Thursday 19 July 2012

EU ignores will of the people after ACTA was rejected

The European Parliament rejected ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, with a large majority on 4 July 2012, but just one week later the EU is trying to push back the rejected agreement through the back door, that is, through CETA, the EU–Canada trade agreement that includes measures similar to ACTA.

The negotiations between EU and Canada on CETA started in November 2009 and will probably be ended by the end of this year. Just like ACTA, the trade deal has been drafted in secret but leaked documents, dated February 2012, have shown parts of ACTA being introduced in this new agreement.

MEP Nigel Farage drew the attention over the similarities between ACTA and CETA:

If the commission has a glimmer of respect for the voice of the people it would change CETA as soon as possible and stop trying to bring ACTA into legislative life by stealth. ACTA is like a Frankenstein which has been bolted together and keeps on moving. It is dangerous and must be brought to an end immediately.

Michael Geist:

The backdoor ACTA approach creates enormous risks for Canada's trade ambitions. Given the huge anti-ACTA movement, the Canada-EU trade deal could face widespread European opposition with CETA becoming swept up in similar protests.

Monday 16 July 2012

Porn IP complaint attorney gets fined

In January, a federal judge in Dallas imposed $10,000 in sanctions on the Texas-based lawyer Evan Stone and required him to pay $22,040 in attorneys' fees. Mr. Stone, in his zeal to get the names of those who illegally downloaded a German porn flick Der Gute Onkel, had knowingly sent out subpoenas without the court's permission.

From The Wall Street Journal:

U.S. District Judge David Godbey used words like "wanton" and "grave" to describe Mr. Stone's conduct. The judge accused Mr. Stone of transforming the use of subpoenas "from a bona fide state-sanctioned inspection into private snooping."

Mr. Stone appealed the sanction to the New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. On Thursday, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit swept Mr. Stone's arguments aside, saying he never raised them in the lower court so they weren't preserved for appeal. The court was unsparing in its criticism of Mr. Stone:

No miscarriage of justice will result from the sanctions imposed as a result of Stone's flagrant violation of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the district court's orders. Stone committed those violations as an attempt to repeat his strategy of suing anonymous internet users for allegedly downloading pornography illegally, using the powers of the court to find their identity, then shaming or intimidating them into settling for thousands of dollars, a tactic that he has employed all across the state and that has been replicated by others across the country.

Sunday 15 July 2012

Blowback from IP Imperialism

TechDirt warns us about the dangers of patents and how China is using them to harm foreign competitors:

For many years, US companies and government officials complained publicly and privately that China just didn't "respect" patents. They would point to how various Chinese companies were famous for making knockoffs of various products as evidence of this, and they'd put strong diplomatic pressure on China to both "respect" foreign patents more and beef up its own patent system. Of course, for years, we've been warning about just how stupid this is. China recognizes that patents are really a protectionist tool, and is using them as such. It has certainly increased its patenting effort... but nearly every single major patent lawsuit in China has been about punishing foreign companies and blocking competition to domestic Chinese companies.

Chinese companies and politicians must be laughing at just how self-defeating the Americans and Europeans are. Despite it being obvious that patents harm the economy, American companies and politicians will still continue to insist that China needs to "strengthen" its patent system and EU Commissioners like Karel De Gucht continues to promote ACTA. If ACTA (the so called Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) would come into play, Chinese companies would be able to enforce their patents in the US, Canada and the EU, harming even more companies.