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Archive for May, 2012

From the ODF 1.2 specification:

Applications vary on the set of Errors they support. In this specification. The only distinguished Error is #N/A; all other errors are simply errors, allowing applications to choose the Error set that best meets their needs.

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May2 2012 Université Libre de Bruxelles part1

– Benoit Hellings — Ancien sénateur écolo
– Olivier Maeterlinck – Directeur de la « Belgian Entertainment Association »
– Philippe Aigrain – Co-fondateur de l’association citoyenne « La Quadrature du Net »
– Pedro Velasco Martins — Négociateur du traité ACTA pour la Commission Européenne (DG Trade)
 

part 2

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CEFIC, the association of chemical industry provides input to the industry committee ITRE of the European Parliament.

making a world of difference
European Chemical Industry Council – Cefic aisbl
Avenue E. van Nieuwenhuyse 4 B – 1160 Brussels Belgium Tel: +32 2 676 72 11 Fax: +32 2 676 73 01 mail@cefic.be http://www.cefic.org
To the members of the ITRE Committee
of the European Parliament
60, rue Wiertz
B-1047 Brussel

22 May 2012
ACTA & the European Chemical industry
The Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was negotiated by 37 countries and the European Union to improve the international framework for fighting counterfeiting and piracy and the enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights.
Intellectual Property is of strategic importance for the competitiveness of the science–based and high technology chemicals industry, large enterprises and SMEs, to reward innovation. Many sectors of the chemical industry are hit by counterfeiting.
Therefore, the European chemical industry not only supports effective protection of Intellectual Property Rights such as patents but also strong measures to fight against counterfeiting both in the European Union and elsewhere in the world.
Considering the debate in the European Parliament on ACTA, the European Commission has asked the EU Court of Justice for opinion to provide clarity on concerns expressed on the fundamental rights and freedoms of European citizens.
We welcome this initiative and consider that any decision adopted before such opinion will put at risk the legal principles of Intellectual Property in Europe.
We therefore propose to the Members of the ITRE Committee of the European Parliament to wait for the opinion of the Court before voting on ACTA.
For further information do not hesitate to contact Nicole L Maréchal at ++ 32 2 676 72 18 or
nma@cefic.be

Best regards,

Assessment

The chemical industry was less attached to the ACTA process so far, less vocal and visible. Now they raise their voice in support of the agreement. Unfortunately the letter falls short on arguments. It basically says X is a tool against Y. Y is a problem for us, please support X.

That is far too simple to be useful for MEPs. Just insert substitute X for rain dance, Y for drought.

And then there is a weak argument of signalling: “We welcome this initiative and consider that any decision adopted before such opinion will put at risk the legal principles of Intellectual Property in Europe.”

Which principles and how? Don’t forget we’re told it doesn’t change anything.

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A few Members of the European Parliament started a Written Declaration for open and collaborative government. Gianni Pittella, Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou, Marisa Matias, Katarína Neveďalová, Marietje Schaake. Written Declarations are documents which could get co-signed by other Members of Parliament. They get adopted when they reach a majority. Written Declarations could be perceived as petitions within the European Parliament and civil society groups often pressure MEPs to sign a Written Declaration that suits their interests. Here it would be rather difficult to get them to endorse the document WD 0019/2012. The reason is simple: instead of “unrestricted” they drafted “current”. That single phrase makes the declaration appear like a Trojan horse.

0019/2012
Written declaration on open and collaborative government
The European Parliament,
– having regard to Rule 123 of its Rules of Procedure,
A. whereas the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Aarhus Convention enshrine the right to good administration, the right to have access to documents and the right to impart information;
B. whereas citizens have increasing expectations of institutions in terms of transparency, credibility and efficiency;
C. whereas interactivity should be strongly encouraged between citizens and governments, as well as European institutions, to further enhance trust and transparency;
D. whereas Parliament aims to lead by example in providing access to information and cooperating with citizens;
1. Asserts that public sector information is a public good and must be freely available and permanently accessible online in a machine-readable, searchable and current format, consistent with personal data protection and national security interests;
2. Asserts that the Commission’s Open Data Strategy is an important step towards greater transparency and stresses that Member States need to develop such policies for transparency and accountability;
3. Asserts that the public must have the opportunity to participate in policy-making, information collection, policy development and decision-making;
4. Asks Member States and governments to collaborate with civil society to develop processes and platforms for meaningful citizen engagement in consultation and policy innovation, and report on the results;
5. Supports the Commission in developing further policies and platforms on open data and collaborative governance;
6. Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories, to the Commission and Member States of the European Union.

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Der WEIT e.V. veröffentlicht das neue V-Modell XT. Bislang wurde das V-Modell vom Innenministerium veröffentlicht. Es beschreibt Vorgehensweisen zur Erstellung von Software für Behörden. Warum die Behörden nun als Teil eines Vereins das Modell weiter entwickeln, das verstehe ich nicht. Die Rechtsform des Vereins erlaubt allerdings die direkte Teilnahme von Industrievertretern am Standard. Mitglieder im WEIT sind u.a. Siemens, EADS, IABG, 4SOFT, TU Clausthal und TU München. Das V-Modell erhält durch die neue Vereinsbasis weniger Verbindlichkeit für Behörden.

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The JURI Committee of the European Parliament is dissatisfied with the Commission’s communication policy on ACTA. Letter from the Legal Affairs Committee chairman K.H. Lehne (EPP, Germany) to Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht:

Committee on Legal Affairs
The Chairman

ref. D(2012)23568
307728 03.05.2012

Mr Karel De Gucht
Commissioner for Trade
European Commission
Rue de la Loi, 200
B-1049 BRUXELLES

Dear Mr De Gucht,

As the parliamentary committee responsible for intellectual property law, the Committee on Legal Affairs is preparing to adopt an opinion for the Committee on International Trade whose task it is to recommend to the Plenary whether or not to consent to the conclusion of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Korea, the United States of America, Japan, the Kingdom of Morocco, the United Mexican States, New Zealand, the Republic of Singapore and the Swiss Confederation (ACTA).

As you know, on 22 February 2012 the Commission announced that the College of Commissioners had decided to refer a question to the Court of Justice on the compatibility of ACTA with the Treaties and with the Charter of Fundamental Rights. After this, nothing more was forthcoming until 4 April 2012 when the College agreed on the wording of the question. To date, as far as we know, no question has been referred. The Commission has not informed the Parliament of the reasons for such delay or when we can expect the question to be transmitted to the Court.

The Committee on Legal Affairs cannot but manifest its profound dissatisfaction about the way in which the Commission has handled this matter. To be able to reach a fully informed decision the Committee on Legal Affairs would urge you to answer the following questions:

Why after so many years of negotiations has the Commission decided only now to refer a question to the Court of Justice? Why not before?

– When the College of Commissioners took the decision to refer the matter to the Court you received a mandate to “explore the possibility of joint action with the other institutions in this area”. Why have you not formally asked the Parliament about this possibility?

– The European Data Protection Supervisor issued an opinion on 24 April 2012 which raises specific and very worrying concerns about several provisions of ACTA. Could we please have your reaction to these concerns as summarized in points 67 to 71 of the opinion?

I would like to stress that the Committee on Legal Affairs will be voting about this matter at the end of May. In order to be able to fully take into account your answers to the questions above, it is essential that the Committee receives your answers as soon as possible.

I thank you for your cooperation and look forward to hear from you well in advance of the Committee meeting at the end of May.

Yours sincerely,

Klaus-Heiner Lehne

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Velasco: ACTA only for WTO members

During the recent Civil Liberties Committee meeting (8 may) Pedro Velasco-Martins (Commission DG Trade) claimed that ACTA only targets WTO members as participating nations. I do not read that from the text of the agreement where it says prospecting nations. I do not see any provision which says that only WTO members are eligible to join.

He also admitted that ACTA leads to criminal harmonisation and Sweden is supposed to change its criminal laws. Here we have to keep in mind that criminal enforcement laws are not harmonised within the EU acquis. Thus, with ACTA the Commission supports a conduct disloyal to the European Parliament prerogatives: harmonisation with third nations without a direct involvement of the European Parliament.

Velasco-Martins also quotes the TRIPs agreement as a reference which predates the current EU framework. We find interesting legal questions associated with the TRIPS agreement, e.g. whether it is “directly executive”, its premises of trade-relation, and its competence-reserved adoption by the EU. Finally invoking also raises the important question why WTO members do not reform TRIPs instead. The answer is lack of consent within WTO to move forward with TRIPs+. Coalitions of the willing (governing ACTA) are less appropriate practices of international trade relations.

Video recording of the meeting

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