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Archive for the ‘Brussels’ Category

An EU proposal on “notice and action” is in the making:

Stakeholders in particular asked for clarifications about how “notice-and-action procedures” should work in practice and this Communication presents an initiative that will help to clarify this. (see question 8).

It starts with a rewrite of the “mere conduit” principle:

Online service providers simply “transmitting” content on the Internet (for instance companies that provide consumers with access to the Internet) cannot be held liable for illegal content that is uploaded by third parties. For example, an Internet access provider cannot be held liable for providing access to an illegal website.

Note that the relationshop between providers and their clients is not covered by the new language.

Online service providers that “host”‘ content on the Internet (for instance websites on which you can view content that users themselves put online) cannot be held liable for illegal content uploaded onto their websites by others, as long as they are not aware of it. However, as soon as they become aware of this illegal content (for example via a notification), they are obliged to remove it or to block access to it immediately.

Finally, governments may not impose a general obligation on online service providers to monitor the content that they transmit or host.

As so many EU phrases “Notice and Action” takes inspiration from the American “notice and takedown”, the difference is “action” and it means blocking and takedown.

“Notice-and-action” procedures refer to rules on removing or blocking of access to illegal content by an online company, after it has received a request to do so. Internet users can submit a notification of illegal content that they have found displayed on the website of an online intermediary (such as a social network, an online vendor or a search engine). To avoid liability, the E-commerce Directive obliges the online intermediary to take action as soon as it becomes aware of the illegal content. Taking action can take the form of takedown (removing content) or blocking (disabling access to content).

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Europaeum.eu Blog listet unglaublich viele Europa-Blogs deutscher Autoren auf. Mich findet man alphabetisch zwischen MEP Reinhard Bütikofer und RandomInsights aus Österreich (sehr “idiosynkratisch”), in der Liste viele Bekannte und Unbekannte.

Aber 55 deutschsprachige gesammelte Blogs sind viel zu wenig für unser Projekt Europa der Bürger. Zusammen mit ein paar Kollegen bereiten wir gerade sehr konkrete Lösungen in Sachen “Brüssel Bubble-gum” vor. Es ist Zeit an der Wurzel anzusetzen.

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The blind petition the European Parliament for braille access to books (tnx D. Hammerstein). Monday 3rd of October 15-18.30 (Petition will be heard and debated at aprox. 15:15-15:30)
Place: Room A3G3, Altiero Spinelli Building.

On Monday, October 3, the European Blind Union (EBU) defends the right to read for blind and visually impaired people in its petition before the European Parliament’s Petition Committee. The EBU have long called for an international binding treaty at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to remove copyright barriers which prevents print disabled people from having access to books in braille, large print or audio. The EBU will ask the Commission to stop opposing the treaty and help put an end to the discrimination against millions of print disabled people who wish to read.

FOLLOW THE WEBSTREAM AT:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/activities/committees/homeCom.do?language=EN&body=TRAN

or
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/wps-europarl-internet/frd/live/live-program?language=en

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Roundtable, Tuesday 3 May, Bibliothèque Solvay, Brussels

12:00 – 13:30 Session I – Cutting through Europe’s outdated national policies

Counter-terrorism technologies have made encouraging advances, so now it’s the lack of more coherent EU-wide policies that is the problem. The time has come for EU member states to abandon competing national practises and devise common standards and a shared approach to research and innovation. Could public-private partnerships better develop the next generation of technologies, and if so, would that ensure that end-users get the right solutions at the right price? How can Europe foster greater interaction between technology developers and regulatory actors, and what forms of information exchange can aid this process? Is there a case for extending public research funding programmes to cover demonstration projects? Which of the various interested European Commission directorates should take the lead in determining and implementing a new EU security industry strategy?

Keynote speaker:
Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Polish Senate, former Polish Prime Minister

Speakers:
Bill Butler, Chief Executive, UK Security Industry Authority
Marco Malacarne, Head of Unit for Security Research and Development, Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry, European Commission
Reinhard Priebe, Director for Internal Security, Directorate General for Home Affairs, European Commission
Kevin Riordan, Technical Director for Airport and Critical Infrastructure Security Products, Smiths Detection, UK

14:30 – 16:00 Session II – Devising an EU-wide rulebook

Society’s chief line of defence against terrorist attack is technology, but increased screening procedures of both passengers and freight cannot guarantee 100% protection. To what extent has front-line defence against terrorist attack fallen to the private sector? Are liability threats discouraging investment in advanced technologies, and should Europe respond by devising an EU-wide rulebook? How can the EU frame technology innovation, certification and liability rules? Can common capability requirements and criteria for the validation of security screening technologies be turned into competitive international standards? With EU member states favouring various approaches, what compromise proposal can be expected from the European Commission?

Speakers:
Gérard Borel, General Counsel, Airport Council International
Allison N. Jetton, Attorney, Office of the General Counsel Science & Technology Directorate, US Department of Homeland Security
Jeffrey A. Taylor, Vice President and General Counsel, Integrated Defense Systems, Raytheon
Werner Vandenbergh, Vice President, Security and Contingency, Brussels Airlines


Registration form

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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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The yellow perils still in action:

Shai Agassi… spoke of the opportunities of electric cars. Referring to the car fleet he said that “Europe will work without oil in less than 10 years, between 2015 and 2020. It is inevitable. We won’t change due to global warming…but because oil will become too expensive”.

He went on to point out that “oil was 10 dollars a barrel at the beginning of the decade…it is almost 100 dollars a barrel now and if China doesn’t stop producing cars it will be 230 dollars a barrel in a few years”.

Turing to the emergence of China he said that it had already started to invest in electric cars. “Europe has two choices: to seize the opportunity to be the first to change, defending its role as first global car producer with 30% of the global market or to wait for China to overcome her in the market.”

I bet against it. STOA was once a European Parliament conference series for the scientific community but deteriorated ever since.

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The escalation and the attack on Qaddafi’s Lybia to enforce the no-fly zone is a brilliant strategic move of Nicolas Sarkozy and the French nation. Sarkozy’s right wing challenger Marine Le Pen took a more traditional French position, and voiced scepticism in recent days. Even Internal Market Commissioner Barnier intervened in the matter, a highly unusual move for an EU official. It is common knowledge that France had good relations with Qaddafi which makes the French intervention and Sarkozy more credible. Even the abstention of Germany in the UN security council perfectly fits the scene because it strenghtened the leadership of the neighbour on the matter.

US president Obama prematurely announced a few days ago he was not interested to lead the effort. Today the Pentagon severely struggled to admit that they don’t lead the ad hoc military action or to explain the objectives. Furthermore the EU’s foreseeable unability to initialize action only plays in the hands of the French and cannot be seen as a midterm weakness, institutionally the prior EU, UN and Arab league consultations backed the swift French leadership on the matter. A broader European coalition takes part in the warfare. The US is in a similar position as the German Kaiser was in his preassigned support for Austria in 1914, they have to engage, win the conflict and overtake the risks. The US were coerced into the confrontation theatre and have to contribute substantially to regain a leadership role.

The news was French military air crafts, not US and UK missiles. While the European leaders convened in Paris, the US media spin machine had to overstress the UK and the US role and diminish the French one. Though NATO may build a new expensive headquarter in Brussels it loses massive political ground in European security affairs. Any follow-up response on the Atlanticist side, and you can expect Germany’s political class to be very supportive, would strengthen European influence within the occidental forces. Lybia is not Iraq, because the ad hoc coalition responded to popular pleas from Lybia and a sympathetic rebel movement close to military defeat.

Update:

Hillary Clinton: “We did not lead this” or even more confusing Director of Joint Staff Bill Gortney “We are on the leading edge of a coalition military operation.”

Other WP article: Here Clinton is keeps even more distance.

Update 2:

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A press release by my colleagues from the French group APRIL comments on the ECJ patent court judgement.

Paris, March 11st, 2011. Press release.

On March 8th 2011, the Court of Justice of European Union (CJEU) has published an opinion [1] emphasizing the illegality of the proposal for a unified jurisdiction on patents which is currently discussed by the European Union. April welcomes this clear, concise and accurate decision, which strongly reasserts basic principles of law. The French association also points out [2] that the European Court of Justice uses many points raised by April during the debates on the unitary patent [3], casting doubt on the enhanced cooperation on the unitary patent. The European Parliament’s vote in February [4] and the Commission’s assertion [5] of a successful unity on this matter appear to be only a giant with feet of clay.

The CJEU itself asserts that the current proposal “would alter the essential character of the powers conferred on the institutions of the European Union and on the Member States which are indispensable to the preservation of the very nature of European Union law.” [6]. It moreover finds that the current proposal questions both the judicial system of the EU and the primacy of EU law.

“These issues have already been raised by the Advocates General’s opinion [7]”, explains Jeanne Tadeusz, public affairs officer at April. “Consequently, this decision is not surprising. Nevertheless, it is
comforting that the CJEU emphasizes so clearly the threats in this project and that the Court reaffirms the basic democratic requirements applicable to everyone including patent organizations in Europe [8].”

Indeed, this decision puts on ice all the proposals for a unified jurisdiction which had been considered so far. “The Court goes beyond the Advocates General’s opinion, by making it impossible to simply fix the project with minor amendments to its architecture. Following the CJEU’s opinion, both EPLA and the unified jurisdiction have gotten the door slammed into their face”, emphasizes Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, voluntary counsel at April on patents. “The enhanced cooperation is left high and dry, since a unitary patent would not work without a unified jurisdiction to enforce it”.

April calls for the European institutions promoting the unitary patent to respect the law enacted by the CJUE, and to bring back the issue of patent law within the scope of the European Union and its institutions, in order to ensure the full application of basic rights and of the acquis communautaire.

See also the full analysis by April of the opinion published by the Court: http://www.april.org/en/analysis-opinion-european-court-justice-unified-patent-court

[1] http://curia.europa.eu/jurisp/cgi-bin/form.pl?lang=EN&Submit=Submit&numaff=Avis%201/09
[2] A more detailed analysis is also available on April’s website:
http://www.april.org/node/14866
[3] http://www.april.org/en/rationale-postpone-enhanced-cooperation-unitary-patent-after-ecj-opinion
[4] http://www.april.org/en/european-parliament-stubbornly-pushes-forward-enhanced-cooperation-unitary-patent
[5]http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/11/269&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en
[6] See the European Court of Justice’s press release: http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/P_73113/
[7] The role of the General Advocates is to assist the Court by proposing their independent opinion about legal issues brought to the Court.
[8] April has been denouncing for a long time illegal practices of the
European Patent Office: http://www.april.org/articles/communiques/pr-20050707.html [fr] and has
already called for the legislative power to take over:
http://petition.stopsoftwarepatents.eu/.

What I find amazing: how they at APRIL spin the judgement of the ECJ on the proposed patent court. What APRIL writes makes far more sense than the swift official responses. Commissioner Barnier’s Internal Market communications appear to confirm it was a blow and they attempt to overshadow the situation by celebrating the unitary patent “enhanced cooperation” adoption. Enhanced Cooperation on a patent without common patent jurisdiction!

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Hartmut Pilch zu den Tücken der Übersetzung bzgl. eines Blogartikels:

…RIA Novosti: http://de.rian.ru/opinion/20110305/258499136.html
Der Text enthält auch Übersetzungsfehler: in der schiitischen Provinz Saudi-Arabiens wird nicht die Bevölkerung “von Schiiten unterdrückt” sondern eine “Bevölkerung von Schiiten” wird unterdrückt.

Da stellt sich natürlich die Frage wie jemand so formulieren kann, dass es weniger Übersetzungsrisiken gibt, dabei kommt dann vermutlich der Europaish-Jargon der EU-Institutionen heraus, der erheblich durch professionelle Übersetzer geprägt ist.

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Hartmut Pilch comments on one of these EUX.TV feature reports where Communications director Oswald Schroder from the European Patent Office tells his story:

The EPO mass-produces broad and trivial patents on unpatentable subject matters in order to finance itself, without much regard to competitiveness of European industries. The existing unitary system has already gone out of control, and the post-grant unitary system under discussion now would make the system even more self-referential and unreformable East-Asians are already among the big customers of the EPO and as their share increases the protectionist effect of the system decreases.

What he says is sometimes raised by the economists but the EPO seems to be sustainable as a business model. What EUX.TV got completely wrong is the title. The EPO is no EU-institution and many challenges arise from this institutional mismatch.

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