Legal questions about ACTA

Sources say that the European Parliament’s Trade Committee (INTA) will tomorrow consider asking the Parliament’s Legal service to answer questions about ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement). Here are some questions the FFII would like to suggest. The questions may resolve uncertainties regarding ACTA. 1. Does ACTA deviate from the EU acquis? Continue Reading →

ACTA is at peak snake oil

The recent European Commission IPR strategy paper also mentions ACTA. It is quite odd how they highlight an unsubstantiated claim that the ACTA text was in line with the acquis despite evidence of the contrary. The EU should also be in a position to ratify the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) once it has been signed by the contracting parties in the course of 2011. ACTA, which is fully in line with the EU acquis, is an important step in improving the international fight against IPR infringements, in cooperation with countries sharing the same concerns and views. The Commission will table its proposal for an EU decision to sign the agreement in the coming weeks. Continue Reading →

New version of the ACTA text

The EU Commission published a new version of the ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) text (pdf). A Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan announcement mentions an April 15 round of negotiations: “The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was opened for signature on May 1, following its adoption by participants in its negotiations on April 15.” Changes in the text

removed: “3 December 2010” (the date the prior “final” text was made.)

changed: “This Agreement shall remain open for signature by participants in its negotiation,17 and by any other WTO Members the participants may agree to by consensus, from 31 March 2011 until 31 March 2013.” To: “This Agreement shall remain open for signature by participants in its negotiation,17 and by any other WTO Members the participants may agree to by consensus, from 1 May 2011 until 1 May 2013.” There do not seem to be any other changes. Continue Reading →

FFII calls upon European Parliament to resolve uncertainties regarding ACTA

Brussels, 24 May 2011 — The European Parliament should decisively resolve uncertainties regarding ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement), according to an open letter to the Members of the European Parliament by the FFII (Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure). The FFII urges the Parliament to seek an opinion of the European Court of Justice on the compatibility of ACTA with the EU Treaties, and to commission independent assessments of the effects ACTA will have on access to medicine, diffusion of green technologies needed to fight climate change, fundamental rights, innovation, small and medium sized companies and a fair balance of interests. “We now know the devastating effects that IP (‘intellectual property’) enforcement may have on societies”, the FFII says in the letter. A few years after the European Community ratified the 1994 WTO TRIPS agreement, the AIDS epidemic took millions of lives in Africa. Protected by TRIPS, pharmaceutical companies sold AIDS medicine in Africa for prices higher than in the US. Continue Reading →

Rightsholders afraid of ECJ verdict

Some US rightsholder associations and industry players do not want the European Parliament to ask the European Court of Justice (ECJ) about the inconsistencies of the ACTA treaty with the European treaties. The letter is directed to Polish MEP Jerzy Buzek who is the President of our European Parliament and a member of the European Peoples Party (EPP) group. ACTA Trade Mark Lobby(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })(); Continue Reading →

The EU Commission lacks basic reading skills

In January 2011, prominent European academics issued an “Opinion of European Academics on Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” (ACTA). The academics invite the European institutions, in particular the European Parliament, and the national legislators and governments to withhold consent of ACTA, “…as long as significant deviations from the EU acquis or serious concerns on fundamental rights, data protection, and a fair balance of interests are not properly addressed”. In April 2011, the European Commission’s services put on-line comments to the European Academics’ Opinion on ACTA. The Commission denies ACTA is incompatible with EU law. The Commission fails to make its point in a convincing way. Continue Reading →

Commissioner Malmström delays revocation of EU data retention directive

Brussels, April 18th – Today the European Commission adopted an evaluation report of the data retention directive. EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström presented the report at a Brussels press conference. “Cecilia Malmström artificially delays an overdue revocation of the data retention directive and only presents an evaluation report instead”, comments FFII network expert Stephan Uhlmann. Transposition of the directive has been uneven, controversial and the differences between the legislations adopted by Member States create irritations. Malmström admitted the directive does not guarantee that data is stored, retrieved and used in full compliance with the right to privacy and protection of personal data, and this has led courts to annul the legislation transposing the Directive in some Member States. Continue Reading →

Document Freedom Day Award in Berlin, Germany

On the 30th of March, 2011, the FFII and FSFE awarded the DFD Award for its use of Open Standards in broadcasting content. Berlin and Hamburg Fellows joined the event to celebrate the important role of in spreading Document Freedom, eat a piece of pie, and have a chat about Freedom and Open Source Software and Open Document formats. Press review for the Berlin event:

2011-03-30 DE Heise: wegen Ogg-Theora-Unterstützung ausgezeichnet
2011-03-30 EN The H: receives Document Freedom Day award from FSFE and FFII
2011-03-30 DE Golem: FFII und FSFE ehren für Inhalte im Ogg-Theora-Format
2011-03-30 DE Readers Edition: Die Netzversion der Tagesschau ist “offen”
2011-03-30 DE Linux Community: Eine Torte für offene Formate FSFE und FFII zeichnen ARD für freie Formate bei Online-Tagesschau aus
2011-03-30 DE Linux Magazin: FFII und FSFE zeichnen ARD für Einsatz von Ogg aus
2011-03-30 DE Offene Standards: Singapur, München, Tagesschau und der Rest der Welt
2011-03-30 DE Prolinux: Auszeichnungen für den Einsatz offener Standards für und München

Continue Reading →

FFII recommends EU to remove barriers for startups

Berlin, March 31st 2011 — The FFII answered a consultation call from the European Commission General Directorate Internal Market on the enforcement of intellectual property rights. For the EU to help startup companies, the FFII advises to reduce market entrance risks for innovative companies. Most SME and startup companies that support FFII operate in digital markets. In digital markets innovators are often confronted with patent minefields. “You have to draw a clear distinction between counterfeiting and business conflicts over the scope of intellectual property rights. Continue Reading → awarded for the use of Open Standards

Berlin, 30. March 2011 – Today the ARD internet platform will receive an award for the use of Open Standards at the “Document Freedom Day”. The prize is awarded by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure e.V. (FFII) for offering the broadcasted shows also in the free video format “Ogg Theora”. In Berlin FSFE and FFII will hand over a certificate and a cake with the “rOgg On!” label on to Sven Bruns, technical manager at Continue Reading →

Startup companies and the IP playing field

FFII response to the Consultation on the Commission Report on the enforcement of intellectual property rights

(Also available as pdf)

March 2011


We would like to thank the European Commission for this opportunity to provide feedback on the Report. To stimulate startup companies, the EU legal situation should minimize market entrance risks for innovators. Startup companies are often confronted with patent minefields. Even a mere allegation of infringement may easily lead to market exclusion. Startup companies often do not have enough resources to litigate. Continue Reading →