Bonum Certa Men Certa

ACTA Booster Luc Pierre Devigne Redefines Open Standards (With Software Patents Included)

Luc Pierre Devigne



Summary: The European Commission turns its back on open standards that anyone can accept; ACTA and the Digital Economy Bill show a legal land grab by corporations

WE live in interesting times when constitutions are being blatantly violated and overridden. Lobbyists play a role on behalf of companies whose embrace of our laws that defend us is proving rather deadly. This post is not about the imbalanced patent system that mostly protects monopolies; this time it's about open standards being polluted with software patents, even in Europe. A Red Hat employee presents some details (it is his personal interpretation, not Red Hat's stance):



For years and years I am using and promoting the term Open Standards. And it has always been very clear what an Open Standard is and, more important, what it is not.

You can go through various defintions of Open Standards:

* Free Software Foundation Europe * European Interoperability Framework (v1) * Digistan * Danish Parliament * Bruce Perens

And no matter what differences you find in those definitions, they all agree on some crucial points, the most important being the freedom to use and implement the standard without having to ask for permission or having to pay license fees for the use of an Open Standard.

[...]

If you agree this far, pay special attention to this:

Currently, the Chinese companies using technologies detained by European companies are not allowed to enter into negotiations on the amount of royalties due to the latter, when they use their essential patents in the framework of open standards. The situation is highly detrimental to European companies and their complaint has been reflected in the European Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC) – IPR Working Group’s Position Paper 2005. The Commission therefore urged the Chinese government to take action in order to ensure that those royalties are duly paid by Chinese companies.

Hartmut Pilch from FFII pointed my attention to this and added some valuable comments here.

Bottom line is – DG Trade, represented by Mr. Luc Pierre Devigne, seems to use the term Open Standards in a way that is simply not compatible with the accepted definition of Open Standards. Royalty payments on Open Standards can simply not exist in my view.


So...

Who have we here? It's a buddy of ACTA lover Pedro Velasco-Martins. Luc Devigne and other ACTA boosters can be found in conjunction in an old report which we mentioned in this post. At least we manage to identify people who are fundamentally against the people whom they represent and instead promote the agenda of large corporations with intellectual monopolies.

As a reminder, Europe overwhelmingly rejects ACTA, whereas the US loves it [1] and here in the UK we have the complementary Digital Economy Bill trying to sneak its way into law [2, 3, 4, 5]. Our constitutions are being stomped on. _____ [1] Europe trashes ACTA as Obama praises it

Earlier this week, we noted that the major parties in the European Parliament had all agreed on a resolution trashing the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the secret process that has been hashing it out. That resolution has passed Parliament by a huge margin—633 yes votes, 13 no votes, and 16 abstentions.

The Greens/EFA coalition praised the vote. Greens MEP Carl Schlyter of Sweden said that "ACTA risks becoming known as the Absence of Commission Transparency Agreement... The EU cannot continue to negotiate on ACTA if the people are not allowed to take part in the process. It is also a totally absurd and unacceptable situation if MEPs, behind closed doors, have to ask the Commission about the content of the agreements we are supposed to vote on."


[2] Lib Dems to change their amendment to the digital economy bill

The Liberal Democrats are preparing to change their controversial amendment to the digital economy bill, which has its third and final reading in the House of Lords on Monday.

The change would give sites blocked under the bill the power to challenge it in the courts, and to demand legal costs and damages from any copyright owner that caused it to be wrongly blocked through court procedings.

But the Open Rights Group, which campaigns on digital rights and freedoms, said that the amendment would not solve deeper problems with the bill – which may be rushed into law with barely any debate in the Commons – and called for it to be abandoned.


[3] Wanted: a Groundswell of Massive Opposition

Last week I wrote about the great news on the ACTA front, but sadly that's just one battle we need to win. Another is against the insanely retrogressive Digital Economy Bill – an ironic name if ever there were one, given that it seeks to impose the old rules of the *analogue* economy on the digital world. As such, it is likely to have a huge negative impact on companies using the Internet (that is, anyone in business not still using the abacus.) [...]

That handily maps out is how we can stop the Bill: by creating that “groundswell of massive opposition”. What I think we need to do is to make it clear to our MPs is how the music recording industry just expects them to roll over and accept the Bill as is, rather than to carry out their parliamentary duties and to examine it and amend where appropriate. We need to get across the fact that this Bill is not incidental, but will determine the economic and social landscape for this country in the next few years; as such, it needs to be drafted carefully, not thrown together at the last minute.


[4] Lords pass controversial internet piracy bill

Legislation to tackle internet piracy, including bans for illegal file-sharers, has been passed by the Lords.

The Digital Economy Bill is now expected to be rushed through the Commons before the general election.

Peers had earlier rejected a bid by ministers to include wide-ranging powers over future online piracy law.


[5] BPI Says That UK Spies Are Against Digital Economy Bill

The debate over the Digital Economy Bill in the UK (the attempt to ratchet up copyright law to repay favors to an entertainment industry that is slow to adapt) has taken an odd twist. Cory Doctorow over at Boing Boing has the details of a leaked memo from the BPI (pdf) to a bunch of recording industry execs and lobbyists, that details the state of the bill and the ongoing strategy for getting it approved. There are a few items worth noting:
1. The BPI seems to think that the UK intelligence community is now the biggest threat to stopping the bill. Seriously. Apparently, UK spies are afraid that passing this bill will drive a very large number of people to switch to using encrypted internet tools, making it that much more difficult to spy on them.


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