12.29.11

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Cablegate: Microsoft Lobbies to Illegalise Backups and Make Copyright Violation a “Crime”

Posted in Cablegate, Microsoft at 7:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft wants YOU… in prison!

Cablegate

Summary: Lobbying from Microsoft shows just how far the company is willing to go to criminalise its own end users

YESTERDAY we wrote about Apple's use of blackmail to influence French copyright law. According to the following Cablegate cable from Tel Aviv, Microsoft has been doing the same type of thing and met resistance. To quote: “Microsoft Israel has been the most successful of the interested parties in lobbying for changes in the Copyright Bill. Government Affairs Manager for Microsoft Israel, Shai-lee Spigelman, told EconCouns on July 13 that Microsoft has formed a coalition of foreign and Israeli software development companies to push for changes in the bill. Microsoft’s key concerns center around the provisions for creating back-up copies and the unlimited exemptions granted to public libraries. Anti-piracy manager at Microsoft Israel, Gil May-Tal, told Econoff that he has also pushed the MoJ to define end-user piracy as a crime, but found MoJ’s Afori entrenched in opposition to such a change. While Microsoft wants to see end-user piracy defined as a crime in the legislation, May-Tal deemed it not worth pushing, and thereby risking the positive relationship that Microsoft has built with the Afori. May-Tal said Afori is inclined to consider changes to the back-up copy and library usage clauses as recommended by Microsoft. Microsoft execs report that the drafting of the legislation was influenced by proponents of the EU’s open source movement.”

Here is the full Cablegate cable, which speaks more broadly about Israel’s copyright legislation


null
Carol X Weakley  10/18/2006 02:46:18 PM  From  DB/Inbox:  Carol X Weakley

Cable 
Text:                                                                      
                                                                           
      
S E C R E T        TEL AVIV 04106

SIPDIS
CXTelA:
    ACTION: ECON
    INFO:   IPSC SCI IMO CONS RES POL DCM AMB AID ADM FCS
            PD

DISSEMINATION: ECON
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: ECON:WWEINSTEIN
DRAFTED: ECON:BMASILKO
CLEARED: ECON: JWITOW

VZCZCTVI955
PP RUEHC RUCPDOC
DE RUEHTV #4106/01 2901552
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 171552Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7010
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 004106 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT PLEASE PASS TO USTR: E.SAUMS AND S.DONNELLY 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/13/2016 
TAGS: ECON [Economic Conditions], ETRD [Foreign Trade], PGOV [Internal Governmental Affairs], KIPR [Intellectual Property Rights], IS [Israel] 
SUBJECT: UPDATE ON ISRAEL'S COPYRIGHT LEGISLATION 
 
REF: A. TEL AVIV 03785 
 
     B. TEL AVIV 03843 
 
Classified By: Economic Counselor William Weinstein for reasons 1.4 (b) 
 and (d) 
 
¶1. (S) Summary: Israel is moving forward with legislation to 
modernize and unify its existing copyright law.  Three pieces 
of pending copyright legislation have a direct impact on U.S. 
industry.  Working-level contacts at Ministry of Justice 
(MoJ), who drafted the legislation, display varying degrees 
of flexibility in responding to U.S. industry concerns. 
While these concerns tend to focus on the specific provisions 
of the legislation (as applicable to a given industry), all 
of Posts' contacts oppose the legislation's decriminalization 
of end-user piracy and its lack of protection for digital 
media.  Per Washington's request EconCouns has requested that 
the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor (MOITAL) engage 
with the MoJ to review the draft legislation and begin 
immediate consultations with the USG.  End Summary. 
 
--------------------- 
Status of Legislation 
--------------------- 
 
¶2. (C) Currently, three different pieces of legislation 
related to copyrights -- in various stages of completion -- 
are being circulated.  The 2005 Copyright Bill passed a first 
reading in the Knesset on July 20, 2005 and is being 
considered by the Knesset Economic Committee.  The 2006 
Copyright Tribunal Bill was published on July 10, 2006 and 
has also passed a first reading and been forwarded to the 
Knesset Economic Committee.  These two bills will likely be 
considered together by the Committee.  The Ministry of 
Justice is the originator and sponsor of the 2005 Copyright 
Bill and the 2006 Copyright Tribunal Bill.  U.S. industry has 
voiced serious concerns over key provisions of these two 
draft pieces of legislation.  A private bill submitted by 
members of the Meretz party on July 17, 2006 -- aimed at 
preventing digital piracy -- has not been voted on by the 
Knesset. 
 
------------------- 
Ministry of Justice 
------------------- 
 
¶3. (S) As the drafter of the Copyright Bill and the Copyright 
Tribunal Bill, the MoJ has championed the legislation.  With 
the resignation of Minister of Justice Haim Ramon, pending an 
investigation into allegations of sexual harassment, Meir 
Sheetrit assumed the position of acting Minister of Justice 
in August 2006.  In a September 19 meeting with the 
Ambassador, Sheetrit promised to look into the pending 
copyright legislation (reftel a).  In a follow-up-letter and 
phone call to the Ambassador, Sheetrit said that the 
copyright legislation had already "passed."  (Comment: 
Technically Sheetrit is correct.  The legislation "passed" 
the ministerial committee and was forwarded to the Knesset as 
a government bill.  However, the legislation is far from 
becoming law.  It appears as if Sheetrit's staff is telling 
him that the legislation is being handled by the Knesset 
Economic Committee and is out of their hands.  However, past 
experience with pharmaceutical IPR legislation championed by 
the MOITAL indicates that the drafting Ministry has 
considerable influence over the Knesset's consideration of 
the legislation, especially draft legislation as long and 
technical as the Copyright Bill.  End comment).  Copyright 
legislation at the MoJ is the responsibility of Advocate 
Tamir Afori, who has been working on the draft legislation 
since joining the MoJ six years ago. 
 
----------------- 
Industry Concerns 
----------------- 
 
¶4. (S) The software, music, and movie industries agree that 
while the Copyright Bill is an improvement on existing law -- 
a mix of British era legislation -- it fundamentally fails to 
implement the necessary safeguards for intellectual property 
in a digital world.  Another concern shared by the majority 
of the copyright industries is the failure of the legislation 
to designate end-user piracy as a criminal offense.  During 
the period of the 2006 Special 301 review, Econoff 
highlighted these concerns to Afori at MoJ.  His response was 
explosive and unexpected -- he railed against U.S. industry 
wanting to "make everything a crime" and questioned the logic 
in designating it as such, given that Israel has no intention 
of prosecuting end-users who commit just a single act of 
piracy.  Afori commented that he was tired of the U.S. 
"hinting" at the problem and proposed that the U.S. either 
quote the relevant law requiring that end-user piracy be 
declared a criminal offense, or drop the matter. 
 
----------------- 
Software Industry 
----------------- 
 
¶5. (S) Microsoft Israel has been the most successful of the 
interested parties in lobbying for changes in the Copyright 
Bill.  Government Affairs Manager for Microsoft Israel, 
Shai-lee Spigelman, told EconCouns on July 13 that Microsoft 
has formed a coalition of foreign and Israeli software 
development companies to push for changes in the bill. 
Microsoft's key concerns center around the provisions for 
creating back-up copies and the unlimited exemptions granted 
to public libraries.  Anti-piracy manager at Microsoft 
Israel, Gil May-Tal, told Econoff that he has also pushed the 
MoJ to define end-user piracy as a crime, but found MoJ's 
Afori entrenched in opposition to such a change.  While 
Microsoft wants to see end-user piracy defined as a crime in 
the legislation, May-Tal deemed it not worth pushing, and 
thereby risking the positive relationship that Microsoft has 
built with the Afori.  May-Tal said Afori is inclined to 
consider changes to the back-up copy and library usage 
clauses as recommended by Microsoft.  Microsoft execs report 
that the drafting of the legislation was influenced by 
proponents of the EU's open source movement. 
 
-------------- 
Movie Industry 
-------------- 
 
¶6. (C) ALIS, the Motion Picture Association of Israel, has 
thus far not commented on the draft copyright legislation. 
However, the Cinema Industry Association in Israel wrote to 
the Ambassador on September 11 to urge USG support for a 
draft proposal submitted by the Meretz Party.  The 
legislation is aimed at combating digital and on-line piracy. 
 Among the key provisions of this bill are: prohibiting the 
posting of creations on digital networks without the 
permission of the creator, prohibiting the listening to or 
viewing of pirated copies of creations, and imposing varying 
degrees of responsibility on Internet service providers for 
the content its users are able to access. 
 
------------------ 
Recording Industry 
------------------ 
 
¶7. (S) Some of the most damaging clauses of the Copyright 
Bill affect the recording industry.  Itshak Sheffer, Managing 
Director of the International Federation of Phonographic 
Industry (IFPI) Israel, told EconOff that he suspects the MoJ 
might be pursuing a discriminatory policy towards the 
recording industry in part because IFPI has been successful 
in winning several court cases against the MoJ.  One of the 
industry's main concerns is that the Copyright Bill could 
deny foreign sound recordings remuneration for public 
broadcast and performance.  The recording industry also 
expressed concern over the Copyright Tribunal Act -- 
legislation which will unify the collection of royalties 
under one umbrella organization. 
 
---------- 
Next Steps 
---------- 
 
¶8. (S) Director of the International Trade Administration at 
MOITAL Boaz Hirsch promised EconCouns on October 5 that he 
will schedule a meeting including the Director General of the 
MoJ and Emboffs to discuss U.S. concerns about the copyright 
legislation immediately after the Succot holidays.  Post 
continues to emphasize with the MOITAL that this legislation 
will impact US-Israel trade, and that discussions should not 
be confined to MoJ legal staff.  The Knesset Economic 
Committee is currently led by a Likud MK, and Likud chairman 
Bibi Netanyahu has promised to look into the legislation 
(reftel b).  While Post believes that inclusion of the MOITAL 
will broaden discussion of the impact of the legislation on 
U.S. industry, concurrent technical consultations between 
U.S. legal experts and the MoJ's IPR legal team are essential 
to full USG understanding of the legislation.  Local analysts 
predict that the committee will hold hearings and consider 
the legislation section-by-section before recommending any 
amendments.  During this time the MoJ, if it chooses, will 
also be able to recommend changes to the committee. 
 
********************************************* ******************** 
Visit Embassy Tel Aviv's Classified Website: 

http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/telaviv

You can also access this site through the State Department's 
Classified SIPRNET website. 
********************************************* ******************** 
CRETZ

Incidentally, for those who are interested in how copyright and patent laws get subverted by the Gates Foundation, we are going to separately post this new video from Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert.

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