Berlin / Paris, April 14th 2011 — FFII and AFUL ask consumers affected by operating system bundling or businesses involved in bundling to provide their evidence to the European Competition authority. “My choice is Debian GNU/Linux”, explains FFII Vice president Rene Mages. “Why have I been compelled to pay and erase Windows 7 at purchase time?” The European Commission admits it was aware of the difficulties encountered by consumers who want to purchase a PC with a non-Microsoft operating system or without any operating system at all. But they also say they lack evidence suggesting that this is the result of practices in violation of EU competition rules.
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.
On the 30th of March, 2011, the FFII and FSFE awarded tagesschau.de 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 tagesschau.de 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: Tagesschau.de wegen Ogg-Theora-Unterstützung ausgezeichnet
2011-03-30 EN The H: Tagesschau.de receives Document Freedom Day award from FSFE and FFII
2011-03-30 DE Golem: FFII und FSFE ehren Tagesschau.de 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 Netzpolitik.org: Offene Standards: Singapur, München, Tagesschau und der Rest der Welt
2011-03-30 DE Prolinux: Auszeichnungen für den Einsatz offener Standards für Tagesschau.de und München
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.
Berlin, 30. March 2011 – Today the ARD internet platform Tagesschau.de 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 tagesschau.de.
Berlin, March 25th 2011 — This week Microsoft sued the retailers Barnes&Noble, Foxconn and Inventec for distributing devices using the Android platform. The Android is a Linux derivate from Google. It is the most recent lawsuit in a battle of dominance on the tablet and smartphone market. “What a desperate sales argument to sue retailers which use a competing platform. It’s ‘Take our platform or get sued’.
Brussels, March 21st 2011 — The European Parliament wants to make software producers liable for defects. Ahead of the vote on the Consumer Rights Directive on Thursday 24 March, a political agreement amongst the groups in the European Parliament would put software and webservices providers liable for damages under the goal of providing consumer protection. “During the software patent debate we underlined that Data processing is no field of technology”, explains FFII president Benjamin Henrion. “The physical world is different from the digital environment”. He continues: “Similar to the software patent directive, it is another piece of legislation that makes software development a much more risky business”.
Brussels, 11 March 2011 — The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) supports asking the European Court of Justice an opinion on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). On Monday 21 March 2011 the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee may vote on a proposal for such a request. Unbalanced enforcement measures may heighten market entrance risks for innovators, according to the FFII. Startup companies are often confronted with patent minefields. Even a mere allegation of infringement may easily lead to market exclusion.
Brussels, 19 January 2011 — The European Union advances on a super-fast track on the “enhanced cooperation” for unitary patent protection among a coalition of the willing after an envisaged Community Patent has once again failed to reach consensus in the Council, attributed to the linguistic divide. The fast move puts aside democratic scrutiny, questions on legality and European unity. The new Unitary Patent is proposed to put patent granting outside the EU in the hands of EPO. The EPO is controversial for its granting of software patents without a prior legislative authorisation. A Unitary Patent without a link to EU-innovation policy influence might be a toll on innovation and SME interests.
Brussels, 16 December 2010 – The European Commission adopted a communication “Towards interoperability for European public services”, introducing the second incarnation of the European Interoperability Framework (EIF) and the European Interoperability Strategy (EIS) . This week the Commission also published fresh Horizontal Guidelines  which bloc-exempt patent cartels from competition enforcement. “The European Interoperability Framework is a legend. It’s hard, indeed, to make impact that compares with the first EIF. Unfortunately the lobby watered European interoperability enforcement down.