born when the Commission started to draft its proposal enter school, rumours say Hungary suddenly changed its mind in the Council, we learn from an alarmist Boingboing call to action, that we, the people are asked by science fiction writer Cory Doctorow to

1. Phone our MEP

2. MEP does for us ???

3. Win!

What can be done by your MEP?

In some member states it is common that pending laws get scrapped after the an electoral vote of new representatives, not so in the EU. Engström, an MEP from Sweden (who was elected as a challenger of the current copyright rules) is going to invoke Rule 59 of the European Parliament to get a “renewed referral”, so Parliament can again have its say on the proposal. From a power balance perspective it is a smart thing to do for the European Parliament, because it gains them more weight in the process and does not prejudice a decision.

40 supporting MEPs across the aisle are required to request a Rule 59 plenary motion.

Request for
RENEWED REFERRAL
to Parliament

pursuant to Rule 59 of the Rules of Procedure

of the proposal for a EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND COUNCIL DIRECTIVE amending Directive 2006/116/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the term of protection of copyright and related rights (COM(2008)0464 – C6-0281/2008 – 2008/0157(COD)).

MEPs are well advised to support the motion. Some arguments

  • The “renewed referral” motion would make Cliff Richard, Mick Jagger visit the European Parliament (=you) once again.
  • Citizens from your electorate believe they still like their music and their visit to the Europarl will excite them about the spirit of European integration and ultimately…
  • your support contributes to the completion of the single market and to reaping the full benefit of the Lisbon strategy objectives.

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Here I extracted a few quotes from the European Parliament resolution of 6 April 2011 on a Single Market for Enterprises and Growth which show its special emphasis on improving interoperability conditions for the single market. Strassbourg sents a clear message.

M. whereas the postal sector and the promotion of interoperability and cooperation among postal systems and services can have a significant impact on the development of cross-border e-commerce,

18. Welcomes the Commission’s proposed revision of the e-Signatures Directive with a view to providing a legal framework for cross-border recognition and interoperability of secure e-authentication systems; emphasises the need for mutual recognition of e-identification and e-authentication across the EU and asks the Commission, in this regard, to tackle in particular problems relating to discrimination against recipients of services on grounds of nationality or place of residence;

21. Stresses the imperative need to adapt EU Information and Communication Technology (ICT) standardisation policy to market and policy developments, with a view to achieving European policy goals requiring interoperability;

25. Urges the Member States to fully implement the Third Postal Services Directive (2008/6/EC); stresses the need to guarantee universal access to high-quality postal services, avoid social dumping and promote interoperability and cooperation among postal systems and services, in order to facilitate efficient distribution and tracking of online purchases, which will boost consumer confidence as regards cross-border purchases;

38. Points out the importance of interconnected business registers and calls on the Commission to develop a clear legal framework ensuring that information in such business registers is complete and correct;

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Parliamentary questions 4 March 2011 E-002007/2011
Question for written answer to the Commission Rule 117
Jens Rohde (ALDE)

On 8 February 2011 a review of the free software program ‘Ubuntu’ was broadcast on ‘Gratis og helt Ubuntu’ in the programme ‘so ein Ding’ on the Danish TV channel DR2*.

According to the review, the software program Ubuntu was quite satisfactory and considered to be comparable to Windows and Mac OS. But when users buy a computer in the EU, Microsoft is preinstalled. Users therefore have to remove the preinstalled Windows in order to install Ubuntu. This means that they are not free to choose which software program they want to install and use on their computer.

Tying two separate products may have an anti-competitive exclusionary effect on the tied market, because it can reduce the number of potential buyers in the market for the tied product (see TFEU Art. 102(2)(d)). In a related case — T-201/04 of 27 September 2007 — the Commission found that Microsoft had abused its dominant market position in PC operating systems by tying Windows to Windows Media Player.

This leads me to ask the Commission if it believes that, or will consider whether, the sale of computers with preinstalled Windows hinders competition as regards software programs? If so, will the Commission then consider putting an end to the preinstallation of Microsoft Windows on computers?

E-002007/2011 Answer given by Mr Almunia on behalf of the Commission (7.4.2011)

Microsoft’s behaviour could infringe EU competition rules if Microsoft were to implement anticompetitive agreements that foreclose competition or abuse a dominant position on the relevant market(s).

It should be noted that Microsoft is not present on the PC hardware market. It is primarily the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), who act as intermediaries on behalf of end users, and provide them with an “out-of-the-box” product, by combining PC hardware, client PC operating system and applications for which there is demand.

The Commission is aware of the difficulties encountered by consumers who want to purchase a PC with a non-Microsoft operating system or without any operating system at all. At the moment, the Commission is however not in possession of evidence suggesting that this is the result of practices in violation of EU competition rules as laid down in Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The Commission will continue to monitor the developments in this field so as to ensure that competition and a level playing field are preserved amongst all market players.

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The NYT talks about an alleged contradiction in EU procurement policies. Looks difficult for me to find a contradiction. What these advocates use here is a reversed principle.

In the International Herald Tribune the same article was published one day later under a more suitable title. A Dutch member of the Parliament then filed a related written question.

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An interview of my French colleague Charles-H. Schulz.

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Die im Bundestagswahlkampf mit lautem Getöse geforderten Sperrungen von Internetseiten sind nach dem Aussetzen für ein Jahr vom Tisch, berichtet Netzpolitik. Die Vorschläge waren nicht gut bei Netz-Fachleuten angekommen.

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Winsupersite found more “ribbons” for Windows 8? Personally I don’t find the ribbons menu convenient at all but they try to develop explore ideas for desktop experience.

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Tue 05/04 at 14:00 EP Committee on Development exchange of views with Bill and Melinda GATES on fighting poverty and disease
AVServices

From the Development Committee (DEVE) website:

At a time when the global crisis is forcing us to look for new sources of development finance, Bill Gates comes to the Committee on Development to talk fighting poverty and disease with MEPs. The founder of the Gates Foundation also presents his Living Proof initiative…

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A document kept secret so far by the Council, a legal analysis on the unitary patent enhanced cooperation, was made available to me today in response to my document access secondary application (cmp. EC/1049/2001). My arguments for the secondary apllication were the ECJ turco judgement and the general character of the legal matter.

While the original document request relates to the German version of the legal analysis the Council secretariat kindly also made available the English version to me. In the Council register you still find a redacted version, but the document below would be made available through the register in other languages; ~ early next week they told.

Compatibility of possible enhanced cooperation in the field of patents with the internal market and the other provisions of the Treaties

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LibreOffice GSoC

Amazing Google Summer of Code project ideas for LibreOffice.

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