03.28.16

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Preserving Material About the European Patent Office (EPO) and Abuses by EPO Management

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Keeping as much information as is publicly available online for good

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Summary: Techrights amasses information about EPO abuses, but there are cases where such information gets taken down and we explore/explain why

At long last, after experimentation nearly two months ago, SUEPO changes its Web site’s design and adds an RSS feed. It has been getting difficult to open the SUEPO Web page (necessary in the absence of an RSS feed) because of many embedded videos that accompanied it, never mind the endless wall of text (going years back).

Whatever happens at the European Patent Office (and will happen in months/years to come), it is important to keep properly documented what happened over the past few years in order to serve as a cautionary tale. SUEPO already removed some of the content from its older site/incarnation (like the Drupal-powered site) and was at times, under pressure from EPO management, removing some material. We still do our very best to never let stuff simply vanish (deletionism/revisionism a possibility thereafter). The only thing ever removed here (after more than 20,000 blog posts) was a long post about the EPO. It later turned out that after we removed it people had already made copies from Google cache and pasted the whole thing elsewhere (not within our control and completely without our knowledge). The EPO's management was the first ever to send us a threatening legal letter. Another such threat was sent to us about a week ago after the EPO's management had expressed anger over a TV program. We have received a lot of feedback since the videos (of the TV program) were removed. The videos started with information about one of 5 recent EPO suicides, blaming it (at least partly) on the Investigative Unit. One reader told us that the “most brutal reorganisation (as part of the reforms) has apparently been carried out in Patent Administration. Two (or three?) of the Munich colleagues who committed suicide worked in Patent Administration units. The working pressure must be extremely high there.”

In an attempt to figure out why takedown of the videos was demanded we considered various views, some of which provided compelling explanations and potential remedies.

“I expected the EPO to threaten BRtv,” told us one reader, “however I don’t get why they (BRtv) agree so easily?!?!? BR should rather be glad that Techrights, SUEPO and others spread their revealing report, shouldn’t they?”

This reader added, “perhaps is this only something from the BR to remain in full control of their material?”

“It would be easier to believe if it didn’t take so long and the EPO didn’t make the two internal communications that it made,” I responded. “Bavarian politicians now intervene. The video supports culpability for deaths.”

A reasonable explanation for BR’s takedown request was provided by another reader, who remarked as follows (redacted):

I checked the Mediathek-View app, and found that the original, German, un-undertitled “Kontrovers” videos are still present there. Videos of the BR-produced “Kontrovers” feature are usually staying there in the Mediathek for a very! long! time! – see other “Kontrovers” videos. These are usually NOT removed after 8 days, or four weeks (unlike normal productions).

So this is one important conclusion for you, me and the public.

So you can use the mere presence of the BR EPO-Video (in the Mediathek) as a “canary” that BR has apparently not received a take-down notice from EPO (or is ignoring such a letter)!

Another issue is the copyright status of the transcript.

(DE undertitles) and the translations (FR, EN), which — in my view — are added-value, and intellectual property of the translators (in this case: WTF license). But I am not sure and you should contact a lawyer, whether you can still publish the two (three) text versions. From view of the DE transcriber and the EN/FR translators: they do not claim any rights for sure.

Here is the up-to-date information (23.03.2016)

The “Story” (Bayerischer Rundfunk/Bayerisches Fernsehen “Kontrovers” 02.03.2016) is still available in the (official) producer’s ARD MEDIATHEK:

Page with background information text

Video selection page

Direct URLs to the videos:

High Definition Video

Single Definition Video

Small Definition Video

I hope you understood what I wrote in addition, namely that one can regard the presence of that specific video in the ARD MEDIATHEK as a “canary” (that ARD / BR is part of ARD / have not received a take-down notice from the EPO, or is ignoring this).

[...]

Normally, due to German law, broadcast videos must not be available longer than 7 days (otherwise, the TV/Radiostations WOULD fall under Internet law, as Internet provider, and not as journals/publishers laws.) This is the legal background, why TV/Radio stations in Germany must usually remove their Mediathek copies after 7 days. But for special programms (Eigenproduktionen), a different rule exist, luckily!

Similar information came to our attention at around the same time.

As one reader put it, “first of all many thanks for all the excellent work done so far. Your informative contribution is essential for the public and the 8800 employees and former employees of the EPO.” Here is a slightly redacted (for privacy) version of the explanation:

Allow me to comment on the article: “Why Bayerischer Rundfunk Videos About the European Patent Office Have Been Removed”

I try to keep it short. The Bayerische Rundfunk (BR) is the public broadcasting authority of the Bavarian free state (Freistaat Bayern). The same kind of authority exists in the other German states (Länder). I guess they compare with the BBC. The trouble with the public broadcast is that they are NOT independent but their Masters voice. This is a structural flaw. Another problem is a lack of financial transparency and a questionable governance. I guess you see where I am heading to…

The BR and other “Staatsfunk” are structurally the same kind of liars as the EPO. They don’t serve the public: They serve themselves. All public TV in Germany collect over 8 billion euros a year. Imagine what you can do with such an amount of money. And no transparency and a bad governance.

There is a huge lack of acceptance of a new financing model which doesn’t rely anymore on the fact of owing a TV set or not, but on having a roof over your head. Every household in Germany has to pay 17,50€ a month, whether you use their service or not. The public TV also dismisses critics are as coming from right wing extremists (Godwin’s Law).

All the German tribunals dismissed so far the complaints as ungrounded although there are plenty of independent expert assessments (one coming from the federal minister of finance!!) proving that the new financing model is illegal.

After FIFA and EPO, BR and consorts are to be the next big scandal in Germany.

Therefore, do not expect much understanding for the EPO problems from the German public TV. Germany, Bavaria and Munich have a big profit from the EPO therefore I don’t expect Germany to change a situation from which they draw a maximum benefit.

Regarding “EPO and BR”, another person wrote to us with similar observations at hand (redacted for privacy/anonymity as well):

I am really bothered by the fact that the most effective blow to EPO in decades, has been silenced. These videos got some attention [...] many of them will only reach error messages or empty pages now.

I just checked the original link on BR and apparently the entire video of 18 minutes is still there, which is good. I had recorded the TV program myself, by the way. Also, the people who made the subtitles must have copies in their hard drives, with and without subtitles.

[...]

Another workaround could be to contact the authors and get their agreement. [...] I am tempted to believe that BR did it under EPO’s instigation, but then again they still might have some genuine interest in casting light on the issue.

Finally, if the subtitled (or even some synchronized translations) come out again in a way or another, the last attempt to silence them will actually emphasize the message, it might be another bigger blow against EPO.

Noting again that the videos are accessible online, one person added:

Can you tell me who demanded you to take down the Kontrovers video?

The video is available on the Federal ARD web site, and should theoretically remain available for the next five years.

(The media is actually hosted by BR and served its CDN).

There are quite a few user-uploaded ARD and ZDF videos on Youtube, so there doesn’t seem to be a blanket policy. I wonder whether Bayerischer Rundfunk has a different policy.

Regards,

[redacted]

The letter (just to clarify) was sent by BR. In the interests of transparency and clarify, below is a redacted letter.

BR letter

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