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Archive for April, 2012

The European Commission in its consideration of the amendments adopted by the European Parliament on the Cashman report (Public Access to Documents) wrote:

The following amendments touch upon parts of the Regulation which the Commission did not propose to amend. In the Commission’s view, they are not compliant with the Inter-institutional Agreement on Recasting:

This is a misconception, though a common one. Recasting is not any different from the ordinary legislative procedure. It is just a presentation technique as the inter-institutional agreement shows. The recasting technique does not limit what Parliament may change of the recasted act. The purpose of “recasting” is to avoid a later codification of the text by doing amending act and codification in a single process.

Interinstitional Agreement, 2002/C 77/01, Provision 8 clarifies the process for provisions that were left unchanged by the Commission proposal:

“Where, in the course of the legislative procedure, it appears necessary to introduce substantive amendments in the recasting act to those provisions which remain unchanged in the Commission’s proposal, such amendments shall be made to that act in compliance with the procedure laid down by the Treaty according to the applicable legal basis.

With other words, Parliament could amend as it likes. The recast technique enables as much freedom to amend as the ordinary legislative procedure. The only difference is that a Commission recast proposal is easier to read and there won’t be a need for later codification.

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The UK cabinet office washes its dirty laundry in the open. They accuse the facilitator of their controversial round table on open standards, Dr. Hopkirk, of a conflict of interest: an advisory role for an American software manufacturer which is an outspoken opponent of open standard policies.

This could be seen as a clear conflict of interest and should have been declared by the relevant parties at that meeting. For this reason any outcomes from the original roundtable discussion will be discounted in the consultation responses and we will rerun that session and give time for people to prepare for it.

Observers noticed a lack of transparency and “naivity” of Dr. Hopkirk.

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The MEP F. Castex asked about the public access to ACTA preparatory documents. By international standards access to negotiating documents is required for the interpretation of legal documents in Courts (historical / teleological standard method of interpretation):

Parliamentary questions 14 March 2011 E-002345/2011 Question for written answer to the Commission Rule 117 Françoise Castex (S&D)

Access to the preparatory works of the ACTA Treaty

With regard to the response of 15 December 2010 to my written question on ACTA (P‑9179/2010), I would like to make the following observations.

As the Commission has confirmed, the EU has ratified the Vienna Convention on compliance with international treaties and the ACTA agreement will be applied in accordance with this Convention.

Article 32 of the Vienna Convention refers to the ‘Supplementary means of interpretation’ which require access to ‘supplementary means of interpretation, including the preparatory work of the treaty and the circumstances of its conclusion, in order to confirm the meaning …’ if the text ‘leaves the meaning ambiguous or obscure’.

In accordance with the Vienna Convention I would like to know whether Parliament will have access to the preparatory works of the ACTA Treaty while in the process of formulating an opinion and with sufficient time before Parliament gives its opinion on the Treaty?

Parliamentary questions 20 April 2011 (E-002345/2011) Answer given by Mr De Gucht on behalf of the Commission

Following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, precise arrangements were made between the Commission and the Parliament in order to ensure that the Parliament is fully informed, at all stages of trade negotiations, of the evolution of those negotiations, so that at the end, it is able to provide its informed consent to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). In the case of the ACTA negotiations, this included the communication to the Parliament of the different versions of the text which were issued after each negotiating round, as well as reports of the negotiating rounds. Additionally, in the numerous Commission replies to oral and written questions and in its replies to two EP Recommendations and one Declaration, there are detailed considerations and explanations about the negotiations at its different stages. These documents constitute the key preparatory work of the treaty and provide detailed information about the circumstances of its conclusion.

In addition to providing these preparatory documents, the Commission services have provided dedicated briefings to interested Members of the European Parliament on all aspects of the negotiations, after the various negotiating rounds and remain available for any additional clarifications deemed necessary.

Of course Castex had a case here. It is unacceptable that the preparatory documents are still not disclosed.

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Liam Aylward confronts the Trade Commission’s beating around the bush.

Question for written answer E-003581/2012
to the Commission
Rule 117
Liam Aylward (ALDE)
Subject: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
Recently, the Commission referred the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to the European Court of Justice. The Commission took this decision so that it could ask the Court whether ACTA is incompatible – in any way – with the EU’s fundamental rights and freedoms, such as freedom of expression and information, or with data protection and the right to property where intellectual property is concerned.
– As the Commission is aware, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement has been the subject of much public interest. In this regard, can the Commission give an indication of the proposed timeline for the European Court of Justice’s ruling on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement?
– Furthermore, the Commission has previously stated that ACTA is an ‘enforcement treaty’ and that, therefore, current legislation will not need to be amended in order to comply with it. Can the Commission clarify how ACTA will be implemented in the Member States if current legislation is not amended?

Even under the current regime an enforcement directive exists which is implemented in member states laws. True, enforcement laws does not mean substantive law but that is not the issue but a misconception at DG Trade and most probably the insufficiency of the confidential negotiating mandate of the Commission.

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Jedes Jahr findet im Haus der Wirtschaft am 26. April, dem Welttag des Geistigen Eigentums, eine Konferenz von BDI und BMJ statt. Dieses Jahr ist zum Beispiel der Herr Schlegelmilch, dem ACTA zur “Karriereförderung” bei DG Trade in den Schoß gelegt wurde, anwesend. Der neue Mr. ACTA bei Kommissar De Gucht.

Nun ist das sinkende Dossier sicher sehr umstritten (nicht nur von meiner Seite, auch von Leuten, die mehr an der Substanz sich stoßen) und es gibt ja Demonstrationen der Jugend zu ACTA in ganz Europa. Da liegt es nah, dass auch irgendwer eine Demo zu der Konferenz am Welttag anmelden könnte. Ich war auch schon mal bei einer dieser 26 April Konferenzen im Haus der Wirtschaft zu Gast, während draußen Greenpeace und Netzwerk Freies Wissen wirkungsvoll gegen Entwicklungen im Patentrecht demonstrierten. Die kleineren Chargen beim BDI waren ganz panisch und in den Paranoia-Modus versetzt. Die Konferenz hat es nicht beeinträchtigt. Die Medienarbeit schon.

Nun der verspätete Aprilscherz. Dieses Jahr soll es präventiv eine Pro-ACTA Demo beim BDI geben der Musikindustrie. Und dann wurde auch noch ein angeblicher Aushang der Werbeagentur Spreeproduktion auf der Suche nach Studentenkomparsen bekannt. Ich dachte mir: Entweder will da jemand die alle viral versenken oder ein paar Sicherungen sind durchgeknallt. Es passt jedenfalls in die neuere Strategie mehr auf eine aktivistische Kommunikation zu setzen, und Google antagonistisch auszugehen.

Da dürfte es einige geben beim BDI, denen das ACTA Dossier gar nicht so recht ist. Ein Schutzabkommen mit Drittstaaten ohne Maßnahmen gegen Wirtschaftsspionage ist ohnehin Makulatur.

Update: BDI, IFPI und auch die Agentur Spreeproduktion haben sich distanziert. Nach dieser Lesart wollte jemand einen dummen Scherz mit dem BDI, IFPI und Spreeproduktion treiben.

Erklärung:
Seit 24.04. kursiert in Berlin, bei Twitter und Facebook ein Aushang.

spreeproduktion distanziert sich ausdrücklich davon – wir haben diesen Aufruf nicht initiiert!

Des Weiteren weisen wir darauf hin, dass wir die Urheber dieser Aktion ermitteln und rechtliche Schritte gegen sie einleiten werden.

Virale Kreativität ist den Machern nicht abzusprechen.

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The association ESOP from Portugal made available two papers of original research. They concern what they call an “artificial exclusion of Linux-based laptops”. I had the opportunity to see the study earlier. Both studies can be freely accessed from ESOP. It is not easy to calculate economic effects but ESOP applies their own innovative approach for calculating losses.

The first study analyses the national economic impacts of introducing a series of locally-assembled laptops with an Open Source system and applications. This study measures the effects on GDP, employment, trade balance and discretionary income. The idea had a previous successful try-out in a government project called e.iniciativas, where the debuting Linux laptop achieved a 10% market share. Later on, despite several attempts, Portuguese retailers were altogether unwilling to supply identical laptop solutions, when the e.iniciativas experience had clearly established that such products would be in demand.

The second study analyses this market behaviour, which is typical of retail oligopolies. The analysis derives a probability model for retail markets and addresses several malfunctioning phenomena in the frame of the existing European legislation for competition. This model can be applied to other markets where the imbalance between production and distribution control is felt and where distribution is highly concentrated.

They find the current market organization unpleasant:

The theoretical basis allows for the identification of two critical issues:

1) a small number of intervening parties holds the power to choose which products become available for millions of citizens

2) different degrees of decision-coupling between parties may show within an oligopoly

This matter has been neglected by our national Competition Authority and apparently not corrected by European institutions.
 

ESOP.pt may trigger an entertaining debate with their papers.

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Die Danish EU Presidency is on the scrouge. For the EU Future Internet Assembly they raise fees from lobbyists. Makes me wonder if they fear EU presidency conferences become the new food stamps. I find it unpleasant that even a low walled garden would exclude parts of the Dutch population e.g. students from participation.

Future Internet Assembly May 7 – 11, 2012 – Aalborg Congress & Culture Center – Aalborg-Denmark Welcome to the online registration of the Future Internet Assembly.

Registration fee Future Internet Assembly (FIA) (May 10 – 11, 2012): DKK 1.500 / EUR 200 if you register latest April 23, 2012. After April 23, 2012 the registration fee is DKK 1875 / EUR 250
Future Internet Week: DKK 375 / EUR 50

The registration fee for Future Internet Week includes:
Free access to Future Internet Week and all sessions on May 7 – 9, 2012
Lunches & coffee breaks during the days of the program

The invitation was sent from a Commission address:

The Future Internet Assembly (FIA) of 2012 will be held in Aalborg on May 10-11, under the Presidency of Denmark in the EU Council. The theme for FIA-Aalborg will be “Smart Cities and Internet of Things”, and the programme promises many interesting discussions on how the Future Internet can be used to make our cities smarter and become a basis for more innovation, how the architecture of the Internet of Things relates to the Future Internet and examples of successful business models for IoT applications. There are also other interesting workshops on the impact of HTML5, interoperability of clouds, gaming and future networks.

And they even offer “early bird” discounts. How does it suit the dignity of a public office? I don’t know but at the Commission most staffers do not see any difference.

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