Union Busting at the European Patent Office, Dressed Up as ‘Investigation’

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The military-grade attack on staff unions at the EPO

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) is attacking popular staff figureheads inside the institution and disguises this as just an investigation, with outside (paid-for) help from highly abusive firms such as Control Risks (which we call ‘British Blackwater’ because of its past)

Yesterday we wrote about the “J’accuse” against staff representative Elizabeth Hardon — a highly flawed dossier that the EPO‘s technically inept staff put together. We have decided to write a rebuttal based on our own understanding of the situation. It serves to show what the EPO’s management is really up to. Here is a point-by-point response to the early part of this “J’accuse”:

2.1. acting as an accomplice in a campaign to disseminate information and opinions detrimental to the EPO, its proper functioning and its reputation as well as the reputation of its employees;

Aside from the fact that proof is lacking or insufficient to implicate this one person in “disseminate information” (which in itself is not a crime), it should be no offense to inform others, e.g. journalists, in case something has gone rogue. The use of terms like “accomplice” and “campaign” shows the bias of the accuser. Facts themselves are treated like an enemy now. The word “reputation” is mentioned twice, as if there is some God-given right for the EPO to guard its precious reputation irrespective of the management’s actions.

2.3. disregarding (i) the express instruction of her employer and (ii) her concurrent obligation under Art. 4 of Circulars No. 341 and No. 342 to keep confidential the investigation C- 071/2015.

Some requests are inherently unjust, such as the request to keep an unjust “investigation” (accusations and destruction, as part of union-busting actions) secret. It’s clear why Team Battistelli would want to avoid facing the music. They are trying to save face.

3. The defendant is a Dutch national who joined the Office in 1988 as an examiner at Grade A2.

In other words, the defendant has spent more time at the EPO than Battistelli and all of his French buddies (whom he brought from INPI) combined.

4. She has, for a number of years, been active in the leadership of the Munich local section of the Locals Staff Committee (LSC) and of a staff trade union (SUEPO).

She is provably popular too. That’s why she must be crushed. Move over, Elizabeth; It’s Benoît’s time to shine, but you have evidently stolen his thunder.

5. The background to this report is formed by two recent wider investigations.


6. The first, C-62/2014, was conducted by the Investigative Unit (IU). Its report was submitted to the Administrative Council on 06.03.2015 which initiated and conducted disciplinary case D1/2015. The IU had found C, a member of the Technical Boards of Appeal, guilty of an electronic campaign of unauthorised disclosure and publication of confidential, non-public documents and information as well as of threatening, insulting, defaming, and libellous and/or racist messages to politicians, journalists, bloggers and EPO staff.

These accusations, which have been made by people salaried by (and thus loyal to) Team Battistelli, have been categorically rejected by an independent board. Any convictions coming from the IU should be treated with extreme prejudice. These people’s track record is rather poor.

7. On 12.10.2015, the IU presented the investigation C-62a/2015 reviewing the background of the C-62/2015 case and possible involvement of other parties. Its report found that C had acted with a network of staff and external contacts, including the defendant.

Notice where they’re going here. Guilt by association. If you can’t find a person guilty of something, then look for another person’s alleged actions and try to link these to another person. Welcome to Stalin’s USSR.

8. The President of the EPO has more recently been provided with a summary of findings in IU report C-62b/2015 (Annex I), which were forwarded to him…

IU working for the President and serving him heads on a silver platter. Envision where this is going…

9. The second investigation, C-071/2015, was conducted by external investigators, the firm Control Risk Group, under the authority of the IU, into allegations against unknown suspects of a campaign of harassment and intimidation against

So “Control Risk Group” goons (CRG not even spelled correctly by the EPO, as it should say “Risks”) are now named by the EPO itself and are working “under the authority of the IU”, which works under the authority of the President. So much for “external” investigators. It’s just a waste of money and lipstick on a pig.

10. The Control Risk Group…

OK, so it definitely wasn’t a typo. The EPO doesn’t even know who it’s hiring. It’s “Risks”, not “Risk”. How sloppy can one be? For some background about CRG, see the following articles of ours:

Next come “The Charges”, which range from unbacked by evidence to utterly laughable. It’s something between Kafka and Orwell.

In the interests of brevity, we’ll leave it at that for today. There’s lots more to come. Don’t believe anything that the management says about Hardon (or any other critic of the EPO’s management for that matter).

“The Social Contract is nothing more or less than a vast conspiracy of human beings to lie to and humbug themselves and one another for the general good. Lies are the mortar that bind the savage individual man into the social masonry.”

H.G. Wells

An Introduction and an Overview of European Patent Office (EPO) Scandals

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A view from above, in layman’s terms

A lighthouse

Summary: A beginner’s guide to the EPO crisis, which is basically an altercation/quarrel between the assets of the office, highly knowledgeable patent examiners, and those assigned to manage them, only to pursue completely orthogonal goals that are clearly detrimental to Europe

THIS concise article assumes that the reader has no prior knowledge about the EPO scandals, or that only the EPO’s misleading narrative has been thus far accepted as fact. Links are intentionally omitted so as to make this article self-contained.

The European Patent Office, or EPO (not to be confused with the drug), is a multinational organisation whose members are mostly EU states. EPO staff is located primarily at the centre of Europe although the staff comes from a wide range of places (EPO members). Due to the way the EPO was set up more than 40 years ago — predating the European Union by several decades — no single country’s laws apply. This means that human rights and various protections are unexplored territory, which in practice means that the EPO’s administration can neglect staff’s health (as it does), ignore court rulings (as has become very notorious a point), chill freedom of speech, and lobby politicians without any apparent restrictions.

The EPO enjoys a monopoly in Europe. It is supposed to be a benevolent monopoly, but in practice it has gone rogue. Rather than adhere to public interests when it comes to patent scope, the EPO now operates like a private business and seeks to maximise profit. It means that patent scope has gone off the rails and to make matters worse, incestuous relationships between large international companies and EPO management have developed, leading to unequal service to different applicants. Some receive preferential treatment, whereas others suffer neglect, with applications taking even more than a decade before being handled.

The EPO practices gross censorship and intimidation against critics. Its grossly overpaid (and at times under-qualified, chosen based on nepotism) managerial staff staged a de facto coup. It now repels, discourages, and even ejects anyone who is even remotely sceptical of the management’s choices, often made in secret without public scrutiny being even tolerated.

The patterns of the EPO’s abuses are overwhelmingly detrimental to those who help sponsor it.

First, the EPO allows applicants to receive abstract patents, patents on life, etc. and it generally blurs the gap between European patent regulations and those from the United States, often to the benefit of foreign corporations with highly dubious ethical standards. Patent maximalism, which is further facilitated by a systemic hogwash or synthesis, threatens to bring patent trolls (non-practising litigious firms) to Europe, essentially taxing everything, to the detriment of every single ‘consumer’ in Europe.

Second, the EPO disregards human rights, especially in its pursuit of the objectives above. Repressions inside and outside the EPO include institutional abuse and violation of the EPO’s own rules, censorship of the media, alleged DDOS attacks (technical or physical) against critics, legal bullying against critics, and illegal surveillance on staff and visitors, not to mention on journalists. These are the hallmarks of imperialistic regimes.

Third, in order to control everything and everyone by fear, the EPO openly demonstrates its maniacal tendencies and makes an example of scapegoats inside and outside the organisation. Staff suicides are a likely outcome of these maniacal moves, crushing of protests is a de facto standard (in spite of EU laws), union-busting is now taken for granted (with the helping hand of private firms from the outside), and there is not even due process. The management of the EPO, which has become a cabal surrounding the megalomaniac President, is systematically abolishing workers’ rights and acts like an absolute power (a state within the state of Germany for the most part). The President is the judge, the jury, and the executioner. In order to secure this unacceptable state of affairs, the management insists on ignoring court orders, crushing oversight or critical (of the management) branches like the boards, tightening the relationship with the Administrative Council by means of entryism (even accepting into its ranks people who are alleged to have bribed, and even worse), character assassination or defamation of (typically anonymous) critics, and disseminating propaganda or misinformation in the media (sometimes literally paying the media or paying vast amounts of money to PR agencies).

To EPO insiders, the EPO seems almost unstoppable. No matter how many abuses the management resorts to, it’ll always get away with them. The EPO’s workers, therefore, harnesses power in numbers, in spite of the management’s relentless efforts to crush anyone who dares organise the staff for direct action.

Staff complains about the above points, as well as monetary waste, nepotism in top-level appointments, conflicts of interest, and so on. All of these crises put not only the management at risk but also threaten the reputation and the status of the EPO itself, hence the jobs of patent examiners. It is clear that the goal of the angry staff is to actually save the EPO and salvage its reputation, whereas the existing management is just looking after its own interests, hence it is working hard to silence and suppress the staff.

Software Patents and EPO Coverage

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 9:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Software development environments neither need nor want patents

Software development

Summary: An interlude regarding the subject of software patents in Europe and the United States

THE main subject of this site has always been software patents (we are not anti-patents in general). It’s why the site came into existence in the first place. There is a war going on in the software domain and it is fought between protectionists and programmers. Alice denialists typically fall under the former group and Free/Open Source software developers are just a subset of the latter (it includes proprietary software programmers too).

Alice denialists, who are mostly patent lawyers, only ever choose to comment (cherry-picking) about Alice when it’s some Microsoft-connected patent aggressor like Finjan managing to convince a court to uphold a software patent, as we recently noted. This new article by Monte Cooper and Cam Phan from Orrick says: “This goes to show that despite the significant shift that has occurred since the Alice decision, all hope is not lost for plaintiffs asserting patents in the software space.”

“There is a war going on in the software domain and it is fought between protectionists and programmers.”Well, Alice denialists wouldn’t want to admit that SCOTUS and the USPTO don’t quite tolerate software patents like they used to. Even the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), which is said to have brought software patents to this world, is finding itself rejecting a lot of software patents these days, on grounds of abstractness.

Despite the EPO‘s troubling leanings towards software patents in Europe (because it helps management improve so-called EPO ‘productivity’ figures, measured in misguided terms or yardsticks like number of patents granted), it’s still not easy to get patents on software in Europe, either.

The mainstream media is increasingly covering various EPO scandals these days (there are many scandals, not one). It happens on a daily basis right now. See Stefan Krempl’s new article in German (if SUEPO doesn’t produce a translation, maybe one of our readers wants to).

The European Commission and second-biggest EU establishment — the EPO — apparently have something in common. The EPO is clearly dysfunctional right now and “at the EPO,” according to this new article, “oppositions can take 12 years” (if not longer).

There are many aspects to the EPO situation and our Wiki page breaks these down into various loose categories. Some readers have asked us for an overview of everything. This, in preparation for the protest on Thursday, is something we intend to do next.

GNU/Linux Hosted by Microsoft Means Lock-in, Ransom, and Back Doors

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 9:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux Foundation

Summary: News of interest to anyone who seriously considers Microsoft a suitable host for GNU/Linux instances

THE Linux Foundation no longer shocks us when it decides to become even more financially dependent on Microsoft. We have written many articles on this subject — articles in which we explained many of the reasons why this was a bad idea. Our focus these days is software patents, not Microsoft’s subversive attacks on Linux. This is why we don’t want to compose any more long articles on the subject of today’s Linux Foundation announcement, however disturbing it may be. The arguments made back in the days (see the 10 links below) are still valid and applicable today.

To remind people of what it means to host with Microsoft, consider this new article titled “Microsoft begins migrating Office 365 SMB customers to new plans”.

“Proof that once Microsoft can ransom users’ data,” a reader of ours called it, “they can pull the rug out from under them at any future date without notice.”

The same would inevitably go for people who decided to host GNU/Linux with Microsoft. Control is lost and Microsoft’s price-gouging practices are like no other company’s practices. We already highlighted other malicious business plans Microsoft would subject clients to, such as in-place Linux-to-Windows migrations with financial incentives. Watch what Microsoft is doing to Android right now.

One must also bear in mind that Microsoft’s software is designed for remote control by people who are in power, notably the NSA. Consider this new article which shows just how deep this goes:

It’s nearly 2016, and Windows DNS servers can be pwned remotely

Microsoft is closing out the year with a fix for 71 security vulnerabilities in Windows Server, client-side Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, and Edge.

Among the patches are two vulnerabilities that are already being exploited in the wild for elevation of privilege and remote code execution.

Put in very simple terms, DNS, which can serve as a gateway to GNU/Linux-based sites, can be remotely controlled through vulnerabilities which Microsoft didn’t bother addressing until they were already exploited by players other than the NSA et al.

There are many old articles which come to mind in light of today’s mistake from the Linux Foundation. Among them:

  1. Microsoft Gradually Embraces, Extends, Extinguishes Linux Foundation as a Foundation of GNU/Linux
  2. Only Months After Microsoft’s Ramji Enters the Linux Foundation Microsoft Gradually Joins Him
  3. Message to LinuxCon Regarding Microsoft: “It is Necessary to Get Behind Someone in Order to Stab Them in the Back.” -Sir Humphrey Appleby
  4. More People With Microsoft Roots Enter the Linux Foundation, Occupying Top Positions
  5. They ‘R’ Coming: More Microsoft Money for the Linux Foundation
  6. Microsoft is Interjecting Itself Into GNU/Linux and Free Software News, Even Events and Foundations
  7. The ‘Microsoft Loves Linux’ Baloney is Still Being Floated in the Media While Microsoft Attacks Linux With Patents, New Lawsuits Reported
  8. Microsoft is Trying to Subsume GNU/Linux and Free/Libre Software
  9. The Linux Foundation Appoints Former Microsoft Manager for Management of OpenDaylight
  10. When ‘Former’ Microsoft Influence Lands in Free/Open Source Software

We will probably refrain, as matter of principle in fact, from any further comments regarding the Linux Foundation, at least for the time being (we have a lot more to say). Not because it’s unimportant but because it wouldn’t be our top priority at this point in time…

We have a lot to say about the EPO these days and it is generally more urgent (people’s careers or lives are at stake). We write about it as quickly as we receive new material in order to cope or catch up with the growing backlog. We have reached a critical point and tomorrow there will be massive protests in Munich again.

Links 9/12/2015: Linux Foundation Endorses PRISM, End for Firefox OS

Posted in News Roundup at 5:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Hardware

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Major Electric Utility Dumps ALEC over Clean Power Plan

      The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has suffered the loss of another major corporate sponsor, the Guardian reported Tuesday, with the electric utility American Electric Power (AEP) announcing it will no longer provide the climate change denial group with funding from 2016.

      AEP becomes the 107th identified corporation to have withdrawn funding since the Center for Media and Democracy launched the ALEC Exposed project in 2011, joining others such as Shell, BP, Google, Microsoft and Facebook.

      The loss of AEP will be particularly troubling for ALEC. AEP lobbyist Paul Loeffelman is still listed on the ALEC website as the private sector chairman for the group’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force. This task force is the arm of ALEC promoting climate change denial to state legislators and driving its anti-environmental agenda, which includes working to block President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and oppose the development of renewable energy in the United States.

    • ‘We’re overrunning the Planet’: Sir David Attenborough’s fears over what the swelling population is doing to his favourite holiday destination – The Great Barrier Reef

      But Sir David has warned that future generations of holidaymakers could soon be unable to enjoy the same experience because of the damage global warming is doing to the reef.

      Speaking at a screening of his new documentary on the reef at Australia House in London last week, he said: ‘The real danger is the rising temperatures and acidity and the effect that has – if the acidity grows to a certain limit it will damage the coral itself.

  • Finance

    • This Australian Says He and His Dead Friend Invented Bitcoin

      A monthlong Gizmodo investigation has uncovered compelling and perplexing new evidence in the search for Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin. According to a cache of documents provided to Gizmodo which were corroborated in interviews, Craig Steven Wright, an Australian businessman based in Sydney, and Dave Kleiman, an American computer forensics expert who died in 2013, were involved in the development of the digital currency.

    • Bitcoin’s Creator Satoshi Nakamoto Is Probably This Unknown Australian Genius

      Even as his face towered 10 feet above the crowd at the Bitcoin Investor’s Conference in Las Vegas, Craig Steven Wright was, to most of the audience of crypto and finance geeks, a nobody.

      The 44-year-old Australian, Skyping into the D Hotel ballroom’s screen, wore the bitcoin enthusiast’s equivalent of camouflage: a black blazer and a tieless, rumpled shirt, his brown hair neatly parted. His name hadn’t made the conference’s list of “featured speakers.” Even the panel’s moderator, a bitcoin blogger named Michele Seven, seemed concerned the audience wouldn’t know why he was there. Wright had hardly begun to introduce himself as a “former academic who does research that no one ever hears about,” when she interrupted him.

    • Reported bitcoin ‘founder’ Craig Wright’s home raided by Australian police

      Police have raided the home of an Australian tech entrepreneur identified by two US publications as one of the early developers of the digital currency bitcoin.

      On Wednesday afternoon, police gained entry to a home belonging to Craig Wright, who had hours earlier been identified in investigations by Gizmodo and Wired, based on leaked transcripts of legal interviews and files. Both publications have indicated that they believe Wright to have been involved in the creation of the cryptocurrency.

    • UK TTIP Debate Tomorrow: Please Contact MPs Today

      It seems that there will be a rare UK debate about TTIP tomorrow. This is a great opportunity to contact your MPs and let them know what you think. Here’s what I’ve just sent – you can use WritetoThem to make things easier.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Trump Is Devouring The GOP, And Fox News Fed It To Him

      Back on September 17, as Donald Trump basked in the post-Labor Day glow of being the Republican Party’s undisputed frontrunner, he spoke to a boisterous crowd in New Hampshire and took a question from an especially boisterous fan. “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American,” said the Trump t-shirt-wearing man. “We have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That’s my question: When can we get rid of them?”

  • Privacy

    • Final Text Of CISA Apparently Removed What Little Privacy Protections Had Been In There

      Back in October, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to approve CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, which has nothing to with cybersecurity at all, and is almost entirely a surveillance bill in disguise. Want to know the proof: many of the most vocal supporters of CISA, who talked up how important “cybersecurity” is these days are the very same people now looking to undermine encryption.

    • Save Crypto: Tell the White House We Can’t Sacrifice Security

      The Obama administration just responded to the 104,109 people who asked the president to stand up for strong encryption. The response—penned by Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer Ed Felton [sic] and Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel—acknowledged the importance of the conversation but offered no conclusions. Instead, they asked us to share our thoughts on encryption.

    • Should Facebook turn in ISIS supporters?

      On Friday the FBI classified the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, as “an act of terrorism”. Tashfeen Malik and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, don’t seem to have been in direct contact with ISIS, but the extremist militant group called the couple “supporters” on Saturday.

    • No phone, no problem: NSA will target the cloud instead

      As of last week, the National Security Agency can no longer cull through Americans’ phone records, but it can continue to eavesdrop on our emails, video chats, and documents. The NSA can keep metadata already collected until Feb. 29, 2016, and your phone data will continue to be collected by telecom companies.

      But the fact that phone records can no longer be easily searched is nearly meaningless to the world of cloud computing. If the data is still up for grabs — and it is — then we’re likely to have the same concerns we did before the USA Freedom Act that curtailed some of the NSA’s activities last week.

    • “Yeah, we ditched Google.”

      After we gave it some more thought, we realized we were hypocrites. Since inception, SpiderOak has been an advocate for online privacy. Unlike many others in our market, we strive to be very clear about how our product design truly delivers Zero Knowledge privacy for our users. We tell potential supporters, what matters most is who has the keys and how they are stored. But you can read more about how we solved those problems from our many other posts our site.

      For the past five years, we had been using Google Analytics for monitoring our web traffic. Innocent enough decision, right? Then we asked ourselves, “are we contributing to the mass surveillance of the web by using a feature-rich, yet free service that tracks web visitors?” Sadly. we didn’t like the answer to that question. “Yes, by using Google Analytics, we are furthering the erosion of privacy on the web.”

    • The NSA might be spying on Tor users

      Privacy and encryption have been two very hot topics for the last few years. The Tor browser can help protect your privacy while online, but it may come at the cost of being spied on by the NSA.

    • If You Do This, the NSA Will Spy on You

      Worried about the NSA monitoring you? If you take certain steps to mask your identity online, such as using the encryption service TOR, or even investigating an alternative to the buggy Windows operating system, you’re all but asking for “deep” monitoring by the NSA.

  • Civil Rights

    • Henry Jackson Society as Bad as Donald Trump

      The Henry Jackson Society seconds staff to the Quilliam Foundation. This extraordinary organisation is a career vehicle for “reformed jihadists” to milk huge salaries and luxury lifestyles from government money, in return for fronting an organisation run by the security services. Quilliam specialises in denouncement of Muslim organisations and talking up the Jihadi threat, offering “expert advice” on the government’s anti-free speech strategy. At the same time, it seeks to maximise the income of its directors. One interesting collaboration to make money was its collaboration with the current head of Pergida UK, and former head of the English Defence League, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (Alias Tommy Robinson).

      Quilliam have received millions from the taxpayer for their dubious “work”. But their application for Home Office funding to split with Yaxley-Lennon remains an episode beyond belief. Several of Quilliam’s staff are “lent” by the CIA-funded Henry Jackson Society.

    • Jacob Appelbaum at Aaron Swartz Day 2015

      Jacob Appelbaum read a powerful statement at this year’s Aaron Swartz Day Celebration. I’m still processing everything he revealed to us that night.

    • How the TPP Will Affect You and Your Digital Rights

      The Internet is a diverse ecosystem of private and public stakeholders. By excluding a large sector of communities—like security researchers, artists, libraries, and user rights groups—trade negotiators skewed the priorities of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) towards major tech companies and copyright industries that have a strong interest in maintaining and expanding their monopolies of digital services and content. Negotiated in secret for several years with overwhelming influence from powerful multinational corporate interests, it’s no wonder that its provisions do little to nothing to protect our rights online or our autonomy over our own devices. For example, everything in the TPP that increases corporate rights and interests is binding, whereas every provision that is meant to protect the public interest is non-binding and is susceptible to get bulldozed by efforts to protect corporations.

    • Carmichael: An Extraordinary Lack of Humility

      Despite al this, I would not be tremendously concerned about the result if Alistair had the decency to be a bit chastened by it. It is only because of our ridiculously undemocratic electoral system that representation is so skewed. You didn’t ought to get over 95% of the seats on 52% of the votes, and I am not sure what is gained by magnifying that other wrong. But any mixed feelings I have on those grounds are dispelled by the utterly inappropriate triumphalism the Lib Dems are displaying, as though to be found a blatant liar by a court is something to be proud of. The brass neck of it all is sickening.

    • CNN’s Don Lemon Blasts Frank Gaffney And The Poll Trump Cited To Legitimize His Ban On Muslims Entering The US
    • After Trump Proposes Ban On Muslims, Rupert Murdoch Calls For “Refugee Pause”

      News Corporation and 21st Century Fox executive co-chairman Rupert Murdoch cited “radical Muslim dangers” to endorse a “complete refugee pause” one day after Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump called for a total ban on Muslims immigrating to or visiting the United States.

      On December 7, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United states until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” citing a flawed poll from an Islamophobic organization to claim that Muslims are a danger to America.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Our ISPs Are Using Our Insatiable Need for Streaming Video Against Us

      All of our YouTube party playlists and Netlix-and-chill date nights are starting to add up: streaming video now accounts for 70 percent of broadband usage, according to data newly released by broadband services company Sandvine.

      This statistic might look pretty innocuous and simple on its face, but our dependence on massive amounts of data for our daily use has some dangerous implications. Because cable providers would rather you be watching actual cable programming versus streaming shows from Hulu and Netflix, they impose arbitrary data caps on your Internet usage, like the ones Comcast has been quietly implementing in markets across the country. You end up shelling out for something that costs the providers next to nothing.


      And T-Mobile isn’t the only culprit: on the broadband side, Comcast is launching its own streaming service that—you guessed it—won’t count toward your household’s data cap. This practice, called “zero-rating,” is as much a threat to net neutrality as anything else has been, directing consumers to certain data channels and making the free market less free.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright in Europe: Minimal Reform to Avoid Crucial Questions

        Today, the European Commission has presented its proposal to reform copyright law in the European Union. This package includes a proposal for a regulation on portability of online services, as well as a communication to announcing future reforms to follow in 2016. The European Commission has thus confirmed that it does not wish to reopen the file on the InfoSoc directive 1, reflecting its reluctance and lack of ambition on this issue.

      • EU Commission unveils next steps for copyright reform, including draft content portability regulation
      • Copyfail: Why WIPO Can’t Fix Copyright

        It has been obvious for decades that copyright law is ill-matched for the opportunities and challenges created by the Internet. It’s been equally obvious, however, that sensible copyright policies face huge practical barriers, in large part because few are willing to challenge the default assumption of copyright law that every time a copy is made the rightsholder’s permission is required. That assumption makes no sense in the digital age, but it’s hugely difficult to dislodge, especially at the international stage.

      • Anti-Piracy Lawyer Milked Copyright Holders For Millions

        Leaks from a confidential auditor report into the activities of bankrupt anti-piracy law firm Johan Schlüter suggest that the company defrauded its entertainment industry clients out of $25m. One lawyer was singled out for most criticism after enriching both herself and family members.

      • Used eBook Sellers Receive Threats of Jail Time

        People selling unwanted eBooks online have been warned that their activities could result in six months imprisonment. However, anti-piracy group BREIN, the alleged sender of the threats, says it is not responsible. Nevertheless, given a legal case to be heard next week, the timing is certainly curious.

      • BitTorrent Still Dominates Internet’s Upstream Traffic

        New data published by Canadian broadband management company Sandvine reveals that BitTorrent can be credited for a quarter of all upstream Internet traffic in North America, more than any other traffic source. With heavy competition from Netflix and other real-time entertainment, BitTorrent’s overall traffic share is falling.

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