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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 2 hours 54 min ago

Leaked: EPO Award of €880,000 “in Order to Address the Media Presence of the EPO” (Reputation Laundering)

3 hours 59 sec ago

Propaganda and media distortion, but at whose expense?

Summary: The European Patent Office, a public body, wastes extravagant amounts of money on public relations (for ‘damage control’, like FIFA’s) in an effort to undermine critics, not only among staff (internally) but also among the media (externally)

TODAY is Black Friday and there might be something black at the EPO (like black budget), whose documents, which show how public money is (mis)used, keep being leaked for us to publish. It took less than a day after our request.

Having already absorbed anti-corruption people (who were supposed to investigate the EPO) into its own ranks, the EPO now wants to devour the media too.

The following is self-explanatory really.

The above 3 images can (and probably should) be shared widely.

The source of this material referred to our recent article and wished to highlight the following bits from the document. They may be of interest to those who are too lazy to read it. It confirms the allocation of €880,000 “in order to address the media presence of the EPO” and to quote the detailed breakdown:

13. Main Project with a duration of 1 year
with a campaign in Germany and the Netherlands : EUR 600K

14. Additional Project
with support for Dir. External communication: EUR 280K

According to the Summary on the title page, the beneficiary of the contract in this case was FTI Consulting:

In accordance with Art. 57 (b) FinRegs a report is provided on the award of 2 direct placements to FTI Consulting for EPO’s positioning campaign and support for Directorate External Communication.

We are going to write a lot more about it in the future. Please note that this was submitted by “President of the European Patent Office” (that’s Battistelli). It is an “award of urgently required direct placements,” which doesn’t sound so benign at all.

“In order to address the media presence of the EPO, a targeted positioning campaign has been launched,” says the document. When people in this field say “targeted positioning campaign” it implies something against the spirit of journalism.

“Proposals from 3 PR agencies were submitted,” says the document, “evaluated and decision taken.”

It is “new positioning campaign”. There’s that word again: positioning.

“Foreseen time-frame is 1 year.”

Almost a million dollars in just one year? Wow. “Main Project with a duration of 1 year,” the bottom part states.

Why do all this? The document says “reputational risk issue and crisis communication.” In simple terms? Reputation laundering.

Here is the full document as text:

CA/F 19/15
Orig.: en
Munich, 24.09.2015

SUBJECT: Report on award decisions owing to urgency pursuant to Article 57 b) of the FinRegs and Article 2.4.1 (2) of the Tender Guidelines

SUBMITTED BY: President of the European Patent Office

ADDRESSEES: Budget and Finance Committee (for information)


In accordance with Art. 57 (b) FinRegs a report is provided on the award of 2 direct placements to FTI Consulting for EPO’s positioning campaign and support for Directorate External Communication

CA/F 19/15 e
LT 1659/15 – 152440001


1. Operational.


2. To take note.


3. n/a


4. Under Article 57(b) of the FinRegs, a report is to be provided on the award of urgently required direct placements where it is not possible to await the outcome of the forms of invitation to tender and the award decision exceeds EUR 250K.


5. In order to address the media presence of the EPO, a targeted positioning campaign has been launched.

6. Proposals from 3 PR agencies were submitted, evaluated and decision taken.

7. To maximise the effectiveness of communications, the new positioning campaign had to be prepared and implemented without delay.

8. Foreseen time-frame is 1 year.

9. To have one single strategy towards the media, the support of Directorate for External Communication must be provided by the same PR agency.

10. Support is required in the analysis for the current communication work, achievements and aspirations after 5 years of reforms and to pilot a project on reputational risk issue and crisis communication.

11. This need also to be implemented with the same time line as for the main project.

CA/F 19/15 e
LT 1659/15 – 152440001


12. n/a


13. Main Project with a duration of 1 year
with a campaign in Germany and the Netherlands : EUR 600K

14. Additional Project
with support for Dir. External communication: EUR 280K


15. n/a


16. n/a


17. n/a

CA/F 19/15 e
LT 1659/15 – 152440001

Journalists should probably be made aware of the EPO’s plot to distort the media. That’s some very high-budget campaign

Links 27/11/2015: KDE Plasma 5.5 Plans, Oracle Linux 7.2

3 hours 22 min ago

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source Leftovers
  • What I Learned from Blowing An Interview

    Likewise, blogging or writing books about software development is necessarily removed from software development. Patterns, architectures, idioms, and algorithms are potential value. It’s only by applying the ideas that we realize the value. The same goes for creating infrastructure like operating systems, text editors, programming languages, frameworks, and libraries.

  • How Deduplication Has Evolved to Handle the Deluge of Data
  • Hardware
    • More than a billion PCs are over three years old, and there’s little reason to replace them

      And right there is the problem facing the PC industry. You’re replacing a tool with another tool that does the same thing. Much like a light bulb or a hammer. It’s why we’re seeing a proliferation of “smart” devices – smart light bulbs, smart thermostats, smart smoke detectors, smart refrigerators – because without that new “smart” twist people just aren’t replacing their light bulbs, thermostats, smoke detectors, or refrigerators until the day they release the magic smoke and stop working.

  • Security
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • A Winter’s Tale: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

      A Turkish jet shoots down a Russian jet. Parliament votes to send RAF jets into the mix. What could possibly go wrong?

      Unfortunately, things do go wrong. Cameron’s 70,000 “moderate rebels” prove either non-existent or crazed pro-Saudi Wahabbists. Mostly they are the very jihadists Russia is attacking, but we are supporting. In the fog of war, another Russian plane is downed. A Russian pilot downs a British jet. With politicians on all sides afloat on the sea of militarist rhetoric, within 24 hours it has spiralled hopelessly out of control.

    • Cameron Overreaches With “70,000” Claim Nobody Believes

      Cameron is in serious trouble at Westminster after overreaching himself by the claim that there are 70,000 “moderate rebels” willing to take up the ground war with Isis. Quite literally not one single MP believes him. There are those who believe the lie is justified. But even they know it is a lie.

      There is a very interesting parallel here with the claims over Iraqi WMD. The 70,000 figure has again been approved by the Joint Intelligence Committee, with a strong push from MI6. But exactly as with Iraqi WMD, there were strong objections from the less “political” Defence Intelligence, and caveats inserted.

  • Finance
    • China may invest $1 trillion overseas in next 5 years

      Continuing the carrot and stick approach to international trade, Premier Li Keqiang told poorer European nations that China would likely invest in their countries and import their products if they promised to buy Chinese products

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • The Guardian’s Anti Corbyn Campaign Plumbs New Depths

      Yet astonishingly the Guardian ran three whole articles entirely about the McDonnell gaffe. You could read every single word of these three articles and not learn the basic information provided in each of the three Blue Tory papers above. The utterly disgraceful Jonathan Jones, John Crace and Tom Phillips all managed to produce articles which utterly omit what McDonnell actually said and why he said it, to contrive to give the impression that McDonnell was quoting Mao straight and with approval.


      UPDATE: This is absolutely beyond parody. The Guardian have just published a FOURTH article on this subject, by Roy Greenslade, which still fails to say that McDonnell was referring to Osborne’s disposal of British assets to the Chinese state. Instead Greenslade cuts and pastes the most damning comments he can find in the Tory media. Not of course including any of the Tory media quotes given above which, unlike the Guardian, tell you what McDonnell was saying.

      When do you think the fifth Guardian article is coming?

  • Privacy
    • Teardown shows Nest Cam is “always-on” even when you think it’s off

      It turns out your home security camera may see more of your home than you thought it did. In a teardown of the Nest Cam, a team at ABI Research found that even when “off,” the camera draws nearly the same amount of power as when it’s fully powered on, meaning it’s functional and running even when the indicator light claims otherwise.

    • Tor Project appeals for help to carry on, expand anti-spying network

      The Tor anonymous browsing project has asked for donations to improve the network and invest in educational projects.

      The Tor Project is a non-profit scheme which runs Tor. Otherwise known as The Onion Router, the system allows users to enter areas of the Internet which remain unindexed by common search engines.

      The node-and-relay layout also skewers the original IP of the user, improving anonymity and thwarting surveillance efforts.

    • Glenn Greenwald: Why the CIA is smearing Edward Snowden after the Paris attacks

      Decent people see tragedy and barbarism when viewing a terrorism attack. American politicians and intelligence officials see something else: opportunity.

      Bodies were still lying in the streets of Paris when CIA operatives began exploiting the resulting fear and anger to advance long-standing political agendas. They and their congressional allies instantly attempted to heap blame for the atrocity not on Islamic State but on several preexisting adversaries: Internet encryption, Silicon Valley’s privacy policies and Edward Snowden.


      The CIA’s blame-shifting game, aside from being self-serving, was deceitful in the extreme. To begin with, there still is no evidence that the perpetrators in Paris used the Internet to plot their attacks, let alone used encryption technology.

      CIA officials simply made that up. It is at least equally likely that the attackers formulated their plans in face-to-face meetings. The central premise of the CIA’s campaign — encryption enabled the attackers to evade our detection — is baseless.

Documents Needed: Contract or Information About EPO PR/Media Campaign to Mislead the World

Thursday 26th of November 2015 06:44:05 PM

Is the EPO weaponising the media?

Summary: Rumour that the EPO spends almost as much as a million US dollars “with some selected press agencies to refurbish the image of the EPO”

LIKE a lot of large organisations out there, the EPO wishes to guard its image and even hires accordingly. Since the EPO is a public body that receives subsidies from taxpayers, it is imperative that the public gets told how this money gets spent.

Months ago we pointed out that the EPO was preparing a propaganda campaign trying to cast/frame staff as "happy" even though everyone we hear from is unhappy and the ‘loyal’ committee is clearly not happy either [1, 2]. For all we know, even EPO management is unhappy right now, but that’s mostly because of the negative press it receives. Recently we have seen some character assassination articles prepared in coordination with EPO management, shamelessly (and with little concrete evidence) framing its opponents as armed Nazis. Later on people like Battistelli send this tripe to various people in high places, as private letters serve to demonstrate. The EPO’s management views this as an information war (as if it has done nothing wrong) and it now distorts the media, turning journalists into PR marionettes and weaponising newspapers with high circulation in Germany, Holland, and sometimes even France (where French EPO managers probably dread negative publicity).

“Recently we have seen some character assassination articles prepared in coordination with EPO management, shamelessly (and with little concrete evidence) framing its opponents as armed Nazis.”Last night we received comments with mere claims (not yet verified) from a regular commenter whose track record has been reasonably good (accurate). The comment says: “Inquire about a contract of over 800.000€ with some selected press agencies to refurbish the image of the EPO after the alllegedly [sic] “damaging campaign by few employees and mad bloggers”. Someone has seen the signed contract passing from desk to desk at the EPO (readers please provide confirmation or evidence). A further misuse of public money.”

A later comment said: “I do not know who was the beneficiary of the contract, only that its purpose was to restore the “damaged” reputation of the EPO by way of favourable press articles and media contributions (Les Echoes is just an example). For a favourable coverage, the simple resignation of BB [Battistelli] would suffice. This would be very cheap for the EPO. I was also told that the EPO might buy an armoured limousine for the safety of President who has already a number of body guards. If true, it would be another useless expenditure of public money.”

“Staff of the EPO has long been concerned about the EPO’s manipulation of the media in its favour.”We welcome any confirmatory evidence people can provide. Staff of the EPO has long been concerned about the EPO’s manipulation of the media in its favour. And at whose expense? The European public whose brightest engineers, biologists, programmers etc. are abused by the EPO?

As a side note, regarding our previous post about why Battistelli equates his opposition to Unitary Patent (UP) opposition, a reader wrote to tell us that the article “was mentioning TR, NO and CH, which did not participate in the UP, and thus helped justified the continued existence of the EPO in its present form.

“To be exhaustive, one should add to that non-EU, non UP, list: IS, AL, FY, SM and RS [Iceland, Albania, FYROM, San Marino and Serbia].

“Extremely few applications are filed from theses countries, and European patents are also seldom validated there.

“And each of these states possess one full vote on the EPO AC, even though these states count for nothing in the European IP system.”

We hope that someone can provide us with some documents to show abuse and waste of public funds, possibly to the tune of €800,000 (to be funneled to the media or given to people who meddle with the media), a la French ‘news’ paper Les Échos [1, 2, 3], which has become Battistelli's mouthpiece, not just a so-called ‘media partner’ (euphemism).

“A desire to resist oppression is implanted in the nature of man.”


Guest Post: The EPO, EPC, Unitary Patent and the Money Issue

Thursday 26th of November 2015 05:48:59 PM

By unknown, who is intimately familiar with EPO matters

1888 (in public domain): American cartoon of John Bull (England) as an Imperial Octopus with its arms (with hands) in – or contemplating being in – various regions.

Summary: Remarks on the Unitary Patent (UP) and the lesser-known aspects of the EPO and EPC, where the “real issue is money, about which very little is discussed in public…”

THE staff of the EPO generally longed for and supported the creation of a community patent, as thought that it would have meant a cure for many of the original sins of the EPC.

It was believed, or hoped, that the EPO could become in the process an organ of the European Union, which, despite all its flaws, would have most probably brought an improvement in the governance of the organisation and the lot of the staff.

“The staff of the EPO generally longed for and supported the creation of a community patent, as thought that it would have meant a cure for many of the original sins of the EPC.”Just look at the shabby display given every quarter by the dysfunctional EPOrg’s Administrative Council, dominated as it is by a self-serving clique that cows it into submission through arm twisting and client politics.

Becoming a part of the EU could have meant for staff improved conditions in matters such as taxes, pensions, union recognition and collective bargaining, legal protection, conflict resolution…

“To sum it up, the implementing regulations are rubber-stamped by minor bureaucrats dwelling way down the food chain, and not decided by national parliaments.”As for the citizens of Europe, it could have brought improvements in its control of patent law, as changing an EU Directive or Regulation is still vastly simpler than amending the European Patent Convention through a diplomatic conference, and involves some form of debate in the EU parliament.

Then there are also the EPC implementing regulations, into which many sections of the convention were transferred with the EPC 2000 revision. Like the saying goes, “the devil is in the details”, and such details are created by the EPO’s legal department under instructions of the President, and submitted for approval to the AC [see above...]. And then the AC is essentially composed of civil servants from National Patent Offices and/or National Departments for Trade and Industry.

To sum it up, the implementing regulations are rubber-stamped by minor bureaucrats dwelling way down the food chain, and not decided by national parliaments. These bureaucrats have at heart a Sir Humphrey like interest in preserving their little fiefs [e.g. the Croatian patent office], which should have been wound up long ago had there been a real will for a truly European patent.

“If those bloody foreigners can roam around your territory without needing your permission, why make more of a fuss when it comes to patents?”Among the roadblocks to a proper EU patent were inter alia languages: the EPO accepts applications in DE, EN, FR. The EU must function in 24 languages. I think that a compromise could have been found in which all languages could have been accommodated, as the number of applications stemming from Europe which are not in the three EPC official languages aren’t wholly unreasonable. TR, GR, and IT already translate their national applications before sending them on to the EPO for prior art searches and opinions on patentability.

Then there was the issue of EU membership. EPC members TR, CH, and NO do not [currently] belong to the grand design, but this didn’t have to be an insurmountable problem. These countries already accept that a foreign body, the EPO, decides on whether a patent has legal force over their territory. This organisation is already EU-dominated, and even then, the parliaments [or strongmen...] of TR+CH+NO have presently next to zilch influence in the running of the EPO.

“My feeling is that the real issue is money, about which very little is discussed in public…”Then there is the fact CH+NO are part of that other EU-invented club called “Schengen”. If those bloody foreigners can roam around your territory without needing your permission, why make more of a fuss when it comes to patents?

My feeling is that the real issue is money, about which very little is discussed in public…

“Something must yield to make work that Unitary Patent monstrosity they came up with, and that is the EPO’s staff.”Something must yield to make work that Unitary Patent monstrosity they came up with, and that is the EPO’s staff. For the language and membership issues, the EPO must remain this autonomous death start which has been hovering above the continent for 40 years. And Battleship Eponia’s “independence” is essential for making staff become what they call in French a “variable d’ajustement”, i.e., the fudge factor which will mop up all the inconsistencies in that unitary contraption.

“This could explain why Battistelli equates any sign of resistance against his iron will to be opposition to the UP.”This could explain why Battistelli equates any sign of resistance against his iron will to be opposition to the UP. Is that association even conscious?

Saving the Integrity of the European Patent Office (EPO)

Thursday 26th of November 2015 05:19:29 PM

The imperialist ambitions of a patent office result in growing neglect of local actors

Management takeover by Team Battistelli similar to French coup d’état of 1851

Summary: Some timely perspective on what’s needed at the European Patent Office, which was detabilised by ‘virtue’ of making tyrants its official figureheads

THE main concern I have always had regarding the EPO was potential granting of software patents in Europe. I even wrote a letter to the Enlarged Board of Appeal about it (that was half a decade ago). As a software engineer surrounded by other software engineers I know that people who write software (computer programs) don’t want to bother with patents. They needn’t worry about who got a monopoly on which algorithm (copyright law is more than sufficient here). This worry is further accentuated when dealing with Free/Open Source software, where a lot of compartmentalised code gets imported/grafted (not licensed per se), and it is infeasible to start checking what line of code may infringe which patent. It would be lunacy to review hundreds of thousands of US patents before undertaking the simple task of writing a program. It would also put one at greater risk (higher damages due to willful infringement).

“It would be lunacy to review hundreds of thousands of US patents before undertaking the simple task of writing a program.”EPO management would have to lie (with a straight face even!) if it persisted in portraying its opposition as aiming to ‘destabilise’ the Office. There is a big difference between destabilisation and reform. There are many abuses taking place inside the EPO, putting aside our concern about software patents. The need to obey the law or the efforts to compel the EPO’s managers to obey European laws aren’t ‘destabilisation’ efforts. Imagine a political parable; dictatorships like to say that their opposition is ‘destabilising’ a nation, or trying to cause chaos. Any dictatorship that deems itself ‘benevolent’ (which dictatorship has ever believed otherwise about itself?) will always insist on crushing opposition. That’s why elections are imperative (with time limits for one single individual to run) and there is a clear separation between media and governance for instance — a separation which EPO evidently no longer respects.

“Contrary to misleading portrayals from Team Battistelli, EPO staff is not violent. The aggressor here is actually the management.”The EPO took many decades to acquire its reputation (quickly eroded by Team Battistelli, in just a few years), so efforts to fix the EPO are actually defensive and they are intended to rescue the EPO’s integrity. Sometimes from a temporary/localised destruction (e.g. of tyranny at the top) comes liberation. Sometimes it’s known as revolution, although the word revolution has negative connotations (with blood and violence).

Contrary to misleading portrayals from Team Battistelli, EPO staff is not violent. The aggressor here is actually the management.

“The EPO can learn from the failings of lesser successful patent systems — systems which the EPO’s current managers increasingly emulate.”EPO staff continues to receive a salary and it would in no way help this staff if it saw the EPO going away (pensions too may be at stake). What definitely would harm this staff — in the long term — is an EPO that suffers reputation erosion, due in part to poor patents (too broad or easily invalided in courts, e.g. using prior art which examiners overlooked). They would devalue EPO patents, which would no longer be able to justify their high and ever-rising cost. To shield the integrity of the EPO the management needs to:

  1. Stop harassing staff, as it makes recruitment of talented examiners a lot harder and leads to a loss of many skilled and experienced patent examiners
  2. Re-examine the scope of patents because in some domains (e.g. software) patents do more societal and professional harm than good
  3. Re-examine the pace of patenting because quality should come before quantity and too many patents merely saturate the market, diluting/reducing each patent’s worth
  4. Restore patent neutrality, meaning that large corporations should no longer receive preferential treatment

There are many more points to be made, but this is just a very partial list. Reform is needed and the current management — not the staff — is resistant to a reform. It’s funny just how the management reversed this whole situation, painting the examiners as Luddites. Who’s really the Luddite here? It’s Orwellian spin.

“It’s funny just how the management reversed this whole situation, painting the examiners as Luddites.”The EPO can learn from the failings of less successful patent systems — systems which the EPO’s current managers increasingly emulate. Publicly posing or liaising with Chinese patent officials, for instance, is no triumph but arguably an embarrassment for a number of reasons (beyond the scope of this post). TechDirt, which wrote about Techrights yesterday, has many articles on this subject. In fact, it wrote several such articles yesterday.

TechDirt now shows evidence of the strategy of accumulating a massive number of junk patents [1] (when about 92% of applications get patents granted at the end, what is the role of examination really?) to then attack rivals in the domestic market [2] in China (just like the USPTO and ITC enable). With UPC, widespread injunctions (a la ITC) would become possible and patent scope would likely expand, not just in the domain sense but also the geographical sense (making more parties liable and thus subjected to legal threats, if not outright actions).

Today’s EPO management is bad for science, bad for lawyers (especially in the long term), bad for examiners, and even bad for European businesses, which it discriminates against. Who is the EPO good for? Evidence serve to suggest that it serves multinational conglomerates. It’s like an imperial institution, complete with mass surveillance, witch-hunting, and mental torture (so-called ‘interrogation’ of perceived dissent which poses a threat to the empire).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Stupid Patent Of The Month: Infamous Prison Telco Patents Asking Third-Parties For Money

    There are two serious problems with this patent. First, the claims are directed to a mind-numbingly mundane business practice and should have been rejected as obvious. Obvious uses or combinations of existing technology are not patentable. Second, the claims are ineligible for patent protection under the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Alice v. CLS Bank—this is a recent Supreme Court decision that holds that an abstract idea (like contacting potential third-party payers) doesn’t become eligible for a patent simply because it is implemented using generic technology. That the system failed to register either of these defects shows deep dysfunction.

  2. Chinese Company Learns From The West: Builds Up Big Patent Portfolio, Uses It To Sue Apple In China

    For many years now, Western governments have been complaining about China’s supposed lack of respect for intellectual monopolies, and constantly pushing the country’s politicians to tighten the legal framework protecting them. To anyone not blinded by an unquestioning belief in the virtues of copyright and patent maximalism, it was pretty clear where this strategy would end. Indeed, over five years ago, Mike warned where this was leading: towards China repeatedly punishing foreign companies to protect domestic Chinese firms — in other words, leveraging patents as a tool for protectionism.

A Call for Bloggers and Journalists: Did EPO Intimidate and Threaten You Too? Please Speak Out.

Thursday 26th of November 2015 03:54:21 PM

The EPO’s standards for media and communications similar to those of Myanmar

Summary: An effort to discover just how many people out there have been subjected to censorship and/or self-censorship by EPO aggression against the media

WHAT the EPO did to us [1, 2, 3] last month and earlier this month (for a number of weeks) is important because it can help inform other sites of what EPO has been up to and how to stand up to it. We already have evidence to show that Team Battistelli is using the “chilling effect” against politicians, lawyers, bloggers, journalists, and even government delegates. How far will these sociopaths go? The EPO is already aping Myanmar’s low standards for media and communications.

“For EPO staff (not managers) remedy may already be on the way, especially as more people become aware of these issues and English-speaking journalists finally write more about it.”In our first part of this multi-part series we showed our reasons for suspicion that EPO lawyers had lazily used a template and didn’t even change the name when they sent a threatening letter. This led us to the supposition that other sites were being threatened with action too. We don’t know which sites — if any — these were. This kind of evidence suggests that other such letters were sent to other publishers, demanding that they take down their articles about the EPO. We don’t know if such letters were maybe to SUEPO as well (takedown letters). We already know that SUEPO removed some links from its public site. EPO management put them under threat, hence FOSS Patents links and Heise links got removed (we wrote about this at the time, back in early autumn). Any information about what exactly happened back then would be greatly appreciated. There is a campaign of “chilling effect” against dissent and if nobody speaks out, as a French blogger did a few months ago, we wouldn’t know just how widespread this campaign is. Based on the letter we received, it is likely that the EPO went also after German blogger or journalist (someone called Mr. Schneider).

For EPO staff (not managers) remedy may already be on the way, especially as more people become aware of these issues and English-speaking journalists finally write more about it. More of them will weigh in more often throughout the rest of this year, based on information that we have. Reprieve won’t come from EPO collapse but from EPO managers accepting that they need to obey the law (or resign).

“A single lie destroys a whole reputation of integrity.”

–Baltasar Gracian

European Patent Office (EPO) a “Kingdom Above the EU Countries, a Tyranny With ZERO Accountability”

Thursday 26th of November 2015 03:07:23 PM

Like Ferdinand Marcos, Benoît Battistelli declares de facto martial law (with help from Control Risks) to perpetuate his tyranny and aggressively eliminate dissent

Summary: Criticism of the EPO’s thuggish behaviour and endless efforts to crush dissenting voices by all means available, even when these means are in clear violation of international or European laws

The EPO‘s attempts to gag and/or censor Techrights using threats [1, 2] is becoming the subject of some news coverage with a broad audience. As this one article (among several) put it: “In fact, to argue that Schestowitz’s post is defamatory is crazy. Threatening Schestowitz with a defamation claim is much crazier and dangerous than even Schestowitz’s own interpretation of the EPO’s memo. If you’re working for a government agency, such as the EPO, you have to be willing to accept some amount of criticism, even if you disagree with it. To claim it’s defamation and to threaten a lawsuit is really, really screwed up. [...] I’m having trouble thinking of any other governmental agency that has ever threatened a public critic with defamation. Basic concepts around free speech suggest that the EPO should suck it up. If it disagrees with Schestowitz’s interpretation of what it’s doing, then it can come out and explain its side of the story. Threatening him with defamation actually only makes me think that perhaps his interpretation hits closer to home than I originally believed.”

“That might be one important reason why cleaning out the EPO stable is different from FIFA. At the EPO, there are victims.”
      –AnonymousI am not the first EPO and/or UPC critic whom the EPO threatened to sue, it’s just that a lot of people don’t know about these cases. The EPO hopes that its victims will stay silent and afraid. In fact, this one example may have resulted in the site becoming inactive (for a number of years now).

Techrights is eager to get to the bottom of everything and won’t give up as the EPO probably hoped it would. “I finish on one straw of hope,” an anonymous comment wrote last night. “Thinking about FIFA, there are not thousands of employees involved. That might be one important reason why cleaning out the EPO stable is different from FIFA. At the EPO, there are victims.”

Some of these victims commit suicide, too.

“In the coming days or weeks we intend to show that what the EPO did wasn’t just foolish but also dubious from a legal standpoint.”The EPO is clearly out of control. It is a quasi-political entity working using taxpayers’ money (to some degree) and abusing those taxpayers. Think about if for a moment; that’s worse than the British Conservative party hypothetically threatening to sue blogs critical of British Conservatives. In the case of the EPO it’s even worse because it was not even elected and the British Conservative party is not taking the money of the public to use for its own promotion at election time.

In the coming days or weeks we intend to show that what the EPO did wasn’t just foolish but also dubious from a legal standpoint. Then again, the EPO doesn’t exactly care about what’s legal. It mostly disregards the laws and makes up its own on a whim (or the President’s whim). The two last comments which stand out in the above article say that “EPOnia is not a “government agency”, it is legally a Kingdom above the EU countries, it is a tyranny with ZERO accountability… legal-wise”; another says “German employer rules or any other EU country do not apply inside EPOnia”.

If EPO thinks that it is above international law, then we need to show here just to what degree it disregards — if not deliberately violates — the law.

“Denial ain`t just a river in Egypt.”

–Mark Twain

Links 26/11/2015: The $5 Raspberry Pi Zero, Running Sans Systemd Gets Hard

Thursday 26th of November 2015 02:30:10 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Video: PBS Pro Workload Manager Goes Open Source
  • Turris Omnia: high-security, high-performance, open-source router

    An Indigogo campaign was recently launched for the Turis Omnia, promising backers a high-security, high-performance, open-source router.

    “With powerful hardware, Turris Omnia can handle gigabit traffic and still be able to do much more,” the company said.

    “You can use it as a home server, NAS, printserver, and it even has a virtual server built-in.”

  • IBM SystemML Machine Learning Technology Goes Open-Source
  • PuppetLabs Introduces Application Orchestration

    Everybody loves Puppet! Or at the very least, an awful lot of people USE Puppet and in the IT world, “love” is often best expressed by the opening of one’s wallet. I know, in the FOSS world wallets are unnecessary, and Puppet does indeed have an Open Source version. However, once one gets to enterprise-level computing, a tool designed for enterprise scale is preferable and usually there is a cost associated.

    Puppet was originally started as an open source project by Luke Kanies in 2005, essentially out of frustration with the other configuration management products available at the time. Their first commercial product was released in 2011, and today it is the most widely used configuration management tool in the world with about 30,000 companies running it. According to our own surveys, better than 60% of Linux Journal readers use some form of Puppet already and you must like it too as it regularly finishes at or near the top in Readers’ Choice awards.

  • My Open Source Thanksgiving List: Wine, Netflix, OpenWrt and More

    Running 3.1 miles through my hometown. Consuming unreasonable quantities of simple carbohydrates, fat and sodium. Pretending that the former activity justifies the latter. These are some of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions.

  • Give back and support open source

    Here I am, almost 20 years into my own crazy open source story, and it shows no sign of abating.

  • IBM open-sources machine learning SystemML

    IBM is aiming to popularise its proprietary machine learning programme SystemML through open-source communities.

  • Events
  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Mozilla contributor creates diabetes project for the masses

        My open source story started in high school as a student. I always considered myself to be a hacker—not the malicious type, but the curious type who liked to tinker with code and hardware. My first encounter with open source was in 2001 when I installed my first Linux distro, Lindows. Of course, I was also an early user of Mozilla Firefox.

      • Mozilla: we’re not getting money from Google any more but we’re doing fine

        For many years, Firefox developer Mozilla generated substantial income from a sponsorship deal with Google; the search and advertising firm paid Mozilla in return for Firefox making Google its default search engine. That deal was ended last year, with Firefox defaulting to Yahoo in the US, Yandex in Russia, and Baidu in China.

      • Best Firefox Add-ons for a Better YouTube Experience

        From blocked videos to annoying ads, there are many things about YouTube we don’t like. These restrictions and distractions only dampen the amazing experience that the video-sharing website is meant to provide. If you are a Firefox user, however, you won’t have to worry about such things. Firefox offers a variety of add-ons that let you fix pretty much any annoyance that YouTube has. Furthermore, they also let you download videos right to your desktop so that you can watch them whenever you want, even without a connection.

      • Mozilla Releases Thunderbird 38.4.0 to Patch High and Critical Security Issues

        Mozilla has announced the release of a new maintenance version of the popular, open-source, and cross-platform Mozilla Thunderbird 38 email and news client for all supported operating systems, including GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows.

      • Pale Moon 25.8.0 (Firefox Based Browser) Has Been Released

        As you may know, Pale Moon is an open-source, cross-platform browser based on Mozilla Firefox, being up to 25% faster then the original.

        Palemoon is based on Firefox, has support for the official Firefox extensions, but does not contain all of the Firefox features, including: social API, accessibility features, WebRTC and has some specific customizations and configuration options which are not available on Firefox.

  • SaaS/Big Data
    • Practical tips for working with OpenStack

      To build your own cloud and take advantage of the power of the open source powered OpenStack project takes dedicated resources and a good bit of learning. Due to the size of the project and the pace of development, keeping up can be difficult. The good news is that there are many resources to help, including the official documentation, a variety of OpenStack training and certification programs, as well as community-authored guides.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • LibreOffice Has About 1,200 UI-Related Reported Bugs, Come and Help Fix Them

      LibreOffice might be a great office suite, but the community doesn’t like the fact that the UI still looks kind of dated. The good news is that anyone with some coding skills can try to fix that by working on the project.

    • Improving the Toolbars in LibreOffice

      With the Design team, we are working on improving toolbars in LibreOffice. This is part of our long-term goal, making LibreOffice “simple for beginners and powerful for experts“.

      Toolbars in LibreOffice are currently quite limited: A toolbar can have icons, or custom widgets, in a row. You can switch between icon-only, icon+text or text-only display.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • Area51 updates (KDE on FreeBSD)

      The area51 repository continues to update, even as the official ports tree for FreeBSD sticks with KDE4. Since the KDE-FreeBSD team is also responsible for the official ports, that basically means that not everything has been shaken out yet, and that the team doesn’t feel that it can provide a really good Frameworks5 / Plasma5 / Applications installation .. yet. I’ve been playing with ideas for a default desktop wallpaper (the upstream default gives me a headache; I’d really like to combine Flying Konqui by Timothée Giet with bubbles made from the BSD logo.

    • Website Says Microsoft’s Software Is Malware has a category on its website named “Philosophy of the GNU Project,” where the Microsoft software is described as malware, along with Apple and Amazon.

    • Supporting Software Freedom Conservancy

      There are a number of important organizations in the Open Source and Free Software world that do tremendously valuable work. This includes groups such as the Linux Foundation, Free Software Foundation, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Apache Software Foundation, and others.

    • Software Freedom Conservancy Launches 2015 Fundraiser

      Today Software Freedom Conservancy announces a major fundraising effort. Pointing to the difficulty of relying on corporate funding while pursuing important but controversial issues, like GPL compliance, Conservancy has structured its fundraiser to increase individual support. The organization needs at least 750 annual Supporters to continue its basic community services and 2500 to avoid hibernating its enforcement efforts. If Conservancy does not meet its goals, it will be forced to radically restructure and wind down a substantial portion of its operations.

    • GIMP 2.8.16 Has Been Released
    • 20 Years of GIMP Evolution: Step by Step

      GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) – superb open source and free graphics editor. Development began in 1995 as students project of the University of California, Berkeley by Peter Mattis and Spencer Kimball. In 1997 the project was renamed in “GIMP” and became an official part of GNU Project. During these years the GIMP is one of the best graphics editor and platinum holy wars “GIMP vs Photoshop” – one of the most popular.

    • Infinity status

      I’m winding down for a month away from Infinity. The current status is that the language and note format changes for 0.0.2 are all done. Y

  • Licensing
    • Free Router Software Not In The Crosshairs, FCC Clarifies

      FCC will not seek to ban free software from wireless routers, according to a clarification it made earlier this month on a rulemaking related to radio devices. An earlier draft of the official proposal included a specific reference to device manufacturers restricting installation of the open-source project DD-WRT.

  • Openness/Sharing
    • San Francisco sets sights on open source voting by November 2019

      Open-source voting systems bring a greater level of transparency and accountability by allowing the public to have access to the source codes of the system, which is used to tabulate the votes. A system owned by The City could also save taxpayers money.

    • Road testing the community-powered grocery store

      Building a business in an open and collaborative way can be a wonderfully rewarding experience, engaging both the members of the organization as well as the customers in a unique relationship based on common, transparent goals, while growing a sense of community around the venture.

      Last year, Shaun McCance wrote an article for, 4 tips from growing a community grocery store, where he shared his experiences from the initial steps of building a co-operative (co-op) grocery store in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, applying similar practices that many open source software projects use in software development.

  • Standards/Consortia
    • Denmark’s Aarhus insists on open IT standards

      Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city, is requiring the use of open IT standards for all of its future IT projects. This way, the city aims to rid itself of IT vendor lock-in. Aarhus is currently ”fenced in by contracts, proprietary software and proprietary standards”, says Camilla Tække, leading the change management project for the city. “This is a change in culture, not just as a technical one.”

  • The Immaculate British

    Coe may be a Tory Lord, but he is a disgrace not fit to lead international athletics. When will the British learn that corruption is not something that just happens abroad? If the standards of British public life were ever higher, we have the living breathing examples of Sebastian Coe and Tony Blair to show us what a sleazy entity Britain has now become.

  • Science
    • Geeks visit Bletchley Park, birthplace of the Turing machine

      What do a few geeks do when they find themselves on the way to Dublin for LinuxCon Europe? They make a side trip to Bletchley Park, of course. Seeing the place where Alan Turing, father of computer science, broke the German Nazi Enigma codes in the second World War was quite an experience. In this article, Jeffrey Osier-Mixon (community manager at the Yocto Project at Intel) and I describe a few of the highlights of our geeky and wonderful side trip.

      Bletchley Park was one of Britain’s best-kept secrets, and for decades after the war, the people who worked there were still sworn to secrecy. The work at Bletchley Park is believed to have saved thousands of lives and shortened the war by about two years, but it wasn’t until 2009 that the people working at Bletchley were publicly recognized for their service. For more about the history, read an in-depth story on the Bletchley Park website.

  • Security
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • ‘They’re Not Americans’: CNN Guest Justifies Massive Attacks on Civilians

      Scheuer’s proudly sociopathic views should come as no surprise. In December 2013, he called for the assassination of President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron…

    • Cultural figures and rights groups call for release of poet facing execution

      Leading international cultural figures have joined human rights campaigners in calling for the release of Ashraf Fayadh, the Palestinian poet and artist facing execution in Saudi Arabia.

      Chris Dercon, the director of Tate Modern, British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, historian Simon Schama, playwright David Hare, and Egyptian novelist and commentator Ahdaf Soueif are among the those calling for the death sentence imposed on Fayadh by a Saudi court last week to be overturned.

      More than a dozen organisations for artists, writers, musicians and freedom of expression from the UK, North America and Africa – including Index on Censorship, literary association PEN International and the International Association of Art Critics – have also signed a joint statement condemning Fayadh’s conviction for renouncing Islam, a charge which he denies.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • Feeding ‘Godzilla’: As Indonesia Burns, Its Government Moves To Increase Forest Destruction

      In the midst of its worst fire crisis in living memory, the Indonesian government is taking a leap backward on forest protection. The recently signed Council of Palm Oil Producing Nations between Indonesia and Malaysia, signed at the weekend in Kuala Lumpur, will attempt to wind back palm oil companies’ pledges to end deforestation.

      This is despite Indonesia’s efforts to end fires and palm oil cultivation on peatlands.

      If successful the move will undo recent attempts to end deforestation from palm oil production, and exacerbate the risk of future forest fires.

  • Finance
    • British Values

      That throws a rather lurid light on what could be done with the £175 billion admitted cost of Trident, if we lived in a society with less crazed values.

    • CNN Analyst “Shocked There’s No Violence” During Chicago Protests
    • How the Gates Foundation Reflects the Good and the Bad of “Hacker Philanthropy”

      Despite its impact, few book-length assessments of the foundation’s work have appeared. Now Linsey McGoey, a sociologist at the University of Essex, is seeking to fill the gap. “Just how efficient is Gates’s philanthropic spending?” she asks in No Such Thing as a Free Gift. “Are the billions he has spent on U.S. primary and secondary schools improving education outcomes? Are global health grants directed at the largest health killers? Is the Gates Foundation improving access to affordable medicines, or are patent rights taking priority over human rights?”

      As the title of her book suggests, McGoey answers all of these questions in the negative. The good the foundation has done, she believes, is far outweighed by the harm. In education, she maintains, most of its initiatives have either gone bust or failed to deliver on their promises. The foundation’s first great education initiative focused on creating small schools in place of big ones, on the assumption that doing so would allow students to receive more individualized attention. From 2000 to 2008, it spent $2 billion to establish 2,602 schools across the United States, affecting a total of nearly 800,000 students. Unfortunately, the experiment failed to improve college acceptance rates to the degree that the Gateses had hoped, and so they abruptly terminated it.

      Instead, the foundation channeled its resources into a host of other initiatives — increased data collection on teacher effectiveness, the introduction of performance-based teacher pay, more standardized testing for students. The foundation has invested heavily in charter schools and vigorously backed the Common Core, which sets national reading and math standards. These are all key elements of the so-called school reform movement. Arne Duncan, as head of Chicago’s public schools, worked closely with both the Gates and Broad foundations, and as President Obama’s secretary of education he sought to implement many of their ideas.

      McGoey (along with many others) is sharply critical of this movement. She cites studies that show that charter schools have performed no better or worse than traditional public schools, and she notes that the Gates Foundation itself has backed away from its once vocal support for assessing teacher performance on the basis of student test scores. While the willingness of the Gateses to change their minds in the face of evidence is admirable, McGoey writes, the reforms they championed “are now entrenched. For many teachers and students, their recent handwringing over the perils of high-stakes testing has come a little too late.”


      On one point, however, McGoey is convincing — the need for more analysis of this powerful foundation and the man and woman at its head. Bill and Melinda Gates answer to no electorate, board, or shareholders; they are accountable mainly to themselves. What’s more, the many millions of dollars the foundation has bestowed on nonprofits and news organizations has led to a natural reluctance on their part to criticize it. There’s even a name for it: the “Bill Chill” effect.

      That’s not to say that there has been no critical coverage of the foundation’s work. Diane Ravitch has excoriated Gates along with the rest of the school reform movement in her book The Death and Life of the Great American School System, as well as on her blog. The New York Times and other papers have offered occasional close examinations of Gates’ work. And Joanne Barkan, in a 2011 article in Dissent titled, “Got Dough? How Billionaires Rule Our Schools,” offered a thoroughgoing critique of the education work of Gates and its fellow foundations. In another Dissent article on “how big philanthropy undermines democracy,” Barkan complained that “the mainstream media are, for the most part, failing miserably in their watchdog duties. They give big philanthropy excessive deference and little scrutiny.”

      That may be changing. Alessandra Stanley, writing in the Times in late October, offered a skeptical assessment of the outsized claims made by Sean Parker and other Silicon Valley philanthropists. “Tech entrepreneurs believe their charitable giving is bolder, bigger and more data-driven than anywhere else — and in many ways it is,” she observed. “But despite their flair for disruption, these philanthropists are no more interested in radical change than their more conservative predecessors. They don’t lobby for the redistribution of wealth; instead, they see poverty and inequality as an engineering problem, and the solution is their own brain power, not a tithe.”


      We need more probing accounts of this sort. The power of the new barons of philanthropy is only going to grow. The risks they take and the bets they make will no doubt become bolder. If journalists don’t hold them accountable, who will?

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
  • Censorship
    • Another Court Logically Concludes That Linking To Allegedly Defamatory Content Isn’t Defamation

      Many members of the public believe the internet is subject to a completely different set of laws when it comes to defamation. Fortunately, sanity (mostly) continues to reign when courts apply REAL laws to newfangled message delivery systems. There are exceptions, of course. An Australian court recently declared Google to be the “publisher” of defamatory content posted by other people at other websites, but returned in search results. A Canadian court found a blogger personally liable for republishing defamatory statements made by others.

  • Privacy
    • Dell Compromises Customers’ Security with Pre-Installed Rootkit
    • Dell computers bundled with backdoor that blurts hardware fingerprint to websites

      Dell ships Windows computers with software that lets websites slurp up the machine’s exact specifications, warranty status, and other details without the user knowing.

      This information can be used to build a fingerprint that potentially identifies a person while she browses across the web. It can be abused by phishers and scammers, who can quote the information to trick victims into thinking they’re talking to a legit Dell employee. And, well, it’s just plain rude.

      A website created by a bloke called Slipstream – previously in these pages for exposing security holes in UK school IT software – shows exactly how it can work.

    • Every cloud has an unknown lining

      I don’t go so far as Richard Stallman, who condemns clouds as a proprietary trap to be avoided at all costs. However, if you are going to use commercial clouds, encrypt your data with a key that only you or your company members possess. Better yet, set up a private cloud, and secure it to your satisfaction.

    • Reddit will honor ‘Do Not Track’ requests from visitors

      Reddit has decided to honor ‘Do Not Track,’ a feature that will ensure that it does not download third-party analytics on to browsers that enable the option.

      The DNT option allows users to ask their browser to send websites they access a request or signal to opt-out, for example, from third-party tracking for purposes such as behavioral advertising. But as Reddit points out, websites can interpret the signal however they want and most ignore it.

    • Let’s Encrypt: The FSF beta tests a new Certificate Authority

      Let’s Encrypt is a non-profit Certificate Authority (CA), run by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG), which aims to make the process of getting X.509 certificates for Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption a trivial process, as well as cost-free.

    • Stronger Locks, Better Security

      What if, in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris, or cybersecurity attacks on companies and government agencies, the FBI had come to the American people and said: In order to keep you safe, we need you to remove all the locks on your doors and windows and replace them with weaker ones. It’s because, if you were a terrorist and we needed to get to your house, your locks might slow us down or block us entirely. So Americans, remove your locks! And American companies: stop making good locks!

    • Montana Standard newspaper plans to retroactively unmask anonymous commenters

      I must say that I’m extremely skeptical that it is really technically “impossible,” or even highly impractical, to maintain the anonymity of past comments. If the newspaper really valued its readers’ privacy, and the promise that seems to me to be made in the Privacy Policy (and that is in any event implicitly expected by commenters), I would think that some technical solution would have been eminently possible, even if it would involve some modest expense and hassle. (For instance, I assume the tech people could just replace the real names in all the existing user entries with the screen names, and then block any future posts from those now-fully-anonymous accounts. That would require users to create new real-name-based accounts, but that seems a modest price to pay for maintaining the privacy of the old accounts.)

  • Civil Rights
    • Court Rules Assassination Memo Can Stay Secret

      A MEMO ABOUT HOW the George W. Bush administration interpreted a ban on assassination can be kept secret, along with other legal documents about the drone war, a federal appeals court said in a ruling made public Monday.

      For several years, the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times have been suing to wrench documents from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Council that outline the rationale for killing suspected terrorists. Specifically, they sought the release of the justification for drone strikes that killed three U.S. citizens in Yemen in the fall of 2011: Anwar al Awlaki, his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al Awlaki, and Samir Khan.

    • ‘You Don’t See Big Changes Without Major Scandals’ – CounterSpin interview with Nicholas Kusnetz on state government accountability

      If you want to keep believing that, you should on no account read the latest State Integrity Investigation from the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity. It grades state governments on criteria including electoral oversight, legislation accountability, lobbying disclosure and public access to information, and the results are not good.

    • How the Gambia banned female ​genital ​mutilation

      Female genital mutilation is still practised at a rate of one girl every 11 seconds around the world in 29 countries. At least 130 million women and girls live with the consequences of having their sexual organs forcibly mutilated, with many suffering from fistula, maternal mortality, child mortality, infection from Aids and typhus, and post-traumatic stress.

      Just 10 minutes before Yahya Jammeh, president of the Gambia, announced on Monday night that the controversial surgical intervention would be outlawed in his country, Jaha Dukureh, an anti-FGM campaigner, received a call from the president’s office to let her know that her work had been successful. They told her the president would announce that the Gambia was moving into the 21st century and there was no place for FGM in the modern state.

    • Meditation Helped Me Survive Death Row and 19 Years of Wrongful Imprisonment

      My name is Damien Echols, and in 1993 I was arrested for three counts of capital murder in the town of West Memphis, Arkansas. Nine months later I was sentenced to death, and spent almost 19 years on death row before being released in 2011 when new evidence came to light.

      Prison is a dark and stagnant place. It’s filled with the most cold, horrendous energy you can imagine. It feels like a kind of psychic filth that penetrates into your very soul.

      Much of magick is about is learning to change states of consciousness at will. I learned to use meditation and ritual as shields. They prevented the hellish energy of prison from changing me and making me more like the people all around me—people who had given up on even trying to be human.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • Dropped AAAA record from DNS

      I host my blog on small machine somewhere in OVH. As part of package I got IPv6 address for it. Five minutes ago I decided to no longer use it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Bernd Lange accepts perverse incentives in ISDS

      Bernd Lange, chair of the European Parliament international trade committee, has sent a letter to EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström regarding the EU commission’s investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) reform proposal.

      His letter shows that he overlooks many deficiencies in the commission’s proposal, among them perverse incentives. The proposed system lacks integrity and would undermine our values. I will go through his letter line by line.

    • Copyrights
      • YouTube to defend clear examples of fair use, even in court

        YouTube to litigate copyright infringement/fair use actions on behalf of users harassed by subject to inappropriate DMCA takedown requests?

        This is apparently what is going to happen soon, as IP enthusiast Nedim Malovic (Stockholm University) explains.

      • Insurer Refuses to Cover Cox in Massive Piracy Lawsuit

        Trouble continues for one of the largest Internet providers in the United States, with a Lloyds underwriter now suing Cox Communications over an insurance dispute. The insurer is refusing to cover legal fees and potential piracy damages in Cox’s case against BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music.

      • Dear European Commission, could you at least pretend you’re listening to us?

        C4C and several of its signatories co-signed two open letters, one addressed to the European Commission and the other to the European Parliament, in order to share our concerns regarding the European Commission’s current approach on copyright matters in its public consultations.

      • Cayman loses out in Bob Marley copyright dispute

        The English Court of Appeal has ruled that record label Cayman Music does not own the copyright to 13 songs composed by musician Bob Marley, including the hit “No Woman, No Cry”.

        Lord Justice Kitchin was joined by Lady Justice Arden and Lord Justice Lloyd Jones in ruling that the 13 songs were part of a 1992 agreement in which Cayman Music transferred the rights to Island Records.

      • German Publisher Axel Springer Just Can’t Stop Suing Ad Blockers, And Attacking Its Own Readers

        As you hopefully already know, we take a bit of a different view of ad blockers around here on Techdirt, recognizing that many people have very good reasons for using them, and we have no problem if you make use of them. In fact, we give you the option of turning off the ads on Techdirt separately, whether or not you use an ad blocker. And we try to make sure that the ads on Techdirt are not horrible, annoying or dangerous (and sometimes, hopefully, they’re even useful). Most publications, however, continue to take a very antagonistic view towards their very own communities and readers, and have attacked ad blockers, sometimes blocking users from reading content if they have an ad blocker. Perhaps no publication has fought harder against ad blockers than German publishing giant Axel Springer, the same company that frequently blames Google for its own failure to adapt.

      • Axel Springer Goes After iOS 9 Ad Blockers In New Legal Battle

        German media giant Axel Springer, which operates top European newspapers like Bild and Die Welt, and who recently bought a controlling stake in Business Insider for $343 million, has a history of fighting back against ad-blocking software that threatens its publications’ business models. Now, it’s taking that fight to mobile ad blockers, too. According to the makers of the iOS content blocker dubbed “Blockr,” which is one of several new iOS 9 applications that allow users to block ads and other content that slows down web browsing, Axel Springer’s WELTN24 subsidiary took them to court in an attempt to stop the development and distribution of the Blockr software.

      • MPAA Wins $10.5 Million Piracy Damages From MovieTube

        A group of major Hollywood studios have won a default judgment against the operators of MovieTube and several associated websites. The movie studios have been awarded a total of $10.5 million in statutory damages and control over a few dozen MovieTube domains, which were taken offline earlier this year.

EPO Management Needs to Finally Recognise That It Itself is the Issue, Not the Staff or the Unions

Thursday 26th of November 2015 12:21:57 AM

“If all I say is “I’m in favor of freedom”, I have not really tackled the difficult issue, because it’s very easy to say: “I stand for freedom”, even Bush says he stands for freedom, and Bush doesn’t even recognize freedom after he’s crushed it.”

–Richard Stallman

Summary: A showing of dissent even from the representatives whom the EPO tightly controls and why the latest union-busting goes a lot further than most people realise

OUR previous post presented a new document and provided a first glimpse at the true mess inside the EPO, where not only SUEPO but also the Staff Committee has concerns. There is also FFPE-EPO, which yesterday expressed solidarity for SUEPO in its official statement. Here is the same document in all languages (much larger file).

One might rightly ask, who are in this committee anyway? Well, it is not a closely-guarded secret, so here is who’s involved. Everyone in the EPO’s management knows them and in case there will ever be some altercation (like EPO managers trying to punish or intimidate representatives), we will be better at identifying possible motivations, causes, ulterior motives etc.

These people too will probably need protection at some stage, judging by the modus operandi of Team Battistelli.

Here is the complete opening, focusing on the English version/text of the document (more languages are in the original PDF):

European Patent Office

Central Staff Committee

scl527Ocp — 0.2.1/2.2/2.3

Questions on the EPO A discussion paper on the independence of the departments in DG1

Dear Colleagues,

A structural reform of the Boards of Appeal is currently under discussion. This will be a main topic on one of the next Council meetings. The reform addresses the independence of the Boards. Independence is an indispensable requirement for legal certainty with regard to the decisions taken by the members of the Boards, but also by the examiners in DG1.

The annexed documents (English, French and German versions of the discussion paper) shall give further input to the discussion from another point of view. Some daily life situations of examiners in DG1 are reflected in a questionnaire. Many difficulties result from the hierarchical position of examiners within DG1.

As a huge part of EPO staff is allocated to other DGs than DG1 and DG3, the documents contain some background information on the current structure of DG1. This should help to increase mutual understanding of all EPO staff in all DGs. We.would like to encourage everybody to discuss the issues addressed therein with her/his colleagues and superiors.

We are interested in your feedback, which can be sent to or to your preferred staff representative. We intend to publish a follow-up document so as to summarize your comments and to provide the administration with suitable proposals.

The Central Staff Committee

There are nearly 60 more pages in the original PDF. Please note that the Central Staff Committee uses addresses, which, considering the mass surveillance inside the EPO (going as far as keyloggers and hidden cameras), very much limits one’s ability to independently operate. It’s a farcical body with no real, effective independence or autonomy. SUEPO overcame this issue by using its own domain, (EPO management now deletes or blocks E-mail from that domain, allegedly since 2013).

“Please note that the Central Staff Committee uses addresses, which, considering the mass surveillance inside the EPO (going as far as keyloggers and hidden cameras), very much limits one’s ability to independently operate.”On another subject, let’s explain the severity of this whole situation. It is becoming ever more serious right now. It not only affects SUEPO. The suspension of the staff representatives is a real bombshell and there are many actions planned as a result (we have seen some details, but won’t publicly divulge them at this point).

Some of the details began to reach us with urgency as people inside the EPO were in panic. The EPO’s management too is in panic, but for different reasons. We were told the names of the parties involved and the shocking treatment of people at The Hague. We couldn’t reveal the names of the parties at the time, but both the Munich and The Hague staff committees later published the names of the parties (right before the scandal took the blogosphere by storm).

“The staff representation has NINE members, and FIVE of these have been suspended and/or “investigated”.”We are revealing the names not because we disregard privacy because they’re essential for understanding of just how terrible the EPO management became. Jesús Areso and Laurent Prunie can both be seen above, under The Hague. They were among those whom EPO managers (or their Stasi-esque unit) attacked. Malika Weaver and Brumme (under Munich) were also attacked. So was Michels (under Vienna). Why is this important?

The above image adds one piece of information which completes the picture which hasn’t been mentioned elsewhere to our knowledge:

The staff representation has NINE members, and FIVE of these have been suspended and/or “investigated”. That’s more than half! It’s only a matter of time until they figure out something for crushing the remaining four active members.

“We kindly ask readers to remember that these members were elected despite the rotten voting system unilaterally imposed by Battistelli in an attempt to sabotage the staff representation.”One can see for oneself the composition of the staff representation above.

We kindly ask readers to remember that these members were elected despite the rotten voting system unilaterally imposed by Battistelli in an attempt to sabotage the staff representation. We have covered this in passing already.

Who would even be brave enough to be a staff representative right now? Mr. Battistelli has achieved what even Vladimir Putin could not achieve. Battistelli made himself the Sun King.

Even the EPO Central Staff Committee is Unhappy With EPO Management

Wednesday 25th of November 2015 11:14:02 PM

Summary: The questions asked by the Central Staff Committee shared for the public to see that not only a single union is concerned about the management’s behaviour

THE EPO is not behaving well and even groups that are traditionally quite loyal to the management aren’t entirely happy. Based on this new document [PDF], the Central Staff Committee has some tough questions for the EPO. It’s easy to see why the Central Staff Committee needs to tread carefully, or else risk being crushed like SUEPO. The roaring aggression of the EPO is now making people reluctant to say anything, even to colleagues (privately). It’s not just an atmosphere of fear; it’s a climate of terror from the man who purports to be fighting terrorism.

As one commenter said earlier today: “you have to be a bit careful about how you word something, and avoid accusations, but merely stick to facts in the public domain (damning enough). Could someone please let me know where it is said that you are not allowed to contact your delegate? I’m sure BB [Battistelli] does not like it, but that is not the same as it being against the Service Regulations. I have already done so a while ago on another matter. So far no comeback.”

“By the way,” this commenter added, “where are the patent attorneys in all this? They, or their professional organizations, should get active. Politicians cannot ignore representatives of industry as easily as they can civil servants.”

IP Kat is now sharing recommendation of books for patent lawyers or examiners, but there are some urgent matters we’ll attempt to address through the rest of this week. Please review the new PDF, on which we shall elaborate on a later occasion.

“It’s easy to see why the Central Staff Committee needs to tread carefully, or else risk being crushed like SUEPO. The roaring aggression of the EPO is now making people reluctant to say anything, even to colleagues (privately).”If anybody has information about a €800,000 contract, please consider sharing it with us.

It’s nice to have discovered a circulated message titled “Enemies everywhere”, wherein it stated: “The Blogger, Florian Müller, posted yesterday an article taking a clear view on the latest ac ons of the EPO, entitled “Shame on the European Patent Office for its legal threats against TechRights”: he notes that “with almost 20,000 blog posts, Dr. Schestowitz had not received a legal letter before an EPO lawyer sent him one.” and despite not being a great fan of the “opinionated” TechRights site (the latter has often attacked Mr. Müller), he adds he would personally “contribute money and lend an endorsement to a crowdfunding effort to finance his defence”.

Stay tuned for more exclusive coverage of EPO matters.

The Broken Window Economics of Patent Trolls Are Already Coming to Europe

Wednesday 25th of November 2015 01:59:15 PM

There’s the belief that from destruction come profit opportunities

Summary: The plague which is widely known as patent trolls (non-practicing entities that prey on practicing companies) is being spread to Europe, owing in part to misguided policies and patent maximalists

MANY people are very much familiar already with the “Broken Window” fallacy. To quote this short article about it, “natural disasters, wars, and other destructive events can boost an economy’s production because they create demand for rebuilding work.”

“The US patent system, much like the Chinese one, strives to maximise the number of patents (a misguided goal).”Last month we pointed out that patent trolls were entering Europe. These are parasites. They are usually confined to operate within the borders of the US, but a poorly-implemented (to benefit the rich) ‘globalisation’ of patent systems means that more of them can expand their arsenal, extend their horizons, and unleash rage upon European businesses. We have covered many examples in recent years.

The US patent system, much like the Chinese one, strives to maximise the number of patents (a misguided goal). How else can such incredibly high approval rates be explained? It’s no wonder that a lot of domains like programming can now suffer from patent lawsuits in the US. According to this new decision: “Following jury and bench trials, the court found that plaintiff’s network security patent was not invalid for lack of patentable subject matter and found the claims were not directed toward an abstract idea. “Plaintiff contends that contrary to Defendant’s overgeneralization of claim 1 of the [patent-in-suit], claim 1 covers a specific technique of protecting computer networks.”

See? Software patents. An abstract thing. Patented! Welcome to the alternative universe where programs that are reducible to a sequence of numbers (to be fed into a processor or processed/solved using pen and paper) are covered by broad patents, not just copyrights. Where would that leave science and technology in the long run? It would just leave science and technology on the run.

“The largest publicly traded patent-holding company will have to pay online retailer Newegg $15,000 after bringing a frivolous appeal.”
      –Joe MullinAccording to some new reports, e.g. [1,2], Unwired Planet (formerly Openwave Systems, which we mentioned in [1, 2, 3, 4]) now uses software patents pertaining to networks in order to troll Android (Linux-powered) players, namely Samsung and Huawei. Patent maximalists don’t seem to mind this. The significance of this is that it all happened in a UK court, not some distant district of Texas (the rocket docket for trolls).

Speaking of patent trolls, the Microsoft-connected troll Acacia (already attacked Red Hat several times over the years) is said to have lost again. As Joe Mullin put it: “The largest publicly traded patent-holding company will have to pay online retailer Newegg $15,000 after bringing a frivolous appeal.

“The order brings to a conclusion what was a once-classic example of sprawling “patent troll” litigation. In 2010, AdjustaCam LLC, a subsidiary of Acacia Research Corp., filed suit (PDF) in Eastern Texas against dozens of companies, saying that they infringed US Patent No. 5,855,343, which describes a type of movable camera clip. The list of defendants included camera makers like Gear Head and Creative Labs, as well as retailers like Amazon, Newegg, K-Mart,, and Wal-Mart.”

This happened in Eastern Texas, but now we see similar things happening in London. It’s not getting any better; it gets worse over time. People in Europe should watch these developments and trends with some concern.

Speaking of Eastern Texas, see this new article about trolls:

Texas Patent Law as If Roy Bean Were Still On the Bench: “Hang ‘Em First, Try ‘Em Later”

East Texas is really a very nice place. The people are friendly. Living is relatively easy amongst the “Piney Woods.” The region is more like the Old South, or the southeastern U.S., than the scrub brush and high plains that many usually think of when they think of Texas. Riddled with rivers, creeks and bayous the climate lends itself to the growth of Spanish moss and bald cypress. But recently it is another climate in East Texas that has attracted the most attention – its lawsuit climate.

The US Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform recently released its annual lawsuit climate survey and Texas continues to fail, recently dropping again after some slight improvement in the last couple years. The Lone Star ranks an embarrassing 40th out of the 50 states.

Given the direction of the EPO’s management, Europe might soon become the same, little by little. The UPC would certainly contribute to this, for reasons we explained here many times before.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Privateering: UK court holds Ericsson patent valid, essential to LTE in case against Huawei, Samsung

    In March 2014, Unwired Planet sued several smartphone makers over various patents it had “acquired” from Ericsson. Actually, “acquired” misses the key commercial point here. In April I took a closer look at the related arrangements and couldn’t help but conclude that this was just a pseudo-sale of patents and simply an act of what is commonly referred to as “privateering.”

  2. Unwired Planet wins first of five patent trials against Samsung and Huawei

    Licensing company Unwired Planet has scored a double victory at the English High Court after it ruled that one of the company’s 4G standard-essential patents (SEPs) is valid and was infringed by Samsung and Huawei.

    Mr Justice Birss handed down his judgment today, November 23.

    The judgment is the conclusion of the first of five trials concerning the validity and any scope of infringement of Unwired’s five European SEPs, as well as a non-SEP, by Samsung and Huawei

    Samsung and Huawei argue that the patents are invalid.

Debunking the EPO’s Latest Marketing Nonsense From Les Échos and More on Benoît Battistelli’s Nastygram to French Politician

Wednesday 25th of November 2015 01:16:12 PM

That’s a Scud by the way…

Summary: Our detailed remarks about French brainwash from the EPO’s media partner (with Benoît Battistelli extensively quoted) and the concerns increasingly raised by French politicians, who urge for national or even continental intervention

THE management of the EPO is very deep in a crisis, so it is now discouraging criticism if not demanding cessation thereof (similar to nastygrams in the slangy sense). This post will elaborate on what happened last week to a French minister (a longtime critic of the EPO [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]), but first we want to tackle some of the latest French propaganda from the EPO’s ‘media partner’ (euphemism for propaganda rag), Les Échos [1, 2, 3]. That’s because Benoît Battistelli is evidently citing this propaganda rag in private letters, in ‘support’ of his ludicrous, virtually indefensible side. As one commenter put it the other day: “In support of his argumentation, BB [Benoît Battistelli] also refers to recent press articles annexed to his letter, such as the paid-for article in EPO´s “media partner” Les Échos.”

Let’s look at what Les Échos has to say and annotate the text accordingly. “It is a sickening regurgitation of the Benoît Battistelli party line,” a reader told us, but nonetheless this reader translated the EPO-related part of the article:

Home -> Themes -> Transformation : put agility in your organisation Transformation: The “enemies” within

Yes, remember that the “enemy” is the staff. Not the management. The staff. That’s the premise.

Julie Le Bolzer | Le 19/11 à 11:39

Employees, unions and even bosses are sometimes so averse to change that the business transformation process is hindered. Some examples from the EPO, Air France KLM, and PSA.

We have already shown that PSA was altogether ‘airbrushed’ out of this article. The author loses credibility for not even mentioning this. Previously, parts that were critical of the EPO were also ‘airbrushed’ out of Les Échos articles.

As Benoît Battistelli, then director general of the [French] National Institute for Intellectual Property (INPI), took over in 2010 the leadership of the European Patent Office (EPO), his objectives were clearly defined. It was to reinforce and sustain the organisation’s competitiveness against its competitors from America and Asia, and to make it in the international office of record. Fact: the EPO, which had been created in the 1970s, has not evolved in 40 years, or very little. It is therefore necessary to profoundly reform it, at the structural, organisational and managerial levels.

“Competition with other patent offices,” we are told, is “management BS.” It’s not hard to see why given that the EPO enjoys a government-granted and government-protected monopoly inside Europe.

We are going to address and write about the roots of the EPO in some other article on some other day. The full story is rather embarrassing.

In concrete terms, Benoît Battistelli harnesses himself to a multi-pronged task: regulate salary increases (until then automatic), the right to strike and career progression (which are henceforth no longer based only on seniority but on performance), develop teleworking, implement a social agenda, adopt more transparency… And these were just the the internal transformations. On en external front, the EPO should differentiate itself from other international patent office (filing a patent in the United States costs 25% less). Amongst other innovations, the EPO supports the initiative of the countries of the European Union to create a unitary European patent, which is major progress for French and European businesses whose patents represent obvious competitive assets. The unitary patent is currently being ratified by national parliaments and could be implemented as early as next year in 26 different countries.

The thing about automatic “salary increases” is an “outright lies,” a reader told us. “Even in the “good old days” the god-damned production was #1 priority. The difference is that they can LEGALLY stand you up the wall, and they also do.”

Is the “unitary patent (UPC) a good thing? If so, for who? That’s like one of those articles boasting about the greatness of the TPP. A three-letter word on its own does not imply it’s good.

Now comes the worse propaganda:

European Patent Office : An in-house trade union is hostile to change

The problem might not be change itself but the kind of change. Big difference. They’re portraying staff as Luddites.

Here comes propaganda galore, as if Julie just did a copy-paste job without fact-check or research:

As of today, the transformation plan borne by Benoît Battistelli reveals its efficacy: an increase of 10% the productivity of the EPO and of 13% of the number of files handled (270,000 patent applications are received and nearly 70,000 are granted each year), an employer’s brand which has improved its images: more than 20,000 job applications were received for 200 positions to be filled…

As a reader put it:

“10% efficiency increase”? By what measure? Who can verify? How?

“270,000 applications” is the good ol’ pissing contest… This stupid trick was addressed repeatedly over the last few years in different blogs. The real number is about half of that. I don’t want to go in a course on patent law, but in a nutshell a large part of these applications never make it even to the doorstep of the EPO.

“The second part about Air France KLM seems a somewhat more balanced when compared to the first one,” our reader told us. “But should one trust it more than part one?”

Remember that Les Échos quietly remove the entire section about PSA. Completely too! To carry on with this puff piece:

But this process didn’t occur without resistance, nor even without grave disturbances, such as defamation campaigns, anonymous letters, personal attacks against the president and other office staff members. As any events which have left to disciplinary and judicial proceedings, some of which are still underway. The opponents to change, who are the root of opposition: certain SUEPO leaders, the in-house trade union worried by its dwindling influence over the 7000 employees, and which denounces the lack of checks and balances [literally: counter-powers] within the EPO.

Here’s a dictionary for the above paragraph:




Anonymous=afraid of reprisal from management.

Personal attacks=personal accounts.

Disciplinary and judicial proceedings=the EPO’s own Stasi-esque department (or "Gestapo"), the Investigative Unit [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]], bolstered by ‘British Blackwater’, CRG.


The part that says “worried by its dwindling influence over the 7000 employees” is a lie. SUEPO is empowered by growing support from more EPO employees; it’s only harmed by union-busting actions from EPO management. Julie obviously didn’t pay attention to protests which took place a day before she wrote this article. About 2,000 people attended these, including some Directors (so there are defections to the union’s side even at the top).

Here is the last part:

The formal recognition process of unions at the EPO is well underway, and should lead to the signature of a first agreement in the coming weeks. The trade unions will thus have a status. The social dialogue was opened last April. “The goal is to build transformation in a collegial manner”, emphasises Benoît Battistelli. In such a climate of tension and even of extreme pressure, how could one maintain the course on a reform of such magnitude? “All that is excessive is not credible”, relativises the EPO president; “in particular, I have a strong ability for resistance and my beliefs are just as strong. I am conviced that the transformation of the EPO constitutes an asset for our employees and more widely for the European economy.”

“All that is excessive is not credible,” Battistelli is quoted as saying (by translation). Oh, the hypocrisy! The rest is just window dressing. Why didn’t Julie approach a staff representative for comment? Or even arbitrary staff? See, the purpose of this whole piece is to be one sides and paint a picture where only ‘poor’ rich people are the victims, not those whom they crush.

If this is the kind of puff piece that Battistelli uses as ‘evidence’ (from his media partner, relayed by Julie), then we worry that some politicians might be easy to bamboozle and pacify.

Looking at SUEPO’s Web site, we now see several translations of several items, some of which we translated before. These come from Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ and the parts we don’t yet have are copied below for future reference and permanent retention. Here is the translation of the original blog post from the French MP, who SUEPO says “represents French nationals living in Germany and Austria (among other countries).”

Letter to Emmanuel Macron regarding the crisis at the European Patent Office

18 November 2015

I was informed last week of the actions being undertaken by the management of the European Patent Office (EPO) against a number of executives of the SUEPO staff union and representatives of the personnel. A considerable number of witnesses have also been in touch with me, as recently as yesterday. I find the aims being pursued and the methods of investigation described in these communications profoundly shocking. The state of health of the persons involved concerns me deeply, and likewise the anxiety felt by their families. I cannot accept that, under cover of immunity from outside legal intervention, the individual and collective rights of the staff of an international organization can be trodden underfoot with the aims and practices of another age. The attempts to re-establish and develop social dialogue are not disruptive. For three years I have been following with close attention the social conflict and crisis of management at the EPO. I have talked to all the parties concerned, and I have consciously sent limited reports about my meetings and the initiatives taken to ease the situation and to contribute to the efforts to find a compromise solution. What has occurred in the past few days at a number of EPO facilities, however, has shown me that all such efforts will remain in vain unless radical change is forthcoming.

I am therefore making public the letter which I sent this Wednesday to the Minister of the Economy, Industry, and Digital Affairs, Emmanuel Macron, whose area of responsibility in the Government includes intellectual property, to draw his attention to the situation at the EPO and to call our country to action.

Here is the translations of the letter to Minister Macron:

National Assembly
Pierre-Yves LE BORGN’
Deputy for French Citizens Abroad

French Republic
Liberty – Equality – Fraternity

Mr. Emmanuel Macron
Minister of the Economy and Industry
Cologne, 18 November 2015

Re: Actions taken against representatives of the personnel of the European Patent Office

Dear Minister,

I am writing to draw your attention to the deterioration in social relations at the European Patent Office (EPO). Over the past few days, a number of EPO employees, among them active members of the EPO staff union (SUEPO) and representatives of the personnel, have been the target of actions initiated by the internal investigation unit. Witnesses who have come forward to me from a number of EPO facilities have been subjected to interrogations of unusual violence, which has left these persons in a state of shock and distress which is extremely detrimental to their well-being, involving medical treatment and leading to stoppages at work. I have received emotional messages from the persons concerned, as well as from their traumatised families and their distressed colleagues. A number of retired EPO staff have likewise approached me to inform me of their alarm and revulsion, feelings which I share. This situation is intolerable.

“Witnesses who have come forward to me from a number of EPO facilities have been subjected to interrogations of unusual violence, which has left these persons in a state of shock and distress which is extremely detrimental to their well-being, involving medical treatment and leading to stoppages at work.”For close to three years I have been consistently involved with the endless issues of social conflict which have been ravaging the EPO, engaging with the staff and the executive management of the organization. I have written to you on a number of occasions, and also to your predecessors. I am well aware of the challenge posed by managing such an important organization, with the numbers of staff involved and the high stakes at issue in the field of intellectual property. Conversely, I cannot in any manner condone the fact that intimidation and management by fear have taken the place of social dialogue. The immunity from outside legal intervention of an international organization cannot be allowed to lead to policies and practices being adopted which labour tribunals would condemn forthwith in any Member State of the Council of Europe, in line with the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter.

“More than 1,000 French citizens work at the EPO facilities, falling under my area of responsibility.”Labour law cannot be allowed to stop at the doors of the EPO. It is the responsibility of each Member State to take due note of the crisis of governance which has led the organization into this situation, which it must be clear to all cannot be allowed to shape the future. A social audit must be conducted without further delay, by an independent authority, recognized and chosen by the Administrative Council of the EPO. It is vital that the Administrative Council and therefore the Member States exercise close control over all the policies being applied at the EPO, including the social policy. I am expecting our country to engage with full commitment to this effect. The argument that prudence should be exercised simply because one of our compatriots is presiding over the destiny of the EPO is not pertinent. More than 1,000 French citizens work at the EPO facilities, falling under my area of responsibility. I am their deputy, and I intend to defend them.

“It is high time for France to act, side by side with other Member States, major purveyors of patents, and to make them aware of the situation.”I shall be meeting you next week in the company of other parliamentary colleagues. It is high time for France to act, side by side with other Member States, major purveyors of patents, and to make them aware of the situation. Too much time has been lost in useless discussion since the start of the conflict. The timid reservations and protests occasionally uttered have led to nothing. It is radical change in certain policies at the EPO, and therefore resolute action, which is at issue. An international organization cannot live a life divorced from, and contrary to, that of its Member States, and, likewise, divorced from and contrary to the rights of its personnel. The EPO is in need of the greatest and most urgent attention of those who created it. It is a formidable organization, which should be encouraged and maintained, and of which the staff, with their recognized skills and commitment, must be respected. I am confident in this respect that I can count on your full attention and understanding.

Yours faithfully,

Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’

We already covered the two latter items, beating SUEPO to it by a number of days thanks to our kind French-speaking readers (definitely not EPO staff).

As SUEPO put it, Battistelli “wrote to the Minister of Economy M. Macron to report on the deteriorating situation at EPO following the suspension of 3 union officials in Munich and attacks on a further two representatives in The Hague.

“Read here the exchange of letters which followed publication of this alert: they seem to show Mr Battistelli has lost both his control and his capacity for discernment, all the while accusing SUEPO officials of any number of extravagant and extraordinary crimes.”

Battistelli and his team go not only after SUEPO, their lawyers, and politicians but also after bloggers. These thugs need to be stopped. They evidently think that in EPOnia they’re the judge and the executioner.

“A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.”

–Henry Mencken

The Sun King Delusion: The Views of Techrights Are Just a Mirror of EPO Staff Unions

Wednesday 25th of November 2015 11:44:16 AM

Summary: Tackling some emerging spin we have seen coming from Battistelli’s private letters — spin which strives to project the views of Techrights onto staff unions and why it’s very hypocritical a form of spin

THE highly (but shrewdly) misleading management of the EPO, some believe, is wrongly conflating SUEPO with Techrights whenever it suits the agenda, assuming that it’s true at all that Battistelli really pretends SUEPO is against the UPC (this recent letter from "Sun King" Battistelli to Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ says that there is an effort to "prevent the bringing into force of the Unitary Patent"). Just because I personally follow the SUEPO’s page (more regularly than before) does not mean I ever even spoke to anyone from SUEPO. As far as I’m aware, I never spoke to (or corresponded with) anyone from SUEPO. So please disregard the latest spin from the EPO. I do support a lot of what SUEPO is doing, seeing that the concerns raised in their site are legitimate concerns.

“…EPO have concluded that he must be part of the anti-UPC conspiracy and must be crushed using all resources available.”
      –Anonymous“Dr. Schestowitz,” one person pointed out in a comment, “has often expressed misgivings about the UPC. Presumably management at the EPO have concluded that he must be part of the anti-UPC conspiracy and must be crushed using all resources available.”

This reminds me of 2006 and 2007 when people wrongly associated this site with the Free Software Foundation (FSF) just because we occasionally cited and agreed with the FSF. We sometimes openly disagree with the FSF. I even had to make it very clear in an article in 2007, having seen some blogs shamelessly perpetuating myths in order to shoot the messenger, thus discrediting the messages.

Techrights was never ever a front for anything or anyone. It never received money, except a few personal donations here in there (amounting, in total, to at most 400 pounds in 9 years, which on average means less than 50 pounds a year). Don’t ever fall to the illusions perpetrated by opponents of our causes. I don’t make any money from this site; it’s operating at ‘a loss’ (as if it’s actually a business) and I work full time in a completely separate field in order to subsidise the site’s hosting (about $1000 per year). There is no hidden motive here, it’s a platform for the expression of personal views. I care dearly about EPO staff these days (mostly technical people) because I see them crushed by non-technical brutes and I simply cannot step aside. It’s a cause I will continue to fight for no matter how much EPO management bullies me. Attempts to silence me have only made me more passionate.

“Is the present VP3, Mr Van der Eijk, still on unlimited sick leave and thus out of function? Is there any information about him?”
      –AnonymousSpeaking of causes, we are still hoping to receive information about the status of Van der Eijk. We have asked repeatedly, but nobody got in touch privately or in the comments. In fact, one new comment asks: “Is the present VP3, Mr Van der Eijk, still on unlimited sick leave and thus out of function? Is there any information about him?”

In other comments we find growing concerns about how EPO managers now exploit the media for their own agenda. To quote one person: “What I find incredible is that the EPO continues to conduct its internal affairs on external blogs, in advertorials and in public letters to French politicians. What self-respecting management would be pig-headed enough to get itself into this situation?”

Here is a response in another comment that says:

I think you kind of answered your own question. Only management that is so arrogant, so blinkered by their own brilliance, and so confident in their ability to do anything they like with impunity, that’s the kind of management you’re looking at.

We normal members of staff are perpetually horrified and disgusted by the behaviour of our higher management, and can not believe the total bollocks that they keep coming out with. Every time they do something crass, we think, they can’t do anything more stupid, and then they do. It’s quite incredible really, and would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

We are dealing with ever-increasing targets (+10% and rising), which have no basis in reality, whilst at the same time seeing zero improvement in our tools (apart from the enormous amount of money spent with nothing to show for it).

Finally, says another commenter: “With regard to mgt fighting blog games, the actions of mgt are barely credible and the PR battle is going against them. For a long time they kept a lofty disregard but as the battles became uncomfortable they have signed up with agencies for tidy sums who are clearly trying for reputation mgt using a different tactic. It looks like a last stand with backs to the wall but maybe that’s wishful thinking.”

“Speaking of a cause we can support, SUEPO is chastising the EPO president for his selective ‘transparency’ again (favourable omissions).”If EPO managers were ever to accuse us of working for someone or acting as a messenger of something or someone, that would simply be a despicable act of projection. It’s the EPO that’s doing such things (with Les Échos for example [1, 2, 3]), not us.

Speaking of a cause we can support, SUEPO is chastising the EPO president for his selective ‘transparency’ again (favourable omissions). SUEPO points out “what is missing” and lists that as follows:

  • Circular No. 347 Circular on Strikes
  • Circular No. 355 Regulations for the Staff Committee elections
  • Circular No. 356 Resources and facilities to be granted to the Staff Committee
  • Circular No. 364 Implementation of the career system. Minimum qualifications for recruitment, grading on recruitment, promotion and other rewards
  • Circular No. 365 General Guidelines on the EPO Competency Framework
  • Circular No. 366 General Guidelines on Performance Management
  • Circular No. 367 Absences for Health Reasons

According to SUEPO, the above, “as well as the Financial Regulations and the Tender Guidelines, amongst others, are missing. In the interest of potential job applicants and of the public in general, SUEPO calls upon Mr Battistelli to publish the missing parts.”

Better yet, if someone has access to these documents, consider ‘leaking’ them to us (it’s not even a case of civil disobedience because civil servants deserve no secrecy). In the interest of transparency, which Battistelli brags about in his now-infamous blog post, help us host these documents. These documents are in the public interest, they relate to a public body, and they should arguably all be in the public domain. Not only job applicants deserve to see these; the whole of the European Union (and other continent/countries where patent applicants come from) deserve access. From transparency comes accountability. From secrecy comes distrust and abuse.

“Both oligarch and tyrant mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of their arms.”


Links 25/11/2015: Webconverger 33.1, Netrunner 17 Released

Wednesday 25th of November 2015 10:26:23 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Joins OSI as Newest Affiliate Member

    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI), recognized globally for promoting and protecting open source software and development communities, announced today the affiliate membership of is building a sustainable funding platform for freely-licensed works. Unlike the one-to-one matching used in traditional fundraising, uses a many-to-many matching pledge that creates a network effect (like the internet itself) so that each donation and even projects reinforce one another. A fundamental difference between and one-time fundraising campaigns that help projects get started is that pays out monthly to provide sustainability for ongoing work.

  • Google Kubernetes Is an Open-Source Software Hit

    Google Inc. has an open-source software hit on its hands.

    Google has capitalized on the growing popularity of so-called containers, which are standardized building blocks of code that easily can be moved around the Internet and across a broad range of devices. In June 2014, as containers were taking off in the world of software development, Google open sourced Kubernetes, its technology for managing clusters of containers. Since then, Google has captured about 80% of the market for cluster managers, according to consulting firm Cloud Technology Partners Inc.

  • Non-Linux FOSS: Install Windows? Yeah, Open Source Can Do That.

    For my day job, I occasionally have to demonstrate concepts in a Windows environment. The most time-consuming part of the process is almost always the installation. Don’t get me wrong; Linux takes a long time to install, but in order to set up a multi-system lab of Windows computers, it can take days!

  • Black Duck Survey: Open Source More Popular than Ever for Companies

    Open source is now companies’ “default approach” to software, and open source’s presence within the business world and the use of open source has nearly doubled since 2010. That’s according to the latest “Annual Future of Open Source” report from Black Duck Software.

  • Awfully pleased to meet you: survey finds open source needs more formal policies
  • 5 open source security tools to protect your firm

    Cyber security solutions can be expensive, often for good reason. However, there are also some very powerful open source offerings that can help keep you and company safe.

  • IBM Turns Up Heat Under Competition in Artificial Intelligence
  • Apache Incubator accepts IBM’s SystemML for open source development
  • IBM Machine Learning Algorithm Generator Becomes Open Source Apache Project
  • IBM open-sources its SystemML machine learning tech
  • IBM’s Machine Learning Technology Accepted as Apache Open Source Project
  • Indian Telcos Start Exploring SDN & NFV

    Spectrum limitations combined with growing demand for bandwidth are pushing Indian telcos to explore technologies like SDN and NFV, which have the potential to help them to maximize resource utilization.

  • Alcatel-Lucent joins the ONOS project partnership

    ON.Lab has announced that Alcatel-Lucent has joined the ONOS project, the Open source SDN Network Operating System (ONOS) for service providers and mission critical networks and a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project.

    ONOS is a carrier-grade SDN network operating system architected to provide high availability, scalability, performance, and rich northbound and southbound abstractions. Alcatel-Lucent will join service providers, vendors, collaborators and individual contributors to accelerate SDN/NFV adoption and drive open innovation.

  • How Might Open Source Fail?
  • Events
    • The Linux Foundation Becomes Steward of the Open Networking Summit

      If you’re able to get to the Silicon Valley area in March, there is a big open networking conference taking shape, with some very talented participants. The Linux Foundation is announcing that the Open Networking Summit (ONS) is becoming a Linux Foundation event, and ONS 2016 will take place March 14-17, 2016 in Santa Clara, Calif.

    • Visualize astrophysics data with Blender

      The Blender Conference has become a fantastic showcase not just of attractive art and animation, but also unconventional uses of Blender and open source software.

    • SDN/NFV DevRoom at FOSDEM: Deadline approaching!

      We extended the deadline for the SDN/NFV DevRoom at FOSDEM to Wednesday, November 25th recently – and we now have the makings of a great line-up!

  • SaaS/Big Data
  • Databases
    • MongoDB success stories

      The open source MongoDB NoSQL database is powering an increasing number of websites and services. Here are nine examples of organizations transforming their business with MongoDB.

  • CMS
    • Drupal Hub to spur on the growth of North East’s open source development community

      Drupal Hub will hold regular day time drop-in sessions as well as playing host to established Drupal events, thereby bringing people together to collaborate and contribute to the software.

      Other plans are in place for Drupal training days, Drupal user group meets, Drupal sprints and the Drupal Academy, which provides intensive training for users of all abilities.

    • Drupal-based farmOS manages food, farmers, and community

      FarmOS is a Drupal-based software project aimed at easing the day-to-day management of a farm. It allows different roles to be assigned to managers, workers, and viewers. Managers can monitor how things are going with access to the whole system, workers can use the record-keeping tools, and viewers have read-only access to, for example, certify the farm’s records.

    • Drupal 8 Released

      After years of development and a few delays, the open source Drupal 8 content management system (CMS) is now generally and freely available. Among the most popular and widely deployed CMS technologies in use today, Drupal counts and the Federal Communications Commission among its notable users.

  • Education
  • Apple
  • BSD
    • Hackfest OpenBSD presentations
    • Interview: Renato Westphal (renato@)

      My history with OpenBSD started around 2011 when I was still an undergrad student working part-time on an University-Industry partnership program. In this job I was assigned the task of implementing a full (!) MPLS solution for Linux and that task encompassed having a working implementation of the LDP protocol, among several other things. I started then looking for an open source implementation of LDP and found out that OpenBSD had a daemon called ldpd(8). I decided to check it out and it was love at the first sight when I saw its code: it was beautiful! I started then porting this daemon to Linux and on top of that fixed quite a few bugs. Two years later I decided that it would be fair to contribute my fixes back to the original implementation, it was when claudio@ invited me to join the OpenBSD team. Around that time I didn’t know much about OpenBSD and was surprised with the invitation. Theo de Raadt sent me a couple of emails and I had no clue about who he was. Nevertheless, I was excited with the invitation and started to follow the mailing lists and even bought a book about OpenBSD. Within a couple days I was hooked on it and OpenBSD became my OS of choice.

    • DragonFlyBSD Switches To Gold Linker By Default

      DragonFlyBSD has switched to using the Gold Linker by default rather than GNU ld.

      The GNU Gold linker for ELF files is designed to be faster and much more modern than the GNU linker. DragonFlyBSD has traditionally used GNU ld, but now Gold is ready for primetime use by default on this BSD distribution.

    • Clasp 0.4 — Lisp Over LLVM — Generates Code 200x Faster

      Clasp is a Common Lisp compiler based on LLVM that also provies seamless interoperation with C++ libraries.

  • Public Services/Government
    • Bulgarian ‘Future is Code’ school project ongoing

      Bulgaria’s ‘Future is Code’ initiative – where volunteers visit schools to introduce students and teachers to software development – which started in April, is continuing at least until the end of this month. The project has already introduced a handful of schools to open source. The volunteer-led project is supported by Bulgaria’s Ministry of Education.

  • Licensing
    • Why viral licensing is a ghost

      According to an historical and widely shared distinction, present on Wikipedia and generally supported by too many free software advocates including some lawyers, “Strong copyleft” (sometimes renamed “viral licensing”) refers to licences governing a copyrighted work to the extent that their copyleft provisions can be efficiently imposed on all kinds of derived works, including linked works: the same copyleft licence becomes applicable to the combination. At the contrary, “Weak copyleft” would refer to licenses (that are generally used for the creation of software libraries) where not all derived works inherit the copyleft license, depending on the manner in which it was derived: copies and changes to the covered software itself become subject to the copyleft provisions of such a license, but not the software that links to it. This allows programs covered by any license (even proprietary) to be compiled and linked against copylefted libraries such as glibc (the GNU project’s implementation of the C standard library), and then redistributed without any re-licensing required.

  • Openness/Sharing
    • Open Hardware
  • Programming
    • DVCS and Git Usage in 2015

      Git unsurprisingly is the big winner, CVS the equally unsurprising loser. Nor has any of the data collected suggested material gains for non-Git platforms. DVCS in general has gained considerably, and is now close to parity and Git is overwhelmingly the most popular choice in that segment.

    • GitHub Bugzilla Hook

      Last month I’ve created a tool which adds comments to Bugzilla when a commit message references a bug number. It was done as a proof of concept and didn’t receive much attention at the time. Today I’m happy to announce the existence of GitHub Bugzilla Hook.

    • One truly massive Git — GitLab Enterprise Edition

      Open-source GitLab is being used for collaboration across over 100,000 organisations to help large distributed teams of developers to work together and control features that allow users to build apps with both accountability and enterprise-grade support.

    • GitLab Introduces New Version of Enterprise Edition for Git
    • The Current State Of Pyston As An Open-Source, High Performance Python

      A status update concerning the Dropbox-sponsored Pyston project was presented earlier this month.

      A status update on the open-source Python high-performance JIT project was shared at a Pyston meet-up two weeks ago. For those interested, the Pyston blog shared today that this interesting video has now been uploaded.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • The Fires and Other Problems in Indonesia

      Every year about 110,000 people die and others suffer from acute respiratory illnesses because of the fires started by the palm oil and timber corporations in Indonesia. In addition, much of its wildlife is affected and CO2 levels increase drastically. Contributing to the problem is the traditional slash/burn cultivation of Indonesian peasant farmers which is supposed to be illegal under Indonesian law..

  • Security
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • UK to buy 9 Boeing patrol planes in £12 billion defence budget boost

      As part of a set of defense decisions that British Prime Minister David Cameron described as delighting President Barack Obama, the British government announced plans to purchase nine P-8 Poseidon long-range patrol planes from Boeing through a foreign military sale approved by the US government. The Poseidon, the aircraft built by Boeing to replace the US Navy’s aging Lockheed P-3 Orion antisubmarine warfare patrol aircraft, will fill the gap left by the retirement of the Royal Air Force’s Hawker Sidley Nimrod fleet over four years ago, and the cancellation of the UK’s own follow-on aircraft. It means about $1.5 billion more in business for Boeing and its partners; the Poseidon currently has a “flyaway” cost of $171.5 million per aircraft.

    • Was Russian aircraft shot down because its satellite navigation was wrong?

      Was a Russian Su-24 strike bomber over Turkish airspace earlier today when it was shot down by a Turkish F-16 fighter, as the Turkish government claimed? Or did it, as the Russians have claimed, fly in Syrian airspace and never cross the Turkish border? The Turkish and Russian governments have published conflicting evidence on the plane’s location as accusations fly between the two sides. But it’s entirely possible both sides are right—based on different data sources.

      With precision satellite navigation and radar systems available to both sides, one might think that it would be relatively simple to both know where the border was and avoid it or know for certain which side of the border the plane was on when it was shot down. But the Russians have published their own version of navigational tracking data that shows the Su-24 flying south of a part of the Turkish border that juts southward into Syria. The Turks claim that the jet, while clearly not mounting an attack against Turkey, was over a mile into Turkish airspace and had been repeatedly warned that it was on a course that would cross the border.

    • Downed Russian Su-24 Jet Located in Syrian Airspace – Kremlin

      The Russian Su-24 jet downed over Syria was located in Syrian airspace, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

    • Turkey shoots down Russian war plane on Syria border

      NATO member Turkey on Tuesday shot down a Russian fighter jet on the Syrian border, threatening a major spike in tensions between two key protagonists in the four-year Syria civil war.

      The Turkish presidency said in a statement that the plane was a Russian Su-24 fighter jet, while Turkish media said one pilot had been captured by rebel forces in Syria.

    • Turkey’s attack provocation to split int’l anti-terrorist coalition — French politician

      “The Turkish government is playing really foul games,” he wrote in his account in the web. “What was the Russian plane doing? It was delivering air strikes against the Islamic State. Did it pose any threat to Turkey? No. It means that it was another Turkey’s provocation seeking to set the international coalition which is currently being formed at odds. It is a well-staged shot in the back.”

    • The Russian Plane Made Two Ten Second Transits of Turkish Territory

      This is the official Turkish radar track of the Russian aircraft they shot down, in red. It briefly transited a tiny neck of Turkish land – less than two miles across where the Russian jet passed – twice. I calculate that each “incursion” over Turkish territory would have lasted about 10 seconds, assuming the plane was flying slowly at 600mph. That Turkey shot down the plane for this is madness, and absolutely indefensible. It is fairly obvious from the track that the plane was operating against Turkish sponsored Turkmen rebels inside Syria, and that is why the Turks shot it down.

    • Legal Does Not Mean Wise

      Even John Simpson on the BBC yesterday admitted that many innocent civilians had been killed in recent bombings of the ISIS occupied city of Raqqa. Though being the BBC, while reporting correctly that the United States, France and Russia are all bombing Raqqa, they contrived only to mention civilian deaths in a sentence about Russian bombing. That bombing creates terrorist blowback has been proven beyond any rational dispute. So if ending terrorism is truly the aim, it is a curiously counter-productive means of going about it.

    • Once Again, Media Terrorize the Public for the Terrorists

      Another devastating terror spectacle and another media panic playing right into the script: spreading fear and sowing Islamophobia. Better writers than I have documented the latter, but not as much attention has been paid to the former—how in the wake of the Paris attacks 10 days ago, much of the media have needlessly stoked fears and acted, entirely predictably, as the PR wing for terrorists.

    • Rohan Silva: David Cameron must curb the Saudi cash fuelling Islamic State ideology

      It’s been 10 days since the appalling terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut, and the focus is rightly on how to hit back. The Prime Minister has promised a “comprehensive plan”, including military action in Syria and increased funding for our security services.

      But if the Government’s response is to be truly “comprehensive”, it must also look at how we tackle the fundamentalist ideology behind the murder of innocent people worldwide, as well as the sexual slavery and rape of women in Islamic State-occupied territories.

    • The Anonymous Assault On ISIS Is Hurting More Than It’s Helping

      Except there’s a major problem with the latest Anonymous campaign. A large number of the accounts they’re suspending have absolutely nothing to do with ISIS. A review of the banned accounts by Ars Technica found that large number of the accounts were banned simply for using Arabic, with many ordinary Palestinian, Chechan and Kurdish users caught in the crossfire.

    • Frances Barber is right – Islamic extremism is changing London beyond recognition

      On Sunday evening, after the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, that excellent actress Frances Barber summoned an Uber car. When the taxi arrived, Barber observed pleasantly that it was a cold night and the driver replied that she shouldn’t be out alone at that time and that she was “disgustingly dressed”. Barber tweeted that she was so angry, she got out, slammed the door and yelled.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • What can technology do about climate change?

      Frustrated by a sense of global mispriorities, I blurted out some snarky and mildly regrettable tweets on the lack of attention to climate change in the tech industry (Twitter being a sublime medium for the snarky and regrettable). Climate change is the problem of our time, it’s everyone’s problem, and most of our problem-solvers are assuming that someone else will solve it.

  • Finance
    • Will Qora solve Bitcoin’s biggest problems?

      Marc Andreesen calls it an invention as profound as “computers in 1975″ and “the Internet in 1993.” Fred Wilson thinks it’s the future of social media. Kim Dotcom wants to build a new global network on it.

      And the team behind Qora wants to bring it directly to you—the open source way, of course.

      Qora is one of many so-called “second generation” cryptocurrencies emerging in the wake of Bitcoin’s unignorable popularity. But Qora is more than a currency. Simply put, it’s a peer-to-peer transaction technology; it allows people to exchange digital assets without an intermediary (and in relative privacy).

      To do this, it leverages the blockchain. Sure, the blockchain is the beating heart of Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency. But Qora developers believe it can power so much more.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • O’Reilly Claims He’s Never Seen Racism From Donald Trump, Then Highlights His Racist Tweet

      Fox host Bill O’Reilly defended Donald Trump, claiming he’s never seen the GOP presidential hopeful show any racism, while correcting Trump’s insensitive and wildly inaccurate tweet that falsely claimed that African-Americans are responsible for more than 80 percent of murders against whites. FBI crime data shows that the majority of murders are committed by members of the same race.

    • New Study Shows Why Media Need To Disclose Funding Behind Fossil Fuel Front Groups

      A new study found that organizations funded by ExxonMobil and the oil billionaire Koch brothers may have played a key role in sowing doubt in the U.S. about climate change. These findings reveal how important it is for media to disclose the industry ties behind front groups that consistently misinform the public.

    • A Day in the Quality of Life at the Manhattan Institute

      Ah, so the media homeless hysteria in fact preceded the public’s opinion swing, helping to shape it. That makes a lot of sense. A few straight days of front pages might convince people that there’s a problem. If “menace” can be measured through New York Post covers, then Siegel was right. And if the question of there being a breakdown of the city’s quality of life, the theme of the panel, was primarily media-made, then the Manhattan Institute was smart to stay ahead of that narrative by hosting writers and journalists at events that take MI’s own claims as self-evident.

  • Censorship
    • In Wake of Paris, FCC Seeks Power to Monitor, Shutter Websites

      Citing possible links between terror-related websites and online communications and Friday’s attacks on Paris, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler suggested Tuesday Congress give the agency more authority to use ‘big data’ to monitor and act on potential threats.

      Appearing at a hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Federal Communications Commission chairman told lawmakers that updating a 1994 law could give the agency more power to assist law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the surveillance of terror suspects online.

    • Phuc Dat Bich admits hoax in Facebook name battle

      An Australian calling himself Phuc Dat Bich who made global headlines after saying he was fighting to use his real name on Facebook admits it was hoax.

      “Mr Bich” said on Facebook his real name was “Joe Carr” (or perhaps joker).

      He said what had started as a joke between friends “became a prank that made a fool out of the media”.

      But he said it also brought out the best in people and gave encouragement to people with “truly interesting and idiosyncratic names”.

      Facebook have not responded to BBC requests for comment.

  • Privacy
    • Hardwiring Freedom

      A day in Stockholm where we discuss how to protect privacy and push back against draconian surveillance and security laws.

    • After Dropbox finds a child porn collector, a chess club stops his knife attack

      This is not particularly difficult to do. In 2009, Microsoft built a tool called PhotoDNA that automates the scanning and matching process, converting incoming images to grayscale and chopping them up into tiny squares. Each piece of image data then passes through a one-way hashing function which generates a unique number based on the square’s shading pattern. Taken together, these hashes make up the “PhotoDNA signature” of an image; any future picture that generates the same signature is almost certain to be a copy of the original image. Microsoft claims that its multi-hashing system is powerful enough to detect illegal images even after basic tweaks such as re-cropping or watermarking.

    • For a Parliamentary Investigation Committee on the Recent Attacks and Surveillance Laws

      The killings committed in Paris and Saint-Denis on the evening of 13 November have been absolutely shocking. After the sorrow and mourning, we all try to make sense of the terrible violence of these attacks, a reminder of the current state of the world.

    • Privacy class action suit against Facebook reaches Austrian Supreme Court

      An attempt to bring a class action suit against Facebook for alleged privacy violations has reached the Austrian Supreme Court. This follows a decision by the Vienna Court of Appeals that the plaintiff, the Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, could file his own claim in the local court, even though Facebook’s international headquarters are in Ireland. However, the same court also ruled that similar claims by other Facebook users cannot be combined into a class action.

      The Austrian Supreme Court is being asked by Facebook to dismiss the entire lawsuit, while Schrems hopes to be given permission to start a class action by combining his “model case” with those of others.

    • Two Dell laptop models are shipping with a Superfish-style certificate hack
    • How to Baffle Web Trackers by Obfuscating Your Movements Online

      Online ad networks and search engines love it when you surf around. Everything you do—every page you load, every query you type—helps them build a profile of you, the better to sell ads targeting your interests. Spy agencies are probably also happy to track your online moves.

    • Is the Web better without JavaScript?

      JavaScript has been a mixed blessing for the Web. It has helped provide some useful features, but it has also contributed to bloated, insecure and downright messy Web pages. One writer at Wired turned off JavaScript and shared his experience of a cleaner and lighter Web.

    • I Turned Off JavaScript for a Whole Week and It Was Glorious

      There’s another web out there, a better web hiding just below the surface of the one we surf from our phones and tablets and laptops every day. A web with no ads, no endlessly scrolling pages, and no annoying modal windows begging you to share the site on social media or sign up for a newsletter. The best part is that you don’t need a special browser extension or an invite-only app to access this alternate reality. All you need to do is change one little setting in your browser of choice. Just un-tick the checkbox that enables “JavaScript” and away you go, to a simpler, cleaner web.

    • California Police Used Illegal Wiretap Warrants In Hundreds Of Drug Prosecutions

      Earlier this month, Brad Heath and Brett Kelman of USA Today reported that the DEA was running a massive amount of wiretap applications through a single judge in Riverside County, California. Judge Helios Hernandez has signed off on five times as many wiretap warrants as any other judge in the United States.

    • NSA Collected Americans’ E-mails Even After it Stopped Collecting Americans’ E-mails

      In 2001, the Bush administration authorized — almost certainly illegally — the NSA to conduct bulk electronic surveillance on Americans: phone calls, e-mails, financial information, and so on. We learned a lot about the bulk phone metadata collection program from the documents provided by Edward Snowden, and it was the focus of debate surrounding the USA FREEDOM Act. E-mail metadata surveillance, however, wasn’t part of that law. We learned the name of the program — STELLAR WIND — when it was leaked in 2004. But supposedly the NSA stopped collecting that data in 2011, because it wasn’t cost-effective.

  • Civil Rights
    • Two dozen Disney IT workers prepare to sue over foreign replacements

      These employees are making discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, citing in part “hostile treatment in forcing the Americans to train their replacements.”

      At least 23 former Disney IT workers have filed complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over the loss of their jobs to foreign replacements. This federal filing is a first step to filing a lawsuit alleging discrimination.

    • The Sorry Tale of the PECB, Pakistan’s Terrible Electronic Crime Bill

      It is a truth universally acknowledged that a government, in the wake of a national security crisis—or hostage to the perceived threat of one—will pursue and in many cases enact legislation that is claimed to protect its citizens from danger, actual or otherwise. These security laws often include wide-ranging provisions that do anything but protect their citizens’ rights or their safety. We have seen this happen time and time again, from the America’s PATRIOT Act to Canada’s C-51. The latest wave of statements by politicians after the Paris bombing implies we will see more of the same very soon.

    • Missing Minutes From Security Video Raises Questions

      Chicago police officers deleted footage from a security camera at a Burger King restaurant located fewer than 100 yards from where 17-year old Laquan McDonald was shot and killed, according to a Chicago-area district manager for the food chain.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • Comcast Tests Net Neutrality By Letting Its Own Streaming Service Bypass Usage Caps

      By now, Comcast’s strategy for fighting internet video competition is very clear. For one, the company is slowly but surely expanding usage caps into dozens of new markets. In these ever-expanding areas, Comcast imposes a 300 GB usage cap, then charges users $10 for every 50 GB of extra data they consume. Comcast’s also now testing a new wrinkle wherein users have the option of paying another $30 to $35 if they want unlimited data. In short, the option to have the same unlimited connection they had yesterday will cost these users significantly more.

      But recently, Comcast’s other spoke in this strategy started to reveal itself. The company is slowly but surely expanding a creatively named streaming video service named Stream. Stream provides Comcast broadband-only users a $15 service that includes live TV, video on demand, and HBO, and it’s Comcast’s way of trying to keep would-be cord cutters in house.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Should intellectual property be abolished?

      The Economist has recently popularised the notion that patents are bad for innovation. Is this right? In my view, this assessment results from too high an expectation of what should be achieved by patents or other intellectual property.

      Critics of intellectual property rights seem to think that they should be tested by whether they actually increase creativity. Similarly, in the field of competition law, commentators suppose that it is necessary to balance the innovation promoted by intellectual property against the competition safeguarded by competition law.

    • EFF Joins Broad Coalition of Groups to Protest the TPP in Washington D.C.

      We were out on the streets this week to march against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in the U.S. Capitol. We were there to demonstrate the beginning of a unified movement of diverse organizations calling on officials to review and reject the deal based on its substance, which we can finally read and dissect now that the final text is officially released.

    • Key Flaws in the European Commission’s Proposals for Foreign Investor Protection in TTIP

      In November 2015, the European Commission released a proposed text on foreign investor protection in the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). In this paper, I outline key flaws in this proposal, including language buried in the text that significantly undermines the EC’s proposed provisions on the “investment court system” (ICS) and on the right to regulate.

    • IP-rimer: A Basic Explanation of Intellectual Property

      What Is Intellectual Property?

      A thing you own that isn’t a physical thing.

    • Copyrights
      • Dotcom’s Extradition Hearing ‘Ambushed’ With New Evidence

        After being scheduled for no more than a month, Kim Dotcom’s extradition hearing has dragged on for almost 10 weeks. Expected to wrap up during the next two days, there’s yet more uncertainty after the prosecution attempted to introduce new evidence at the 11th hour.

      • Kim Dotcom Slams U.S. “Bullies” as Extradition Hearing Ends

        Kim Dotcom says he retains hope as his all-important extradition hearing wrapped up in New Zealand today. The fate of the Megaupload founder, who just slammed the U.S. as “bullies”, now lies in the hands of the judge who gave him bail almost four years ago.

      • Cox Has No DMCA Safe Harbor Protection, Judge Rules

        Internet provider Cox Communications may be held liable for the copyright infringements of its subscribers, a Virginia District Court has ruled. According to the court, Cox failed to properly implement a repeat infringer policy and is not entitled to DMCA safe-harbor protection.

      • CDs should come with download codes

        There’s a Vinyl resurgence going on, with vinyl record sales growing year-on-year. Many of the people buying records don’t have record players. Many records are sold including a download code, granting the owner an (often one-time) opportunity to download a digital copy of the album they just bought.

        Some may be tempted to look down upon those buying vinyl records, especially those who don’t have a means to play them. The record itself is, now more than ever, a physical totem rather than a media for the music. But is this really that different to how we’ve treated audio CDs this century?

United They Stand: FFPE-EPO Supports Suspended Staff Representatives From SUEPO

Tuesday 24th of November 2015 06:57:46 PM

George Bush-like attacks on unions has merely united these unions, making them even stronger and more widely supported by staff

“You don`t know what you can get away with until you try.”

–Colin Powell

Summary: An obscure union from the Dutch side of things at the EPO is expressing support for the suspended colleagues from SUEPO (more German than Dutch)

THE EPO‘s representatives aren’t only SUEPO. Concerns are being expressed by other groups too, as we shall show in days to come. As comments in IP Kat serve to show, not everyone trusts FFPE (see official public site) and some comments about it are too offensive for us to gently quote here. Having said that, what appears to be an official Blogspot account of FFPE has just posted the following statement:

Dear colleagues, readers,

The FFPE-EPO is a union under the Dutch law (just like SUEPO) and has received in the past and now the same privileges as SUEPO, which means currently no facilities at all.

Due to our limited size (although larger than the numbers circulating on this blog) it has been difficult to generate significant attention. While the elected staff committee members of the EPO have almost always been SUEPO committee members, we have not had a representative talking with management. This not only means that we received information always late (if at all), it makes also clear that we are not responsible for the current mess. We hereby note that we are not sure in how far SUEPO could have prevented the current problems.

It is true that management is negotiating with the FFPE-EPO on the terms of union-recognition, the SUEPO stepped out of this process. The FFPE (European trade union, to which the FFPE-EPO is connected) is helping out on important issues. The main item that is still debated and probably the only one that could still make it impossible to sign an agreement are the current strike regulations as they are in circular 347. FFPE Central Bureau and the committee, see these regulations as incorrect, authoritarian and not fulfilling the standards of a normal agreement between unions and management. There are various possible solutions to the problem and all of them have been discussed but none of them seems for the time being particularly appealing to the EPO.

The FFPE-EPO stands for dialogue instead of confrontation.

Obviously the FFPE-EPO supports the suspended colleagues. Any disciplinary measure should be proportional, which appears not to be the case in the present situation.

The FFPE-committee

Irrespective of one’s opinion of FFPE (one might view it as ‘competition’ to SUEPO), we think everyone can commend FFPE for the latter parts of the statement, which also reveal solidarity not with EPO management but with those whom it is witch-hunting. The managers from the EPO have successfully united several unions, binding them closer together by showing their true faces.

Censoring WIPR Article About Censorship by EPO

Tuesday 24th of November 2015 04:39:17 PM

Summary: A testament to how terrified journalists have become when it comes to EPO coverage, to the point of deleting entire paragraphs

TTHE COMBATIVE EPO has certainly got what it wanted. It made journalists so scared to criticise the EPO that they would even delete their own words, without even being asked to.

I asked WIPR for clarifications after they had removed their article about Techrights. “We’ve not had contact with the EPO. We made an internal edit and have republished the story,” they told me on Twitter. (WIPR tweets linking to the article about it were also deleted by both the author and the publisher)

Upon return of the article, WIPR removed an entire paragraph (at least) from its article, then republished. This is, based on WIPR, certainly not due to threats from EPO.

Here is the original article:

Here it is after it had been taken down and then re-published (with a paragraph removed):

This is already becoming the subject of interest in some patent-centric blogs, with bloggers who express support for Techrights.

“What the Heck?” wrote Patent Buddy, “First Gene Quinn Is Threatened by WIPO, Now Dr. Roy Schestowitz Is Receiving Threats from EPO” (not only Gene Quinn was threatened by WIPO, but that’s a subject we may cover another day).

The above is clearly an act of self-censorship. It has just done a lot to reinforce what I repeatedly claimed and had written about just hours ago. This is censorship that’s more or less like Les Échos censorship [1, 2, 3] (where entire paragraphs get silently removed).

“Well, the same atmosphere of fear is now working quite effectively against too ‘outspoken’ an act of — gasp! — journalism.”Days ago we wrote about the EPO creating an atmosphere of fear for lawyers. To quote a translation of the Germany media: “The EPO has even lodged a complaint with the Lawyer’s Association in an attempt to initiate proceedings for professional misconduct against a legal colleague who also represents SUEPO. After this latest move even lawyers are starting to feel threatened by the Office.”

Well, the same atmosphere of fear is now working quite effectively against too ‘outspoken’ an act of — gasp! — journalism.

The only analogy I can think of here is the Mafia in Italy. People are not only afraid of writing about it in the media; people are also afraid to actually talk to the police about it (for fear of retribution, possibly fatal).

“If you are gonna kick society in the teeth, you might as well use both feet.”

–Keith Richards

Censorship at the EPO Escalates: Now We Have Threats to Sue Publishers

Tuesday 24th of November 2015 02:39:53 PM

“First They Ignore You, Then They Ridicule You, Then They Fight You.”

–Mahatma Gandhi

Summary: Having already blocked Techrights, the EPO’s management proceeds to further suppressions of speech, impeding its staff’s access to independently-distributed information (neither ordinary staff nor management)

THIS is a multi-part series regarding the highly abusive behaviour of the EPO, which decided to become confrontational not just against its own staff but also journalists. This is not a case of one person versus Techrights but a case of institutional harassment from a body which isn’t even complying with the law in doing so.

Techrights did not wish to publicise this, but last week there were rumours about it and journalists reached out for a comment, eventually publishing details about this whole situation. The article from WIPR has just been published (that was just moments ago), probably necessitating a response from us. There is too much to say considering the limited space of a blog, so we will do this in several parts. We want to make our side of the story known, so anyone who can blog about this or mention it publicly in social media, mass media etc. would help our cause, which is basically similar if not overlapping to the cause of EPO staff (the highly-skilled staff, such as examiners, not the managers). Anyone who has spent some time learning about the EPO scandals can easily see who’s right and who’s wrong. There are hardly even “two sides” here, except perhaps the “truth” side and the “spin” (or “damage control”) side. I have voluntarily — not for any personal gain — spent well over a year examining documents night and day, so I have a fairly good grasp or total awareness of all these scandals. I also know documents which I cannot publish.

“Anyone who has spent some time learning about the EPO scandals can easily see who’s right and who’s wrong.”I have been writing critically about companies (private companies) for over a decade, but never before has anyone responded like the EPO’s thugs did. We never received legal letters, even after writing close to 20,000 blog posts! The EPO, you see, is ‘special’. It has a history of trademark-trolling against critics. This whole thing does not exactly surprise me, having observed the aggressive ways of the EPO. I was only a little surprised to have discovered that they invoked the Streisand Effect by blocking (blacklisting or book-burning) my analyses and even more surprised that they declared a war on journalists. Who advised them on this? It’s truly misguided as it always backfires. It sounds as though they try to personify the EPO, in the form of Battistelli. I don’t think their lawyers even realise what kind of “blowback” (from EPO staff) their client is stepping into. Battistelli is probably the most hated person, even among his own staff.

“Always remember,” one person told me in Twitter. “Government has unlimited resources to destroy targets, unlike companies…”

When I first received a letter from EPO lawyers I assumed that there were trolling me. It clearly seemed as though they were sending template letters to a lot of people with threats, with the clear goal of censoring unwanted publicity. How did I know? The letter was addressed to the wrong person. They used the wrong name (see screenshot below). Template fail?

“This is quite likely a widespread campaign intended to chill and suppress journalists.”In every such circumstance, one has the right to know who is the accuser is, but the lawyers didn’t make it clear. They even refuted themselves therein. We have already seen the same kind of bullying used against Elizabeth Hardon, where there are efforts to exploit lack of awareness of the laws (no lawyers are allowed to be present) and therefore bring allegations against a person from a total vacuum, not a person.

Encircled below is proof or likely evidence that this is a widespread campaign, targeting people other than myself and subjecting them to gags, which my lawyer says are not legally-binding or potent (I never consented to these gags anyway).

A section of the first legal letter (among 4) sent to me

We kindly ask Mr. Schneider — whoever that may be — to consider coming out and telling us if he too was subjected to this kind of treatment from the EPO. This is quite likely a widespread campaign intended to chill and suppress journalists. This way, only ‘media partners’ such as Les Échos [1, 2, 3] or journalists who are complicit with EPO management (e.g. in defaming staff) will have their say. Others will self-censor or altogether refrain from coverage (either because of direct pressure from EPO or from a pressured/nervous editor/publisher). I personally experienced this kind of pressure when working as a journalist around 8 years ago. Techrights helped me combat self-censorship or editorial censorship. Everything was fine until I started ‘daring’ to write about the EPO.

In a future articles we will tackle the EPO’s accusations and also show why proper legal procedures were not even followed.

Response to Bogus Accusations That EPO Staff Protests Are Really an Attempt to Derail UPC

Tuesday 24th of November 2015 09:38:34 AM

False portrayals of an internal conflict

Summary: Common myths about staff protests in the European Patent Office (EPO) debunked, with some additional background and general perspective on recent events, the unitary patent (UPC) and so on

TECHRIGHTS has been against the UPC in all its previous incarnations (and names) for nearly 8 years because it increases injunctions, damages, and serves as a vehicle through which to expand the scope of patents, e.g. to software.

“It looks like an effort to paint SUEPO as an external enemy — the same tactic which right-wing politicians and media attempted against Edward Snowden shortly after he had unmasked himself in Hong Kong.”We have never, however (not even once!), heard from a source of ours regarding the UPC. We therefore conclude that our views on such matters are ours alone. SUEPO never expressed an opinion on the matter, neither publicly nor in person (as far as we are aware). So Where does such a fictional allegation come from? As our previous article made apparent, some say that “Battistelli said that EPO staff wants to block the community patent.” It looks like an effort to paint SUEPO as an external enemy — the same tactic which right-wing politicians and media attempted against Edward Snowden shortly after he had unmasked himself in Hong Kong. We cannot verify the claim that “Battistelli said that EPO staff wants to block the community patent,” but let’s assume we can take it at face value. A response to that has just been posted and it says: “I genuinely can’t think why BB can suggest that the staff are trying to block the EU patent. I can’t remember the union ever voicing an opinion and, in any case, that’s only a few disgruntled staff in hus view so that hardly equates to ‘the staff’. Indeed staff would quite happily be closer to the EU in terms of staff rights of association et al, so I think this may just be some form of paranoia about his pet subject. Either way, it’s not true.”

MaxDrei wrote about the French angle (remember that the main proponent of the UPC was a French commissioner): “I was startled to read that BB has accused the EPO staff of trying to sabotage the EU patent. That suggests to me that BB’s [Battistelli] actions are indeed explained as actions in support of the political imperative of making the Paris-based UPC a popular success, from the get go. When members of BB’s management team look through their group prism, why else than to frustrate their management objective is anybody opposing the team? Ergo, any resistance is mounted only by those seeking to sabotage the EU patent.”

“That suggests to me that BB’s [Battistelli] actions are indeed explained as actions in support of the political imperative of making the Paris-based UPC a popular success, from the get go.”
      –MaxDrei“How to make the UPC popular from the get go (and thereby please not only France but also Germany)? In an earlier post I suggested how. Reduce the EPO to a registation only office and disable the appeal and post-issue opposition processes. How to do that? Use EPO funds to manipulate opinion at AC level. Elevate staff distress to such high levels that everybody who can takes early retirement. Effectively stop all recruitment. That should do it! ”

One classic way to discredit a movement is to mischaracterise its goals, which in turn confuses the public and makes the movement less popular, due to poorer comprehension of motivations and aims. When it comes to the EPO, the management is either framing it as a personal attack, a witch-hunt against a single person (“Sun King” Battistelli), or an attack on the office itself (if not Europe itself), attributing it all to just a few disgruntled individuals. This is another pattern of EPO deception. They try to present it all (e.g. to the media) as a few militant people (pointing the finger at SUEPO) who are simply trying to crush the Office or its management (because of a personal vendetta).

“The last time there was a strike ballot, the ‘few’ turned out to be about 90% – which meant even more than just all union members had voted for the strike…”
      –AnonymousAs this new response makes clear: “The last time there was a strike ballot, the ‘few’ turned out to be about 90% – which meant even more than just all union members had voted for the strike (BB only allows himself to organise the union strike ballots and he chooses who can vote in order to try to scupper the vote – it was touch and go whether he would insist that he got a vote himself…). Either he forgets or he misspeaks.”

“Sun King” is fighting a losing battle here. Trying to misrepresent staff intent and mischaracterise staff protests would achieve nothing except reinforce that perception that he lies habitually.

“Blessed are the forgetful: for they get the better even of their blunders.”

–Friedrich Nietzsche

New Heise Article Makes It Clear That ‘Nazi’-Themed Accusations Against the Suspended Board Judge Were Insufficiently Substantiated

Tuesday 24th of November 2015 08:38:09 AM


Summary: The personal attacks on a judge who was illegally suspended (a so-called ‘house ban’) increasingly look like the management’s own campaign of defamation, mostly intended to marginalise and punish a judge who spoke about serious charges against VP4 (Željko Topić)

READERS are advised to recall that the EPO’s media strategy right now is to frame its dissenting staff as armed and violent Nazis or Jihadists. It’s a pretext for attacking such staff, denying staff the right to free speech. Yesterday we published 7 articles about the EPO’s many abuses. In the 7th article we mentioned this new article from Heise journalist Stefan Krempl, whose previous article had a translation of (translation into English, as posted here). This time too we have a quick translation (approximately 12 hours after publication). Here it is:

European Patent Office throws out union leaders

heise online

23.11.2015 18:33 Stefan Krempl

The European Patent Office opened disciplinary proceedings against three trade unionists and suspended them. They are accused of having unlawfully counseled employees and to have blabbered too much.

“They are accused of having unlawfully counseled employees and to have blabbered too much.”The domestic bliss at the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich remains troubled. The newest unrest is mainly caused by the agency’s harsh treatment of three leading representatives of the institution’s international trade union (SUEPO): the chairwoman of the staff representation, Elizabeth Hardon, her predecessor, as well as the treasurer have been ordered to stay away from work since last week. The EPO opened disciplinary proceedings against them and suspended them as well. They are threatened with a swift dismissal.

The unionists are accused among other things of having unlawfully counseled fellow employees as well as a recently suspended patent judge, in addition to having threatened or bullied other union members, and to have informed third parties of the ongoing internal investigations against them. An EPO-spokesman confirmed the procedure to the Münchner Merkur and the Juve professional information service.

Confidential information betrayed?

“A labour law expert having knowledge of the case declared to “Juve” that in view of the latest escalation, the legal protection of the concerned parties was reduced to a joke.”Hardon had already been threatened last September with legal measures. She was most notably inculpated of having divulged that she had been summoned before the office’s relatively recent “Investigation Unit”. Through her lawyer, the unionist had resolutely rejected the accusations in a letter to the EPO Administrative Council. The matter at stake was allegedly a single sentence in a private and confidential discussion amongst the Staff Representation, as a part of an “opinion finding process”.

“Even if the disciplinary commission were to clear Hardon and her comrades of any wrongdoings, the president of the EPO wouldn’t be bound by its conclusions and nevertheless dismiss or otherwise sanction them.”A labour law expert having knowledge of the case declared to “Juve” that in view of the latest escalation, the legal protection of the concerned parties was reduced to a joke. Even if the disciplinary commission were to clear Hardon and her comrades of any wrongdoings, the president of the EPO wouldn’t be bound by its conclusions and nevertheless dismiss or otherwise sanction them. Only at that point would the concerned parties be able to involve the International Labor Organisation’s Administrative Tribunal. But many years could pass until a final decision is pronounced, and no one can verify whether the judgement is implemented.

The Patent Office’s “Sun King”

“The Frenchman has been accused for quite a while of running the institution as if he were the Sun King.”According to some reports, about 2000 EPO-employees spontaneously gathered for a demo before the Munich seat of the organisation, which has around 7000 employees in several locations. The demonstrators’ anger was particularly directed against the organisation’s chief Benoît Battistelli. The Frenchman has been accused for quite a while of running the institution as if he were the Sun King. Even though there were strikes and demos protesting against the working conditions within the EPO before Battistelli’s time, the protest have been markedly exacerbated since his 2010 inauguration as president.

“It stated that the accusations against the jurist were insufficiently substantiated.”The EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeals meanwhile rejected a request of the Administrative Council for removing a patent judge from his office, who had been the target of an other disciplinary procedure, in addition to having been counseled by Hardon. This emerged from the decision which the IPKat blog published. It stated that the accusations against the jurist were insufficiently substantiated. This raised the suspicion that the real intent was to get rid of a “bothersome judge”. The Administrative Council nevertheless initiated around mid-October a procedure for removing him from office. The highest instance of the judicial branch of the administration will have to deal with this affair anew.

“This raised the suspicion that the real intent was to get rid of a “bothersome judge”.”The Administrative council, which is composed of the representatives of the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation (EPOrg), is the supervisory instance of the administration. It has supported Battistelli up to now. The EPO as an international administration is not subject to the law of any particular country, and thus frequently floats in a difficult to control gray area. (axk)

There is a link inside the article to the letter from Hardon, who complains about institutional harassment by "Sun King" and his team. It’s a link to Techrights. Unfortunately, the flow of information inside the EPO is greatly impeded by such institutional harassment. As one person put it, “the fact that no one dared to forward [material] in electronic form to the staff representation speaks volumes about the atmosphere of fear of retaliation that currently prevails in the Office, and the total lack of trust of staff in any meaningful form of data protection in the Office” (the EPO just arrogantly ignores European laws).

“The president stated several times that the opponents to his plans are just a few disgruntled examiners,” as this person points out, yet this president is attacking every employee. “I see that the webserver is unresponsive,” wrote another person last night. “Could it be under suffering for its unfavourable coverage of the ongoing EPO hoohah?”

“I see that the webserver is unresponsive. Could it be under suffering for its unfavourable coverage of the ongoing EPO hoohah?”
      –Anonymous“What is the opposite of a “media partner”, by the way? Whatever it is, maybe the EPO has decided that is one, deserving of special treatment.”

Actually, a massive surge in the number of cracking attempts to about 5 per second is partly to blame for accessibility or uptime issues. We don’t know who’s being such frequent attacks; we can only hypothetise. There is another new comment there, which says: “In his letter to the French representative Pierre-Yves le Borgn’, President Battistelli wrote that it was easy to prove that the interrogations of staff representatives were not violent because they were recorded. In order to prove this to be correct these recordings should be made available to the addressee by the EPO, a public institution that pretends to be more and more transparent. In fact staff are banned from the EPO premises if they make public that they were submitted to interrogation.

“The “conspirators” are not guilty of any wrongdoing either and Battistelli wilfully misled to the representative, the AC and the general public.”
      –Anonymous“Mr Battistelli further stated that there was an intense defamation campaign originated by a member of DG3 who was guilty, according to BB, of conspiracy against the EPO. Said member, according to BB, stored weapons (!) and nazi propaganda in his office and wrote racist letters. Battistelli, when he wrote this letter on 20.11.2015 was aware of the EBoA decision Art 23 1/15, which concluded that there was no convincing evidence whatsoever in this respect. Said DG3 member is thus innocent and Lord Schiemmann has been proven to be wrong.”

“The “conspirators” are not guilty of any wrongdoing either and Battistelli wilfully misled to the representative, the AC and the general public.

“Further, Battistelli said that EPO staff wants to block the community patent, which is a mere allegation, he has not permitted staff expression on this subject nor on any other and there is no “rich and respectful social dialogue” either.

“Further, Battistelli said that EPO staff wants to block the community patent, which is a mere allegation, he has not permitted staff expression on this subject nor on any other and there is no “rich and respectful social dialogue” either.”
      –Anonymous“Just to put it straight, there are, according to public EPO reports, 6000 candidates for examiner posts at the EPO in 2015, not 20.000. Productivity has increased mainly thanks to window dressing (ECfS).

“Thank you Mr. Le Borgn’.”

We are still hoping to publish a translation (from French to English) of the EPO’s puff pieces in its “media partner” — the same pieces which Battistelli is so eager to pass around to people like Pierre-Yves.

Links 24/11/2015: Asus Chromebit CS10, Second Linux 4.4 RC

Tuesday 24th of November 2015 01:43:03 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Making an Open Source Project Bloom

    During the first 2 months, it was like a dream: you develop and give life to all the ideas you have in mind. It is pure bliss.

    This phase is what I call the preliminaries. Like in a love affair, that is the best period, just before taking it into more serious territory, where complications can happen.

  • Google open-sources a tool for exporting Thunderbird emails to Gmail
  • 5 open source project management tools to help you collaborate

    This is an open source equivalent of Microsoft Project, in a similar way to how LibreOffice was an open source version of Microsoft Office. It says it has been downloaded 1,750,000 in over 210 countries and is used by major firms such as Cisco, Accenture and Boeing.

  • How GitHub Is Conquering the Coding World

    Open-source coding platform GitHub made it onto this year’s list of unicorns, thanks to impressive fundraising. But can it maintain its strong lead?

  • Analyze, collaborate, and share research with open source tools

    The most powerful free and open source (FOSS) statistics program, though, is R. Originally a FOSS version of the statistics language S, R has shown explosive growth over the last few years, with some 7,000 add-on packages available to handle nearly any statistical requirement and an increasing number of books, courses, and blogs (e.g. R-bloggers) focusing on practical usage. Some websites concentrate specifically on how to use R for psychological research—an example is William Revelle’s Personality Project, which also offers an R package called psych, a toolbox for personality, psychometrics, and experimental psychology.

  • Spiraling head first into open source

    A little while back, Rikki, Jen, and company at told me that they were asking people to share their open source stories about how they got interested in open source and started contributing.

    Well, for the bored among you, here is my story. As usual, share your feedback in the comments. I am curious to hear your mockery of my life choices back then.

  • 10 products that big tech companies have open-sourced recently

    In a very general and somewhat nebulous way, open-source software is on the rise. Acknowledging the importance of its large and growing role in enterprise computing has become an increasingly common activity, thanks to the prominence of open-source technology in everything from containerization to the cloud. A possible consequence of this is that major tech companies have been making more frequent gifts of code to the open-source community of late. Take a look at 10 of the most noteworthy.

  • Open Source Developers Are ‘Too White And Too Male’

    Bowen, who himself grew up in Kenya then later moved to the US, said: “I would like to see far more diversity. I would like to see far fewer projects that are ‘white men’. I would like to see more Africans involved in our projects.

  • How is open source impacting NFV and SDN deployments?

    Open source continues to be a growing influence on the rollout of software deployments across the telecom space, with a greater focus on using open-source platforms to power network functions virtualization and software-defined networking.

  • Q.Rad Meshes Open Source Software, High Performance Computing and Heat

    Can open source software heat your house? High-performance computing (HCP) provider Qarnot thinks so. The company has produced a Linux-based device called the Q.rad that delivers heat while also crunching numbers in the cloud.

  • Events
    • Open Source Enthusiasts to Converge on Asterisk World at ITEXPO East 2016
    • Desktops DevRoom @ FOSDEM 2016: Have you submitted your talk yet?

      FOSDEM 2016 is going to be great (again!) and you still have the chance to be one of the stars.

      Have you submitted your talk to the Desktops DevRoom yet?

    • OSCON Deadline Nears, Linux in High Places & More…

      While the folks at the Southern California Linux Expo are putting the final touches on the speaker schedule for SCALE 14X, which takes place in January in Pasadena, a little further north in Sebastopol in the San Francisco Bay Area, our friends at O’Reilly are watching the clock wind down to the deadline for their speaker submissions for OSCON. OSCON’s proposal deadline is midnight on Nov. 24 for a conference which takes place in mid-May 2016 in Austin, Texas. This, of course, means that while you’re racing to get that proposal in — and we know you are (and that’s okay) — you’re going to want to keep in mind that it’s still going to have to be relevant in a half-year. Your mantra, then, from here on in is “long shelf life.” And good luck with that proposal.

  • SaaS/Big Data
    • ClusterHQ Bringing Storage Smarts to Docker Containers

      VIDEO: ClusterHQ CEO Mark Davis discusses the Docker storage opportunity and how his company’s open-source Flocker technology fits in.

      Mark Davis is no stranger to the world of virtualization storage. From 2007 until 2013, Davis was CEO of storage virtualization vendor Virsto, which he sold to VMware. Now Davis is once again in the storage virtualization space, this time as CEO of Docker storage startup ClusterHQ.

    • Container Security, Management Advances Grab DockerCon EU Spotlight

      Few technologies are as hyped today as is the open-source Docker container ecosystem. At the the DockerCon EU conference in Barcelona, Spain, held Nov. 16-17, developers, users and vendors from around the world gathered to not only learn more about Docker, but to also demonstrate new technologies and talk about what’s next. For Docker Inc., the lead commercial sponsor of Docker, the event was an opportunity to highlight its next big commercial service, the Universal Control Plane, which provides enterprise-grade deployment and management capabilities. Meanwhile, one primary topic of discussion in multiple sessions was security, with new capabilities announced including hardware-based key signing for application images as well as enhanced control of applications through user namespace policies. Docker isn’t just about Docker Inc.—it’s a broad ecosystem of vendors, with IBM and Hewlett Packard Enterprise among the big-name supporters. Users of Docker also were front and center at the event, with gaming vendor Electronic Arts talking about how it uses containers to deliver mobile gaming infrastructure and airline software vendor Amadeus discussing how containers can work in a highly regulated, compliance-driven environment. In this slide show, eWEEK takes a look at some of the highlights of the DockerCon EU event.

    • Mirantis Led FUEL Project Gets Installed Under OpenStack Big Tent

      Mirantis first publicly released the FUEL library as an open-source effort in March of 2013. Now the FUEL effort has been formally approved by the OpenStack Foundation to be included under what is known as the ‘Big Tent’ model.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
  • CMS
  • Education
  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • DragonFlyBSD 4.4 Up To RC State, DragonFlyBSD 4.5 In Development

      The DragonFlyBSD operating system continues to move along.

      With the kernel being branched for 4.4 and DragonFlyBSD 4.4 RC being tagged, the latest Git code for the DragonFlyBSD kernel has moved onto DragonFlyBSD 4.5.

    • going full pledge

      Looking at Theo’s status of pledge update there’s a lot of programs on the list, including some which may seem a bit silly. But the effort has turned up some interesting bugs and misfeatures along the way.

    • GCC 5.3 To Be Released Within A Few Weeks

      While GCC 6 is the next major feature release of the GNU Compiler Collection that will come out in 2016, GCC 5.3 will be here in likely about two weeks.

      GCC 5.3 is just the latest point release to GCC 5, per the group’s version handling change that began with the GCC 5 release earlier this year. GCC 5.3 is mainly about bug-fixes and documentation updates.

    • GNU Radio Drives Oscilloscope

      These days we are spoiled with a lot of cheap test equipment. However, you can do a lot of measurements with nothing more than an oscilloscope. Add something like a signal generator and you can do even more. One classic technique for frequency measurement, for example, is using a scope to display a Lissajous pattern. [Franz Schaefer] has a video showing how to generate these useful curves with GNU Radio.

    • Happy 20th Anniversary, The GIMP!

      On November 21, 1995, the announcement that there was a program for image manipulation was made.

      This program, originally named The General Image Manipulation Program and now known as the GNU Image Manipulation Program (The GIMP), in my opinion, is the best software I have ever used to work with images.

    • GnuTLS 3.4.7

      Released GnuTLS 3.3.19 and GnuTLS 3.4.7 which are bug fix releases in the current and next stable branches.

    • October/November GNU Toolchain Update

      The compiler and assembler now have support for the ARC EM/HS and ARC600/700 architectures and the Power9 variant of the PowerPC architecture.

      The GCC mainline sources are now in Stage 3 (bug fixes only) which means that a branch may be happening soon.

      The Binutils sources have branched, getting ready for a 2.26 release soon.

      GDB’s record instruction-history command accepts a new modifier: /s. This behaves exactly like the /m modifier and prints mixed source + disassembly into the history.

    • GNU Parallel 20151122 (‘Bataclan’) released [stable]

      GNU Parallel 20151122 (‘Bataclan’) [stable] has been released. It is available for download at:

      No new functionality was introduced so this is a good candidate for a stable release.

    • GnuTLS 3.4.x
    • Concurso Universitario de Software Libre 2015-2016
    • Give a talk in GNU Guile’s track at FOSDEM!
    • TPP Article 14.17 & Free Software: No Harm, No Foul

      The first official public release of the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement (known universally as the TPP) on November 5, 2015 generated much heated speculation. The ideal of “open agreements, openly arrived at” remains regrettably unattainable in international affairs. “Fast track” trade negotiating authority in the US means that parties excluded from the negotiating process have a short time in which to mobilize for or against the treaty as a whole in light of their specific concerns. The premium on speed of response to a very lengthy and complex legal document—and the presence of intense public attention—guarantees that hasty judgment and occasional self-promotion will always outrun professional analysis; this is one of the inherent defects of secret legislation.

      In this context, early commentary on the TPP draft included much speculation that one provision in the draft’s chapter on electronic commerce might have serious negative consequences for free software and open source licensing, distribution, or government acquisition. Some lay readers marched immediately to the conclusion that, in less than 200 words ostensibly about something else, the negotiators had (a) abolished free licensing; (b) prohibited governments from acquiring, supporting or preferring free software; or (c) had interfered with the enforcement of free licenses. Other non-professional readers invented complex demonstrations that one or more of these catastrophes had not occurred.

  • Project Releases
    • HarfBuzz 1.1 Released

      This text shaping library used by Firefox, Chromium, LibreOffice, Qt, Pango, and others is up to version 1.1 as its latest stable release. HarfBuzz 1.1 implements a ‘stch’ stretch feature for supporting the Sryiac Abbreviation Mark, implements shaping of various Unicode space characters, fixes resulting from continous fuzzing, and other bug fixes and optimizations.

    • ​Secure Network Time Protocol goes beta

      Network Time Protocol is a vital part of the Internet that’s recently been used in major DDoS attacks. To keep it from misused in the future, the first secure version of NTP beta has just been released.

  • Public Services/Government
    • Open source powers South Tyrol eGovernment forms

      The Italian province of South Tyrol is taking into production an eGovernment forms system based on open source software. The province’s form engine is based on Orbeon, running on the CentOS Linux distribution.

  • Openness/Sharing
    • 9 tasty recipes to share, modify, and remix
    • Customize An Open-Source HAL For Your Home

      Engineers Ryan Sipes and Joshua Montgomery wanted their makerspace in Lawrence, Kansas, to be more intuitive. So they borrowed an artificial intelligence system from other makers and used it to do simple tasks, such as controlling the lights or playing music. Then they realized they could create a better one—and sell it.

    • Policy Committee Task Force Unveils Interoperability Suggestions
    • FDA Unveils Open-Source Genomic Data-Sharing Platform

      FDA’s Office of Health Informatics contracted with cloud-based genome informatics and data management company DNAnexus to create the precisionFDA platform.

    • FCC rules for wireless router firmware, open wheelchairs and insulin, and more news
    • Open Source Pharma – An Initiative For The Health Of Poor

      A young boy in some part of India losses both his sisters before their fifth birthday and losses his father before he could complete his 10 year. It all happened because the pharma companies as well as government failed to keep the prices of the drugs under the reach of poor. But one brilliant move can end up this entire situation and may replace the current crippled system and it is named as OPEN SOURCE PHARMA.

      With the advent of social entrepreneurship and propagation of market unsettling ideas, such as open data, open software, and crowd sourcing, it is possible that the Open Source Pharma Conference could be the beginning of the end to generations of pain and suffering that community like us endured. Primarily, we need to stimulate a culture of openness, crowd sourcing and data sharing. Exploiting the input of many and sharing information can truly help get us from A to B as quickly as possible. It can also tell us when we need to stop. The ability to also hold out our data to scrutiny is the only true way to truly validate information. It may also open up new ideas and hypotheses that may subsequently advance the field.

      The basic Vision for Open Source Pharma is “MEDICINE TO ALL”. It can only be achieved by creating a movement that includes existing initiatives and develops an alternative, comprehensive, open source pharmaceutical system driven by principles of openness, patient needs, and affordability.

    • Open Hardware
      • Divide and Conquer

        Well… A few weeks back, I receive a feedback about the main class of the Br-Print project. This main class was friendly called a God Class. The God Class complex is when a class knows too much and does too much. Well, when a problem on this project is shown to me, starts to bug’s me. So I start the Divide and Conquer branch. Breaking the main class in others minor classes, to increase the level of abstraction and make the code more easy to read.

      • Is it time for Open Source Hardware x86 OLinuXino?

        We have been so focused on ARM that somehow we have missed the Intel latest development.

      • MichiganTech Professor, Student Help Bring 3-D Printing to Nicaragua

        With all the technology we have today, there are so many possibilities. The whole world can collaborate and create open-sourced information to help develop thousands of scientific uses for various new technologies like 3-D printing.

      • Michigan Tech and Eric Friesen help bring RepRap open source 3D printing to Nicaragua

        3D printing is quickly becoming a global phenomenon, thanks in large part to open source hardware and software, which enable even those regions seen as resource-poor to freely access the information they need to create functional 3D printing machines and materials. However even with these advances, many developing countries still lack basic access to technology, which can be harmful to their economic development as a whole. One such country is Nicaragua, where the kinds of materials taken for granted in the US are extremely difficult to obtain, slowing the nation’s progress in terms of digital manufacturing at all levels, and particularly for the individual workers and families who could stand to benefit the most. 3D printed tools, repair parts, or even prosthetics could improve people’s work, economic or medical situations—but only if they have access to design and create them themselves.

      • Video: Want to Control Things With Your Mind? Get Some Open Source Hardware

        Anyone with an interest in this futuristic tech can explore it. Open BCI, a collective of engineers and artists, has created affordable open source hardware that allows everyone to experiment with creating an interface between their brain and a computer.

  • Standards/Consortia
    • ODF – the state of play – The future of ODF under OASIS, now that the standards war is won.

      ODF – open document format – is an open, XML-based rich document format that has been adopted as the standard for exchanging information in documents (spreadsheets, charts, presentations and word processing documents), by many governments and other organisations (see, for example, here), including the UK Government. This is despite strong opposition by Microsoft; but I have seen Microsoft’s proposed “open XML” standard and, frankly, it is huge and horrid (in the word of standards, these go together). If I remember correctly, the early draft I saw even incorporated recognition of early Excel leap-year bugs into the standard.

      ODF is now a pukka ISO standard, maintained by OASIS, under the proud banner: “The future is interoperability”.

      My personal thoughts, below, are prompted by an ODF session at ApacheCon Core titled “Beyond OpenOffice: The State of the ODF Ecosystem” held by Louis Suárez-Potts (community strategist for Age of Peers, his own consultancy, and the Community Manager for, from 2000 to 2011), and attended by very few delegates – perhaps a sign of current level of interest in ODF within the Apache community. Nevertheless, and I am talking about the ODF standard here, not Apache Open Office (which is currently my office software of choice) or its Libre Office fork (which seems to be where the excitement, such as it is, is, for now), the standards battle, or one battle, has been won; we have a useful Open Document Format, standardised by a recognised and mature standards organisation, and even Microsoft Office supports it. That’s good.

  • 6 Realities In A Super Religious Family That Wants Me Dead

    Children will make choices in life that baffle or enrage their parents. For most of us, these choices never result in anything worse than a few icy dinners before mom finally accepts that the nose ring is a part of you, dammit. But for some young Muslims, mostly women, the cost of disappointing mom and dad is much, much higher. In fact, it can be deadly. Cracked sat down with Azime (not her real name), who lives in fear that her parents will discover her “secret life” as a normal adult woman and murder her for it.

  • Sepp Blatter says he was close to death after being taken to hospital earlier this month

    Sepp Blatter has said he was “close to dying” upon being hospitalised this month following a health scare.

    The Fifa president, who is facing a multi-year ban from football and is currently serving a 90-day provisional suspension, spent several days being treated for stress before being discharged from hospital a week and a half ago.

  • Health/Nutrition
  • Security
    • Break a dozen secret keys, get a million more for free

      For many years NIST has officially claimed that AES-128 has “comparable strength” to 256-bit ECC, namely 128 “bits of security”. Ten years ago, in a talk “Is 2255−19 big enough?”, I disputed this claim. The underlying attack algorithms had already been known for years, and it’s not hard to see their impact on key-size selection; but somehow NIST hadn’t gotten the memo, and still hasn’t gotten it today.

    • Responsible Disclosure Is Wrong

      Unfortunately, the debate is hampered by poor terminology.


      The term is a bit of a misnomer really — as researchers our responsibility is to users, though often the term is seen as meaning a responsibility to vendors. This is the biggest issue I have with the term, it’s used as focusing on the wrong group in a disclosure. As a security researcher my responsibility is to make the world a safer place, to protect the users, not to protect the name of a vendor.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • On the trail of terror

      There is no prescription here. Only a warning, a feeling I picked up during that ill wind that blew me from the Bekaa Valley to Brussels, via Paris.

      It’s a simple one: Worse lies ahead down the road that world leaders are currently plotting. A Russian-French agreement to work together to punish IS, while necessarily empowering the remnants of the al-Assad regime to expand back into parts of the country where it is feared and reviled, will not stem the refugee flow from Syria. Nor will it convince the country’s Sunni Muslims that we care about their interests. The same applies in Iraq, where we bolster the Kurds and a hated national army against IS there.

      “Why don’t they stay and fight for their country?” is one barb often aimed at the young men fleeing Iraq and Syria.

      The root of the problem is, they don’t have one.

    • Arsenal Discovered as Belgium Capital Enters Lockdown

      A terrorist arsenal has been discovered during overnight searches in a suburb of Brussels.

      Chemicals and explosives were among the items found in the Molenbeek suburb, a rundown neighborhood where Paris attacker Abdelhamid Abaaoud was suspected of operating a terrorist cell.

      The find came as Belgium’s capital entered a security lockdown. The government has warned that there could be a repeat of Paris-style attacks in the country’s capital, prompting the closure of subways in Brussels and the deployment of heavily armed police and soldiers.

    • Inside the surreal world of the Islamic State’s propaganda machine

      The assignments arrive on slips of paper, each bearing the black flag of the Islamic State, the seal of the terrorist group’s media emir, and the site of that day’s shoot.

      “The paper just gives you the location,” never the details, said Abu Hajer al-Maghribi, who spent nearly a year as a cameraman for the Islamic State. Sometimes the job was to film prayers at a mosque, he said, or militants exchanging fire. But, inevitably, a slip would come with the coordinates to an unfolding bloodbath.

    • Former Drone Operators Say They Were “Horrified” By Cruelty of Assassination Program

      U.S. DRONE OPERATORS are inflicting heavy civilian casualties and have developed an institutional culture callous to the death of children and other innocents, four former operators said at a press briefing today in New York.

      The killings, part of the Obama administration’s targeted assassination program, are aiding terrorist recruitment and thus undermining the program’s goal of eliminating such fighters, the veterans added. Drone operators refer to children as “fun-size terrorists” and liken killing them to “cutting the grass before it grows too long,” said one of the operators, Michael Haas, a former senior airman in the Air Force. Haas also described widespread drug and alcohol abuse, further stating that some operators had flown missions while impaired.

      In addition to Haas, the operators are former Air Force Staff Sgt. Brandon Bryant along with former senior airmen Cian Westmoreland and Stephen Lewis. The men have conducted kill missions in many of the major theaters of the post-9/11 war on terror, including Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      “We have seen the abuse firsthand,” said Bryant, “and we are horrified.”

    • Exclusive: Air Force Whistleblowers Risk Prosecution to Warn Drone War Kills Civilians, Fuels Terror

      Has the U.S. drone war “fueled the feelings of hatred that ignited terrorism and groups like ISIS”? That’s the conclusion of four former Air Force servicemembers who are speaking out together for the first time. They’ve issued a letter to President Obama warning the U.S. drone program is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism. They accuse the administration of lying about the effectiveness of the drone program, saying it is good at killing people—just not the right ones. The four drone war veterans risk prosecution by an administration that has been unprecedented in its targeting of government whistleblowers. In a Democracy Now! exclusive, they join us in their first extended broadcast interview.

    • Hannity Misreads A Pew Study To Claim That “Significant” Numbers Of Muslims Support ISIS

      Radio host and Fox News personality Sean Hannity grossly misrepresented a Pew Research poll detailing views of ISIS in countries with significant Muslim populations to misleadingly claim that there are “significant levels of support for ISIS within the Muslim world.” The survey actually found that Muslim views of ISIS are “overwhelmingly negative.”

    • Shoot to Kill and News Management

      I did not believe the official story of Hasna Ait Buolacehn the moment I saw it. The official line was that she was a suicide bomber who blew herself up when the police stormed the apartment in St Denis where the alleged terrorist ringleader was hiding out. But that story seemed to me completely incompatible with the recordings on which she could plainly be heard screaming “He is not my boyfriend! He is not my boyfriend” immediately before the explosion. She sounded like a terrified woman trying to disassociate herself from the alleged terrorist. It was a strange battle cry for someone who believed themselves on the verge of paradise.


      I have no difficulty with the principle that the police should shoot people who are shooting at them. I outraged many friends on the left for example by not joining in the criticism of the police for killing Mr Duggan. People who choose to carry guns in my view run a legitimate risk of being shot by the police, it is as simple as that. Jean Charles De Menezes was a totally different case and his murder by police completely unjustifiable. In Paris it appears plain that the police were in a situation of confrontation with armed suspects.


      The media could help if they were in any way rational and dispassionate, or ever questioned an official narrative. It is an urgent and irrepressible question as to why the BBC journalist did not ask the French policeman “and why did you not say this 48 hours ago when you were content to allow the story to run that she was a suicide bomber?”

    • Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It

      Black Daesh, white Daesh. The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage and despises archaeology, women and non-Muslims. The latter is better dressed and neater but does the same things. The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia. In its struggle against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the other. This is a mechanism of denial, and denial has a price: preserving the famous strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia at the risk of forgetting that the kingdom also relies on an alliance with a religious clergy that produces, legitimizes, spreads, preaches and defends Wahhabism, the ultra-puritanical form of Islam that Daesh feeds on.

      Wahhabism, a messianic radicalism that arose in the 18th century, hopes to restore a fantasized caliphate centered on a desert, a sacred book, and two holy sites, Mecca and Medina. Born in massacre and blood, it manifests itself in a surreal relationship with women, a prohibition against non-Muslims treading on sacred territory, and ferocious religious laws. That translates into an obsessive hatred of imagery and representation and therefore art, but also of the body, nakedness and freedom. Saudi Arabia is a Daesh that has made it.

    • Relevance of international laws in Geneva process

      If The Island report is correct, the Sri Lanka HRC has concluded that that the conflict was NOT an Armed Conflict as defined by Protocol 3. The impact on Sri Lanka as a result of the position taken by the Sri Lanka HRC would be to categorize acts such as No-Fire Zones, Shelling of hospitals, shortfalls in delivery of food, medicine and other humanitarian aid to the civilians and post-conflict treatment of combatants and non-combatants as Human Rights violations, whereas all of them could be explained and found acceptable under provisions of International Humanitarian Law applicable to Non-International Armed Conflict. Therefore, without arbitrarily declaring that the Geneva process should be based on Human Rights Law, the task for Dr. Udagama and the HRC is to first establish grounds for rejecting the UNHRC’s categorization that the conflict in Sri Lanka was a Non-International Armed Conflict.

    • A Saudi Court orders a Sri Lankan woman be stoned to death

      A Saudi Arabian Court has ordered a Sri Lankan housemaid to be stoned to death for having a clandestine affair with another Sri Lankan man working in Saudi Arabia.

      Sri Lankan Foreign Employment Bureau stated that the Saudi Court has ordered that the man, a bachelor be whipped as punishment.

      However a Ministry official said that the Sri Lankan Embassy in Saudi Arabia has contacted the Saudi Authorities to ascertain whether there would be a possibility of reconsidering the verdict.

    • Policy of Intervention Leads to Paris-Style Massacres – Ron Paul

      The Paris attacks have prompted American war-hawks to advocate even more US intervention in the Middle East; unfortunately, none of them have ever tried to understand the genuine motivation of the attackers, former Republican congressman Ron Paul underscores.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife
    • Sanders: ‘To hell with the fossil fuel industry’

      Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Saturday called for Republicans to abandon the corrupting influence of the Koch brothers and other wealthy energy magnates.

      “This is a party that rejects science and refuses to understand that climate change is real,” he said of GOP during the annual Blue Jamboree in North Charleston, S.C.

      “I understand if you stand up to the Koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry, that you’ll lose your campaign contributions,” the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate added.


      “When you have people like the Koch brothers and ExxonMobil today spending huge amounts of money trying to deny that reality, it slows up the entire world from aggressively addressing what is an international crisis,” he said late last month. “This is serious stuff.”

    • El Nino-Fueled Drought May Cause More Destructive Wildfires to Ignite Across Indonesia During Winter

      Despite recent rain, the effects of the fires that have been ravaging Indonesia since July have left much of the country in an ecological disaster.

      The fires have taken a toll on the environment with 5.1 million acres scorched. They are also responsible for, “21 deaths, more than half a million people sickened with respiratory problems and $9 billion in economic losses, from damaged crops to hundreds of cancelled flights,” The Associated Press said.

    • [Around the Globe] Tales of Indonesia’s Fire and Haze

      Late last month, authorities raised the alarm after the thick haze has spread and covered many parts of Indonesia and neighboring countries like Malaysia, Singapore and southern part of the Philippines. The haze enveloped the atmosphere, turning the skies into a toxic sepia-color.

      Torrential rains have helped doused the fires but there the Indonesian government said it needed at least three years to tackle the haze problem.

      More than half a million people are affected by the choking smoke. Thousands of Indonesians have inhaled the fumes and are now suffering from respiratory diseases. Six provinces in Indonesia already declared state of emergency. Schools were closed down and there were also flight cancellations in Singapore and Malaysia and even in the Philippines.

  • Finance
    • Hillary is in too deep: Why she’ll never be able to extricate herself from Wall Street

      The highlight of Saturday night’s Democratic debate was when former Secretary Clinton invoked the September 11 attacks to try to defend her courting of Wall Street donors. The awkward defense of her political ties even spawned a rare New York Times editorial criticizing Clinton.

      The fact is, there is no way that Hillary Clinton can pretend she doesn’t have a cozy relationship with an industry that personally enriched her family, formed the basis of political support for her career and is doing everything it can to make her president.

    • Sanders outlines pro-capitalist, pro-war positions in speech on “democratic socialism”

      In a speech Thursday afternoon at Georgetown University, Senator Bernie Sanders made it clear that what he calls “democratic socialism” has nothing to do with either socialism or the defense of democratic rights.

      The candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination explicitly rejected any connection with socialism as a movement of the international working class to put an end to capitalism and establish a society based on collective ownership of the means of production.

    • ‘You Cannot Build a Strong Economy on a Falling Wage Floor’

      Janine Jackson: Whether the federal minimum wage should be raised was the first question of the recent Republican presidential candidates’ debate. Unsurprisingly, the responses ranged from no to hell no, but given a media environment in which some pundits claim that there is no wage too low to pay someone, it’s significant that the question even came up.

      When you think of the fight to raise the minimum wage, you might think of fast food workers who’ve been at the forefront of the Fight for $15 movement that’s put a higher wage on the agenda in places like Seattle and Los Angeles and here in New York. You don’t, most likely, think of business owners, as media’s standard presentation often pits business owners, with their eyes supposedly on profits, against workers looking to earn enough to live on.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
  • Censorship
    • Google Counsel Sees Problems With ‘Take Down, Stay Down’

      When content is taken down in response to a DMCA notice, should service providers be required to stop the same content from reappearing? Major copyright holders believe they should but the issue is complex. Speaking at a copyright conference this week a Google counsel outlined several problems, concluding that the system “just won’t work.”

    • Unintended Consequences, European-Style: How the New EU Data Protection Regulation will be Misused to Censor Speech

      Europe is very close to the finishing line of an extraordinary project: the adoption of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a single, comprehensive replacement for the 28 different laws that implement Europe’s existing 1995 Data Protection Directive. More than any other instrument, the original Directive has created a high global standard for personal data protection, and led many other countries to follow Europe’s approach. Over the years, Europe has grown ever more committed to the idea of data protection as a core value. In the Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, legally binding on all the EU states since 2009, lists the “right to the protection of personal data” as a separate and equal right to privacy. The GDPR is intended to update and maintain that high standard of protection, while modernising and streamlining its enforcement.

    • GOP lawmaker calls on FCC to ban social media, other sites

      At an FCC hearing today, Representative Joe Barton (R-TX) asked the FCC if it could take action to shut down social media sites in order to hamper and block terrorist communications. The entire episode seems at least partly sparked by erroneous reports that the Paris terrorists used PS4 games to communicate and coordinate their attacks (those reports have been retracted).

    • War Correspondent and Veteran Michael Yon Calls Out Facebook Censorship
    • Facebook censorship: Had a post removed and don’t know why?

      Another case is the controversial 2012 anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims, which was uploaded to YouTube but then blocked in a number of countries after it sparked riots.

      People who want to report blocked content can answer a series of questions on the Online Censorship website.

      “We will use that data to present more detail about how companies are censoring content,” according to Jillian.

    • What Facebook and Twitter ban: New tool tracks social media censorship
    • Censorship in India always a problem: Sudhir Mishra

      As the CBFC continues to face ire of the society for its extreme censorship policies, filmmaker Sudhir Mishra says censorship in India was always a problem.

    • EFF’s new website keeps an eye on social media censorship

      Facebook, Instagram and other social media websites had been in hot water many, many times in the past for purging content other users deem inappropriate. In order to pinpoint the exact reasons for those takedowns and to determine trends in content removals, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has created a website that tracks censorship across social media outlets. The EFF has built the platform called Online Censorship along with data-driven design company Visualizing Impact. It has resources, such as articles that talk about unjust removal of posts, but it relies on user reports to gather the data it needs.

    • EFF’s to tackle Twitter and Facebook takedowns
    • Tracking Content Takedowns by Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Sites

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Visualizing Impact launched today, a new platform to document the who, what, and why of content takedowns on social media sites. The project, made possible by a 2014 Knight News Challenge award, will address how social media sites moderate user-generated content and how free expression is affected across the globe.

    • Why college student protesters are battling free speech, in 1 graph
    • Free Speech Poll: 40% Of Millennials Think Government Should Censor Speech Offensive To Minorities
    • Millennials More Likely to Support Censorship of Offensive Speech Than Older Americans

      While two-thirds of Americans correctly believe the U.S. government should not prohibit speech that offends minorities, a shockingly high number of millennials—40 percent—support such censorship. Young people, it turns out, are more likely to favor suppression of offensive speech than older Americans.

    • Why has Jennifer Lawrence been removed from Hunger Games posters in Israel?

      Posters for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 have reportedly been censored in two Jewish cities, Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, with star Jennifer Lawrence removed to leave only the flaming “mockingjay” background.

      Examples of the Lawrence-free poster, seen below, have been shared by the Israeli newspaper Ynet and on Twitter.

    • Critics of Malaysian Government Cite Censorship Pressure

      Malaysia’s government is raising pressure on journalists and opposition figures who criticize the prime minister’s administration or allege wrongdoing over a development fund he created that is now under investigation, say activists and people affected by the moves.

    • Awesome Stuff: Let’s Bore The Censors
    • Watching paint dry: epic crowfunded troll of the UK film censorship board

      You can’t release a film in the UK without a certificate from the British Board of Film Certification, a censorship authority that’s been rating and banning movies since it was established in 1912 to prevent ‘indecorous dancing,’ ‘references to controversial politics’ and ‘men and women in bed together.”

      It costs £7.09/minute to get your movie rated by the BBFC — about £1000 per movie, out of the budget of many indie filmmaker. But the censors have to sit through whatever you pay them to rate.

    • The Issue of Campus Censorship

      Is the right to free speech truly exercised at University, with students fearful of the repercussions if they do turn to activism and is this fair? Jay Harris comments.

    • Classroom Censorship Does Not Protect Against Real World Experiences

      The idea that educators should attempt to anticipate — and palliate — every variety of subjective response their teaching might elicit is both absurd and unrealistic. It’s also self-deluding. But maybe that’s what Mr. Eosphoros is really proposing: that we redefine education as a comforting mode of self-delusion. Perhaps the new motto would read: “I feel safe, therefore I am safe.”

    • Smith College student group decries ‘censorship’ of campus Black Lives Matter demonstration

      Theresa Meyer, chair of the student group Smith Bipartisan Coalition, said the minorities in this case are not students of color at a largely white campus, but those students who hold opinions that do not march lockstep with those of a liberal majority.

    • China tightens online broadcasting censorship
    • Censorship, Double-Standards, and China’s Hard Sell on Counterterrorism

      Beijing maintains strict control over the narrative surrounding violence in the troubled Xinjiang region.

    • Director at Center of Censorship Scandal Might Head to Seoul Art Museum
    • South Korea’s Art Community Protests Top Candidate for Museum Directorship After Censorship Fiasco

      Those opposing Marí’s candidacy are especially concerned because the South Korean government has increasingly imposed “censorship and bureaucratic restrictions on artistic freedom,” as the Petition 4 Art statement puts it. The group cites allegations against Arts Council Korea (ARKO) of censoring plays; government funding cuts for this year’s Busan International Film Festival, a decision some suspect stems from the screening of a documentary critical of the Sewol passenger ferry‘s sinking; and last year’s sudden removal of South Korean artist Hong Sung-dam’s caricature of the country’s president from the Gwangju Biennale. The group also describes many cultural organizations that seem to value institutional needs over creativity and artistic freedom, claiming instances of “biased financial support and self-censorship” at an array of public art organizations — one of them being MMCA itself.

    • What Indians Think About Religious Freedom in Their Country – Report
    • What’s Behind Facebook’s Censoring Of Atheists In India

      A few days ago a petition popped up on the website urging Mark Zuckerberg to “support freedom of expression in India” by unblocking an atheist Facebook group there with over 13,000 members.

      Facebook, the petition said, had not given any reason for the blockade. One day users in India who tried to visit the site were simply hit with a message that the content was “unavailable.” This was not the first time a Facebook page for atheists had been censored in the secular state. In June, another atheist Facebook group was reportedly labeled “unsafe” and its members were unable to share its content.

    • Twitter Has Censored Gory Images of the Paris Attacks

      Over the past three days, Twitter has been preventing its users in France from viewing certain images and keywords related to the Paris attacks. The censorship, first reported today by the French newspaper Le Monde, applies to a keyword used by supporters of the Islamic State, tweets advocating terrorism, and, more controversially, graphic photographs taken inside the Bataclan after the terrorist attacks there left dozens dead.

    • Net Neutrality Puts Political Websites in the Crosshairs of Censorship

      When Net Neutrality was sold to the American people, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler promised there would be no regulation of content. No censorship. The rules would allow the FCC to regulate content, but they would “forbear” and leave things alone. Now where have we heard that before? It sounds too much like, “If you like your Internet, you can keep your Internet.” Now, like with Obamacare, the truth is coming forward as lawmakers and experts warn of a coming political censorship of the Internet.

      After having failed twice to enforce Net Neutrality, Wheeler’s most recent attempt began with an op-ed piece written for Wired. The February 4 article was his attempt to make the case for the necessity of government regulation of the Internet. In it he claimed that regulation of ISPs was needed to save the Internet. He also claimed that regulation of “edge providers” — companies that provide content to the Internet — would not be regulated, saying, “My proposal assures the rights of internet users to go where they want, when they want.”

    • Comment: The government’s censorship of Humanism must be challenged in court

      Last week, three parents and their children took the government to court. They asked a judge to affirm that in refusing to allow for the detailed study of non-religious beliefs in the new Religious Studies GCSE, the government improperly marginalised those beliefs, discriminated against those who hold them, and, as a result, failed to treat them equal to their religious fellow-citizens.

    • PEER Sues USDA to End Scientific Censorship

      Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Agriculture.

      PEER says that the USSDA should stop censoring scientific findings for political reasons and significantly strengthen its Scientific Integrity Policy.

      The suit targets official restraints on USDA scientists publishing or speaking about their findings in peer-reviewed journals, before professional societies, and in other unofficial settings.

      This March, PEER filed a formal rulemaking petition pressing USDA to end censorship policies and to bolster its extremely weak Scientific Integrity Policy adopted in 2013.

      The petition asked USDA to adopt “best practices” from other federal agencies’ integrity policies and to end politically driven suppression or alteration of studies.

      In a letter dated June 11, 2015, USDA Chief Scientist Catherine Wotecki wrote that the agency refused to consider the substance of the petition because scientific integrity only affected its “internal personnel rules and practices” and was therefore exempt from the public notice and comment process normally required of agency rules.

    • Poland Censors Commercial Radio Station That Airs Sputnik

      The Polish government has begun censoring independent media in the country. The first one to fall is the Polish commercial radio station Radio Hobby.

      The Polish National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT) canceled the broadcasting license of Radio Hobby, which airs Radio Sputnik Polska.

    • Do Black Voices Matter To Instagram?

      We demand answers as to why our voices are silenced and others are not.

    • 40% of Millennials OK with limiting speech offensive to minorities
    • You can’t ban racism

      The truth is, proclaiming your white guilt or censoring social media won’t stop racism or help minorities. Instead, we must promote moral strength, fortitude and personal autonomy, while expressing solidarity with, and support for, victims. No doubt this is not fair. But – here’s the hard part – life isn’t always fair.

    • Censorship: Turkey’s tangled relationship with social media

      On Saturday, a sudden ban on the social media network Reddit in Turkey was reported by The Verge, causing many to wonder what could have sparked this latest move by authorities to crack down on the Internet. At the time, the site was said to have been blocked on the DNS level, meaning that it was possible to circumvent the ban with a simple foreign DNS service.

    • Media freedom in Northern Cyprus: The Sener Levent case

      Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika reported on 30 August 2015 that the Turkish military forces in Cyprus had accused the paper of being against “the army and the flag”. Afrika’s articles had allegedly offended Turkish forces and made “people alienated from the army”, according to the case.

      Editor-in-chief Sener Levent and writer Mahmut Anayasa, both of whom had shared an Afrika article from July on social media, were called to the prosecutor’s office for questioning. According to Costas Mavridis, a Greek Cypriot Member of the European Parliament, this is not the first time Levent has faced accusations. Both were later released.

  • Privacy
  • Civil Rights
    • Officials Consider Creating European Equivalent of CIA After Paris Attacks
    • EU considers ‘European CIA’ following Paris attacks
    • Paris attacks: EU ministers consider Europe-wide CIA-style intelligence agency and increased border security checks
    • Speaking of Obama administration lawlessness, what about NSA data collection and drone strikes on American citizens?

      It’s no surprise that most criticism of Obama administration lawlessness has come from the right — political opponents of a president have more of an incentive to highlight bad things the administration has been doing, and supporters, in turn, tend to play down, ignore or even defend such things.

      Back in the 1980s, when I was younger and much more naive, I was astounded that so many conservative Republicans defended the Reagan administration’s insane arms-for-hostages deal with Iran. “Iran-contra,” as the scandal came to be known, was not just an embarrassing negation of America’s stated policy of not negotiating with terrorists, but also represented a clumsy but willful attempt to circumvent a duly enacted law that prohibited providing the Nicaraguan contras with weapons.

      Today, I’m hardly shocked by such partisanship. The most common defense of the Obama administration acting through executive order when there is minimal to nonexistent legal authority to do so is that President Obama simply must do so, because Congress is so obstructionist. There is no “Congress won’t act, so the president’s power is expanded” clause of the Constitution, and I’m willing to bet that almost no one making this argument made a similar argument during any of the last three Republican administrations, nor would they make it in a Bush III, Rubio or Cruz administration if a future Republican president found his policies blocked by Congress.

    • Corporate reputation is a pressure point in the fight for digital human rights

      Internet giants Google, Twitter and Facebook were recently subjected to a compliance test by the Open Technology Institute’s Ranking Digital Rights initiative. Cynics will not be surprised to hear that these companies all received failing grades when evaluated on user privacy and data security practices. In a world that has absorbed Edward Snowden’s revelations on the NSA’s snooping on private communications, with the alleged collaboration of the largest internet platforms, we can expect such cynics to be many.

      What’s really surprising here is how little we have come to expect from these companies who once positioned themselves as champions of a “…more open and connected world”, to cite Facebook’s mission statement. One might also wonder how these brands feel about such repeated slights to their image. When it comes to helping or hindering human rights across the world, does reputation still matter to the leading social networks? Or have they, perhaps, simply grown too big to care?

    • Police State Europe

      Churchill once said: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” More recently, former Obama White House chief of staff/current Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel said earlier: “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

    • Paris Attacks Bring Domestic Surveillance Into Presidential Race
    • Will Europe Have A Patriot Act? Security May Trump Privacy Rights After Paris Attacks

      Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Congress passed a sweeping overhaul of policies that allowed extensive electronic surveillance. A source of controversy ever since, the Patriot Act has been both lauded for thwarting attacks in their planning stages and criticized for allowing the National Security Agency to collect Americans’ call records. Now, following the attacks in Paris on Friday, it seems that the EU and France may pass Patriot Act-like surveillance laws, bringing the debate between security and personal privacy to a head in Europe.

    • Questions of the Week: Are games being used by terrorists? ["Despite the hype there does not seem to be any evidence jihadists use online games"]

      The headlines were sensational. Fox News: “Joystick Jihad.” The Daily Express: “Did Isis terrorists use a PlayStation 4 to plot Paris massacre in the streets?”

      They all seemed to suggest that a games console had played an integral part in planning the Paris terror attacks. Fuelling this were comments made by Belgium’s deputy prime minister, Jan Jambon, about potential tactics of Islamic State and reports that a PS4 console had been recovered from the apartment of one of the suspected attackers.

      PS4 is, according to Jambon, harder to keep track of than popular messaging service Whatsapp.

      Suddenly, there were articles quoting experts talking about how attackers could use all sorts of ways to communicate in games without ever uttering a word: spelling out plans in a hail of bullets was one suggestion.

    • Syrian Refugees & Domestic Spying: How Do You Like Your Red Herring Served?

      This is much like the anti-Semitic arguments against letting Jews into America during the Holocaust. “Well, they are different, and some of them could be communists.” True enough. I know my, now deceased, communist relatives blew up nothing and killed no one. Although you could make the case that some of the more ideological ones might have bored some folks to death. When measured against certain death, the threat posed by a very few should have meant next to nothing.

    • Edward Snowden Addresses Queen’s University in Online Keynote

      “This isn’t about Surveillance, It’s About Democracy”

    • After Paris Attacks, We Must Not Abandon Our Values

      Attacks that shook Paris and Beirut last week make us feel compassion for the survivors, empathy for those who lost loved ones and, yes, fear for our own safety. Political terrorism aims to strike fear in the hearts of millions — and it’s a disturbingly effective tactic.

      So, perhaps it’s not surprising that Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and dozens of other elected officials responded to the Paris attacks with fear, including a call to halt U.S. plans to provide a safe harbor for Syrian refugees.

    • NBC’s Chuck Todd Explains How Only A Dozen Of 785,000 Refugees Admitted To The U.S. Since 9/11 Were Removed Because Of Terrorism Concerns
    • The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and the Rise of America’s Secret Government

      Peter and Mickey spend the hour with David Talbot, author of “The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and the Rise of America’s Secret Government.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • Why you should understand (a little) about TCP

      A little background: NSQ is a queue that you send to messages to. The way you publish a message is to make an HTTP request on localhost. It really should not take 40 milliseconds to send a HTTP request to localhost. Something was terribly wrong. The NSQ daemon wasn’t under high CPU load, it wasn’t using a lot of memory, it didn’t seem to be a garbage collection pause. Help.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Digital files “property”, says court in “female patronage” case
    • Trademarks
      • ‘Je suis Paris’ and ‘Pray for Paris’ TM applications rejected

        France’s intellectual property office has rejected a number of trademark applications for the terms ‘Je suis Paris’ and ‘Pray for Paris’.

        In a statement published on Friday, November 20, the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) said it has rejected the applications on the grounds that they are contrary to ordre public and the terms cannot be used commercially considering the recent events in Paris.

        ‘Je suis Paris’ and ‘Pray for Paris’ became popular rallying cries for Twitter users following the shootings and bombings in Paris on November 13.

    • Copyrights
      • When words mean what they say: Bob Marley copyrights stay where they are

        It appears that, like a number of reggae artists at the time, Bob Marley may not have been fairly compensated by certain parties for his work, which included (he contended) not receiving royalties under two publishing agreements. As a result, in order to gain control of the copyrights and/or revenue streams, Marley deliberately misattributed songs to various associates. Reportedly, the songwriting credits for “No Woman, No Cry” for example, were given to a friend to use the subsequent royalties to run a soup kitchen in Trenchtown, Jamaica, where Marley grew up.

      • Google Asked to Remove 1,500 “Pirate Links” Per Minute

        Google is facing a never-ending flood of takedown requests from copyright holders, breaking record after record. The company currently processes a record breaking 1,500 links to “pirate” pages from its search results every minute, which is a 100% increase compared to last year.

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