jm + ec   20

European Commission study finds no link between piracy and lower sales of digital content
According to the report, an average of 51% of adults and 72% of minors in the EU have pirated digital content, with Poland and Spain averaging the highest rates of all countries surveyed. Nevertheless, displacement rates (the impact of piracy on legitimate sales) were found to be negligible or non-existent for music, books and games, while rates for films and TV were in line with previous digital piracy studies.

Most interesting is the fact that the study found that illegal game downloads actually lead to an increase in legal purchases. The report concludes that tactics like video game microtransactions are proving effective in converting illegal users to paying users.

The full report goes in-depth regarding potential factors influencing piracy and the challenges of accurately tracking its impact on legitimate sales, but the researchers ultimately conclude that there is no robust statistical evidence that illegal downloads reduce legal sales. That's big news, which makes it all the more troubling that the EU effectively buried it for two years.
piracy  eu  studies  downloads  ec  games  movies  books  content 
22 days ago by jm
Anti-innovation: EU excludes open source from new tech standards
EC up to its old anti-competitive tricks:
The European Commission is surprisingly coy about what exactly ['open'] means in this context. It is only on the penultimate page of the ICT Standardisation Priorities document that we finally read the following key piece of information: "ICT standardisation requires a balanced IPR [intellectual property rights] policy, based on FRAND licensing terms."

It's no surprise that the Commission was trying to keep that particular detail quiet, because FRAND licensing—the acronym stands for "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory"—is incompatible with open source, which will therefore find itself excluded from much of the EU's grand new Digital Single Market strategy. That's hardly a "balanced IPR policy."
open-source  open  frand  eu  ec 
april 2016 by jm
Why is Safe Harbour II such a challenge? - EDRi
The only possible deal that is immediately available is where the European Commission agrees a politically expeditious but legally untenable deal, creating a time bomb rather than a durable deal, to the benefit of no one. In absence of reforms before an agreement, individuals’ fundamental rights would remain under threat.
edri  law  eu  ec  ecj  surveillance  snooping  us-politics  safe-harbor 
february 2016 by jm
The Surveillance Elephant in the Room…
Very perceptive post on the next steps for safe harbor, post-Schrems.
And behind that elephant there are other elephants: if US surveillance and surveillance law is a problem, then what about UK surveillance? Is GCHQ any less intrusive than the NSA? It does not seem so – and this puts even more pressure on the current reviews of UK surveillance law taking place. If, as many predict, the forthcoming Investigatory Powers Bill will be even more intrusive and extensive than current UK surveillance laws this will put the UK in a position that could rapidly become untenable. If the UK decides to leave the EU, will that mean that the UK is not considered a safe place for European data? Right now that seems the only logical conclusion – but the ramifications for UK businesses could be huge.

[....] What happens next, therefore, is hard to foresee. What cannot be done, however, is to ignore the elephant in the room. The issue of surveillance has to be taken on. The conflict between that surveillance and fundamental human rights is not a merely semantic one, or one for lawyers and academics, it’s a real one. In the words of historian and philosopher Quentin Skinner “the current situation seems to me untenable in a democratic society.” The conflict over Safe Harbor is in many ways just a symptom of that far bigger problem. The biggest elephant of all.
ec  cjeu  surveillance  safe-harbor  schrems  privacy  europe  us  uk  gchq  nsa 
october 2015 by jm
5 takeaways from the death of safe harbor – POLITICO
Reacting to the ruling, the [EC] stressed that data transfers between the U.S. and Europe can continue on the basis of other legal mechanisms.

A lot rides on what steps the Commission and national data protection supervisors take in response. “It is crucial for legal certainty that the EC sends a clear signal,” said Nauwelaerts.

That could involve providing a timeline for concluding an agreement with U.S. authorities, together with a commitment from national data protection authorities not to block data transfers while negotiations are on-going, he explained.
safe-harbor  data  privacy  eu  ec  snowden  law  us 
october 2015 by jm
EU court adviser: data-share deal with U.S. is invalid | Reuters
The Safe Harbor agreement does not do enough to protect EU citizen's private information when it reached the United States, Yves Bot, Advocate General at the European Court of Justice (ECJ), said. While his opinions are not binding, they tend to be followed by the court's judges, who are currently considering a complaint about the system in the wake of revelations from ex-National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden of mass U.S. government surveillance.
safe-harbor  law  eu  ec  ecj  snowden  surveillance  privacy  us  data  max-schrems 
september 2015 by jm
EU-US data pact skewered in court hearing
A lawyer for the European Commission told an EU judge on Tuesday (24 March) he should close his Facebook page if he wants to stop the US snooping on him, in what amounts to an admission that Safe Harbour, an EU-US data protection pact, doesn’t work.
safe-harbour  privacy  data-protection  ecj  eu  ec  surveillance  facebook  nsa  gchq 
march 2015 by jm
ECJ case debates EU citizens' right to privacy
The US wields secretive and indiscriminate powers to collect data, he said, and had never offered Brussels any commitments to guarantee EU privacy standards for its citizens’ data. On the contrary, said [Max Schrems' counsel] Mr Hoffmann, “Safe Harbour” provisions could be overruled by US domestic law at any time.
Thus he asked the court for a full judicial review of the “illegal” Safe Harbour principles which, he said, violated the essence of privacy and left EU citizens “effectively stripped of any protection”.
[Irish] DPC counsel Paul Anthony McDermott SC suggested that Mr Schrems had not been harmed in any way by the status quo. “This is not surprising, given that the NSA isn’t currently interested in the essays of law students in Austria,” he said.
Mr Travers for Mr Schrems disagreed, saying “the breach of the right to privacy is itself the harm”.
ireland  dpc  data-protection  privacy  eu  ec  ecj  law  rights  safe-harbour 
march 2015 by jm
SI336 - current Irish anti-spam law
"European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) (Privacy and Electronic Communications) Regulations 2011". Spam is covered under 13.1, "Unsolicited communications", on page 16 of this PDF
spam  anti-spam  law  ireland  eu  ec  sms  email  si336  privacy  regulation 
september 2014 by jm
European Commission Consultation On Copyright Reveals Chasm Between Views Of Public And Publishers | Techdirt
The two charts indicate that current EU copyright is very unbalanced. When one side is completely satisfied with the status quo and the other is very unhappy then this is not a balanced situation. Given that a good compromise should leave everybody equally unhappy, the results of the consultation also show the direction for copyright reform efforts of the new EU Commission: re-balancing copyright requires at least some reform as demanded by end users and institutional users, most importantly a more harmonized and flexible system of exceptions and limitations.
copyright  views  publishers  eu  ec  europe  reform  law 
august 2014 by jm
URGENT: Input needed on EU copyright consultation - Boing Boing
The EC is looking for feedback -- but not much, and pretty sharpish.
Go to www.copywrongs.eu and answer the questions which are important to you. You do not have to answer all the questions, only the ones that matter to you. [...] The deadline is 5 February 2014. Until then, we should provide the European Commission with as many responses as possible!
ec  eu  copyright  law  europe  boing-boing  reform 
january 2014 by jm
Latest leak of EU Data Protection Regulation makes fines impossible
Well, isn't this convenient. The leaked proposed regulation document from the Irish EU presidency contains the following changes from current law:
what is new is a set of prescriptive conditions which, if adopted, appears to make a Monetary Penalty Notice (MPN) almost impracticable to serve. This is because the [Data Protection] Commissioner would have consider a dozen factors (many of which will give no doubt rise to appeal). [...]

In addition, the fines in the Regulation require consideration of the actual damage caused; this compares unfavourably with the current MPN where large fines have been contingent on grave security errors on the part of the data controller (i.e. the MPN of the UK DPA does not need damage to data subjects – only the likelihood of substantial distress or damage which should have been preventable/foreseeable).
data-protection  law  eu  ec  ireland  privacy  fines  regulation  mpn 
june 2013 by jm
Open Rights Group - EU Commission caved to US demands to drop anti-PRISM privacy clause
Reports this week revealed that the US successfully pressed the European Commission to drop sections of the Data Protection Regulation that would, as the Financial Times explains, “have nullified any US request for technology and telecoms companies to hand over data on EU citizens.

The article [...] would have prohibited transfers of personal information to a third country under a legal request, for example the one used by the NSA for their PRISM programme, unless “expressly authorized by an international agreement or provided for by mutual legal assistance treaties or approved by a supervisory authority.”

The Article was deleted from the draft Regulation proper, which was published shortly afterwards in January 2012. The reports suggest this was due to intense pressure from the US. Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding favoured keeping the the clause, but other Commissioners seemingly did not grasp the significance of the article.
org  privacy  us  surveillance  fisaaa  viviane-reding  prism  nsa  ec  eu  data-protection 
june 2013 by jm
Spamalot reigns: the spoils of Ireland’s EU kingship | The Irish Times - Thu, Jun 13, 2013
The spam presidency. As European citizens are made the miserable targets of unimpeded “direct marketing”, that may be how Ireland’s stint in the EU presidency seat is recalled for years to come.
Under the guiding hand of Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, the Council of the European Union has submitted proposals for amendments to a proposed new data protection regulation, all of which overwhelmingly favour business and big organisations, not citizens.
The most obviously repugnant and surprising element in the amendments is a watering down of existing protections for EU citizens against the willy-nilly marketing Americans are forced to endure. In the US there are few meaningful restrictions on what businesses can do with people’s personal information when pitching products and services at them.
In the EU, this has always been strictly controlled; information gathered for one purpose cannot be used by a business to sell whatever it wants – unless you have opted in to receive such solicitations. This means you are not constantly bombarded by emails and junk mail, nor do you get non-stop phone calls from telemarketers.
Under the proposed amendments to the draft data protection regulation, direct marketing would become a legal form of data processing. In effect, this would legitimise spam email, junk print mail and marketing calls. This unexpected provision signals just how successful powerful corporate lobbyists have been in convincing ministers that business matters more than privacy or giving citizens reasonable control over their personal information.
Far worse is contained in other amendments, which in effect turn the original draft of the regulation upside down.


Fantastic article from Karlin Lillington in today's Times on the terrible amendments proposed for the EU's data protection law.
eu  law  prism  data-protection  privacy  ireland  ec  marketing  spam  anti-spam  email 
june 2013 by jm
PRISM explains the wider lobbying issues surrounding EU data protection reform | EDRI
The US has very successfully and expertly lobbied against the [EU] data protection package directly, it has mobilised and supported US industry lobbying. US industry has lobbied in its own name and mobilised malleable European trade associations to lobby on their behalf to amplify their message, “independent” “think tanks” have been created to amplify their message again. The result is not just the biggest lobbying effort that Brussels has ever seen, but also the broadest.

Compliant Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and EU Member States [...] have been imposing a “death by a thousand cuts” on the Regulation. Where previously there was a clear obligation to collect the “minimum necessary” data for any given service, the vague requirement to retain “not excessive” data is now preferred. Where previously companies could only use data for purposes that were “compatible” with the original reason for collecting the data, the Irish EU Presidency (pdf) has proposed a comical definition of “compatible” based on five elements, only one of which is related to the dictionary definition of the word.

Members of the European Parliament and EU Member States are falling over themselves to ensure that the EU does not maintain its strategic advantage over the US. In addition to dismantling the proposed Regulation, countries like the UK desperately seek to delay the whole process and subsume it into the EU-US free trade agreement (the so-called “investment partnership” TTIP/TAFTA), which would subordinate a fundamental rights discussion in a trade negotiation. The UK government is even prepared to humiliate itself by arguing in favour of the US position on the basis that two and a half years (see Communication from 2010, pdf) of discussion is too fast!
edri  data-protection  eu  ec  ireland  politics  usa  meps  privacy  uk  free-trade 
june 2013 by jm
LobbyPlag
wow, great view of which MEPs are eviscerating the EU's data protection regime:
Currently the EU is negotiating about new data privacy laws. This new EU Regulation will replace all existing national laws on data privacy. Here you can see a general overview which Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are pushing for more or less data privacy. Choose a country, a political group or a MEP from the “Top 10” list to find out more.
europe  eu  privacy  data-protection  datap  ec  regulation  meps 
june 2013 by jm
Council of the European Union Releases Draft Compromise Text on the Proposed EU Data Protection Regulation
Oh god. this sounds like an impending privacy and anti-spam disaster. "business-focussed":
Overall, the [Irish EC Presidency’s] draft compromise text can be seen as a more business-focused, pragmatic approach. For example, the Presidency has drafted an additional recital (Recital 3a), clarifying the right to data protection as a qualified right, highlighting the principle of proportionality and importance of other competing fundamental rights, including the freedom to conduct a business.


and some pretty serious relaxation of how consent for use of personal data is measured:

The criterion for valid consent is amended from “explicit” to “unambiguous,” except in the case of processing special categories of data (i.e., sensitive personal data) (Recital 25 and Article 9(2)). This reverts to the current position under the Data Protection Directive and is a concession to the practical difficulty of obtaining explicit consent in all cases.

The criteria for valid consent are further relaxed by the ability to obtain consent in writing, orally or in an electronic manner, and where technically feasible and effective, valid consent can be given using browser settings and other technical solutions. Further, the requirement that the controller bear the burden of proof that valid consent was obtained is limited to a requirement that the controller be able to “demonstrate” that consent was obtained (Recital 32 and Article 7(1)). The need for “informed” consent is also relaxed from the requirement to provide the full information requirements laid out in Article 14 to the minimal requirements that the data subject “at least” be made aware of: (1) the identity of the data controller, and (2) the purpose(s) of the processing of their personal data (Recitals 33 and 48).
anti-spam  privacy  data-protection  spam  ireland  eu  ec  regulation 
june 2013 by jm
IAB Europe awards MEP Sean Kelly for standing up for data privacy rights (video) - Ireland’s CIO and strategy news and reports service – Siliconrepublic.com
Irish MEP serving as a rapporteur on reform of the EU data protection regime, was given an award by an advertising trade group last month:
Sean Kelly, Fine Gael MEP for Ireland South [who serves as the EU’s Industry Committee Rapporteur for the General Data Protection Regulation], has been selected to receive the prestigious IAB Europe Award for Leadership and Excellence for his approach to dealing with privacy concerns over shortcomings in the European Commission’s data protection proposal.
IAB Europe represents more than 5,500 online advertising media, research and analytics organisations.
iab-europe  awards  spam  sean-kelly  ireland  meps  politics  eu  data-protection  privacy  ec 
june 2013 by jm
Music Industry Lobbyist Becomes Europe’s Copyright Boss
'Maria Martin-Prat, who was formerly employed as Director of Legal Policy and Regulatory Affairs at IFPI, has now been selected to lead the EU unit that deals with copyright and enforcement issues.'
ifpi  policy  europe  ec  eu  acta  filesharing  music  mp3  from delicious
april 2011 by jm
EU must break down national copyright barriers, says EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes
"There is a huge Digital Single Market for audiovisual material. The problem is that it's illegal [...] We have effectively allowed illegal file-sharing to set up a single market where our usual policy channels have failed." "While the internet is borderless, Europe’s online markets are not. It is often easier to buy something from a US website than online from the country next-door in Europe. Often you cannot buy it at all within Europe."
copyright  piracy  neelie-kroes  quotes  eu  ec  music  ip  from delicious
may 2010 by jm

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