We hit a milestone this week - our 10th episode of the show (although we could argue that it is actually the 11th or 12 episode of the show if you count the lost episodes we determined to be not suitable for public consumption)! This week Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about patent wars, the European Court's ruling that digital games can be resold, Verizon's claim that net neutrality violates its first amendment rights, the controversy over Blizzard banning some Linux-using Diablo III players, and a whole lot of other interesting topics.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on health rights, Anand Grover, has praised the European Parliament's recent vote to reject the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), calling it a step in the right direction in ensuring that citizens of the world have access to affordable and essential medication. The European Parliament overwhelmingly voted against the international anti-piracy trade agreement on July 4.
The European Parliament has officially rejected the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The Parliament voted 478 to 39 to reject the ACTA, which means that it will never be implemented in any member country of the European Parliament. The news is not surprising, given that five committees voted against the treaty leading up to the showdown on the floor of the European Parliament this week. It also didn't help that ACTA was negotiated in secret and citizens in various member countries protested against it because of its loose and murky language.
The European Court of Justice has made a ruling that could cause lots of problems for publishers in Europe. The highest court in Europe has ruled that game publishers cannot stop European consumers from reselling their downloaded games.
"An author of software cannot oppose the resale of his 'used' licences allowing the use of his programs downloaded from the internet," the ruling read. The Court said the exclusive right of distribution covered by a license is "exhausted on its first sale".
On July 3, the full European Parliament will finally get to vote on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), and going into that vote things don't look good for the treaty. Yesterday Australian lawmakers voted to reject ratification of the treaty joining a growing chorus of European countries that believe the law violates the rights of its citizens in the name of fighting counterfeit goods and copyright infringement.
An article on Webwereld.nl posits that Apple may have falsified evidence it used in its court case that led to Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 being banned in the European Union. Apple's main argument in that case is that consumers have a hard time distinguishing between the Galaxy Tab and the iPad. The evidence in question is a photo of the iPad side-by-side with the Galaxy Tab. In the picture it looks like both devices are of a similar size.
As this story from Techdirt points out, the EU commissioner responsible for the ACTA treaty, Karel De Gucht, has no intention of giving up on it. He seems to be oblivious to the recommendations to reject it from the five EU committees that have already voted on it, and will likely ignore the ruling from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on whether ACTA is compatible with EU law.
The European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade (INTA) will vote on whether to recommend approval or reject ratification of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on June 21. The Committee has several different avenues it could take in making a recommendation at this point; it could amend the treaty (as some want Parliament want to do), it could recommend waiting to hear from the European Court of Justice's reviews or approve the draft report by MEP David Martin (who says it should be rejected).
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has now been rejected by four European Parliament committees according to a press release issued by the European Union. The latest committee to urge the full parliament to reject the treaty is the Development Committee. Prior to that rejection, the Civil Liberties Committee, Industry Committee, and Legal Affairs Committee gave similar recommendations. In a vote of 19-to-one (three abstained), the Development Committee recommended that Parliament reject the treaty.
If the early votes in the European Parliament related to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) are any indication, the controversial treaty will not survive a final vote later this year. Three key European Union committees have voted against ACTA: the Committee on Legal Affairs (Juri), Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE) and the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). All three committees expressed "opinions against Acta," according to the BBC.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will get a judicial review in Europe's highest court, according to the Wall Street Journal (registration required). The European Commission has asked the European Court of Justice - the highest court in Europe, to review the treaty and make sure that it is compatible with current European treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
According to web site Geneva Lunch, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) quietly suffered another setback today in Switzerland where the Swiss Federal Council said it would not sign the agreement.
According to a Fox News report a top European Union official is implying that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will not be ratified by the European Union this summer.
"We are now likely to be in a world without SOPA and without ACTA," European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said in a speech on Friday in Berlin, Germany.
The highest court in the European Union has ruled that internet service providers can be compelled by courts to turn over private information of subscribers suspected of engaging in piracy or copyright infringement. Shortly after Sweden's anti-piracy legislation, IPRED, became law in 2009, five book publishers asked a local court to force ISP ePhone to hand over personal details on a subscriber who they allege stored more than 2000 audio books on his server. They claim that 27 of those audio books infringed on their copyrighted works.
Remember when European Union trade chief Karel De Gucht said that Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) would be referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in February? Well it turns out that the infamous treaty will not go to the highest court in Europe after all. According to a report from TorrentFreak, the road to the EJC has been blocked in the European Parliament.
Paris, France-based game development studio Quantic Dream is thankful for yesterday’s announcement that the United Kingdom will offers its development community much-needed tax relief. Quantic Dream CEO Guillaume de Fondaumière went so far as to say that the UK games industry was facing a "tangible risk of collapsing" if the government hadn't intervened. de Fondaumière, who is also the chairman of the European Game Developers Federation, hopes that this will cause other governments in Europe to follow the UK's lead.
Europe's Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding has asked the European Court of Justice to sift through the particulars of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and ensure that it is compatible with fundamental rights under current European Union laws. The international treaty to combat counterfeit goods and piracy is now officially on hold until the highest court in the land makes its determinations.
The European Parliament has issued a press release entitled "What You Should Know About ACTA," detailing what ACTA is, who among the EU's member states has signed it and what has to happen for it to either be accepted or rejected.
Social networks can't be forced to police their services for copyrighted material or block users, according to a new ruling from Europe's highest court. The court said that it could not be forced to these things because that burden would drive their costs up and infringe on users' privacy. The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) ruled on a case involving two Belgian companies at odds over copyright infringement: a music royalty collecting society called SABAM and the online social network Netlog.
Like flies drowning in a summer cooler left to thaw in the August heat, countries that once considered the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) a grand idea worth supporting are walking away from it. The latest country to step back from ACTA is Bulgaria, according to Forbes. Recently, Germany said that it would hold off on ratifying the "executive agreement" signed by our president.
Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, has criticized the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on German television, saying of the treaty that he does not "find it good in its current form." Schulz's comments came on the heels of protests throughout various countries in Europe - including Germany, Poland and the UK. Schulz went on to say that there is no balance between copyright protection and the individual rights of internet users, noting that it "is only very inadequately anchored in this agreement".
David Martin, a British MEP from the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) party, has been asked to draw up the European Parliament's opinion on ACTA, after French Socialist MEP Kader Arif quit the position in protest of the lack of transparency related to ACTA's progress in the European Union Parliament.
"I want the Parliament to have a facts-based discussion and not a debate around myths," Martin said in a statement. "That is why I want to have an open debate with all concerned.”
ACTA protests around Europe have caused various European Union governments to suspend the endorsement of the anti-copyright infringement treaty. EU members Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have all announced that they will delay ratifying the treaty. We've already mentioned the protests in Poland (where even members of Poland's government got involved by donning Guy Fawkes masks in parliament) and the Czech Republic's opposition, but we haven't talked about what the Slovakian government thinks of ACTA.
The Czech Personal Data Protection Office (UOOU) has written on its official web site that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is "unbalanced with regard to the existing legal guarantees of individuals´ rights."
In addition, Czechoslovakian Prime Minister Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) announced on Monday that the Czech Republic would suspend ratification of the treaty to further analyze its impact on the country's citizens.
Romania's Prime Minister has resigned after three weeks of protests related to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and anti-austerity measures. While the ACTA protests probably didn't help, most believe the protests related to serious cuts in government jobs and pay, as well as tax hikes were the final nail in the coffin for the PM. Romania, which is the second poorest country in the European Union, is facing a debt crisis similar to that of Greece. And like Greece, Romania appealed to the International Monetary Fund to avoid an economic collapse.
Malta's Labour Party spokesman Michael Farrugia has told Malta Today that the Anti-Counterfeit Trading Agreement (ACTA) is too vague and, as a result, could do damage to generic pharmaceutical companies in Malta and Europe and infringe on Internet freedoms. He also complains about how the treaty was negotiated in a secretive and exclusive manner.