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Press releases

Press releases


November 10, 2010 | Jim Killock

ORG welcomes Judicial Review of Digital Economy Act

Jim Killock, executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

"We are extremely glad that judges will be taking a look at the Digital Economy Act, which we believe breaches people’s rights to freedom of expression and privacy. The Act is a mess and badly needs repealing. Judicial Review may give the government the chance to drop this heavy-handed approach to copyright enforcement."

ORG's campaign resulted in nearly 40,000 emails being sent to MPs and candidates demanding proper debate and repeal of the Act.

[Read more]


November 10, 2010 | Jim Killock

Home Office botch privacy consultation following Phorm case

Responding to the announcement that the Home Office are reviewing interception laws following EU action, Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

“BT and Phorm breached thousands of people’s privacy by opening their web traffic without consent. Now the Home Office have been forced by Viviane Reding and the EU to review our interception laws.

“Holding a consultation on key privacy protections for barely four weeks, and failing to publicise it, is a disgrace. This is the latest in a long line of Home Office botches.”

For more information, see:

http://bit.ly/phormbotch

[Read more]


November 04, 2010 | Florian Leppla

ORG welcomes Government's IP Review

Commenting on the Government's announcement to review Intellectual Property laws Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Right Group, said:

"The Digital Economy Act left a massive hole of missing user rights like personal copying and parody.

"It's great to have the opportunity to make the case for modern copyright that works for citizens, artists and innovation."

 

 

 

[Read more]


October 21, 2010 | Florian Leppla

MEPs raise concerns about fundamental rights in ACTA and the Commissioner makes a mockery of them

MEPs' concerns, driven by emails from ORG activists, about the lack of fundamental rights in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) were dismissed by EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht in a debate in the European Parliament last night.

De Gucht said MEPs referred to “a kind of nebulous liberties that you think are under attack” and claimed that MEPs do not provide the Commission with any examples as to where in the ACTA text they see possible threats to fundamental rights.

The Commissioner, however, ignored serious concerns from MEPs.

Marietje Schaake from the liberal ALDE group said that Article 2.18.3 of ACTA implies extra judicial measures and challenges division of power. The article in the enforcement section encourages signatories to promote cooperation within businesses to address trademark and copyright infringement.1

Furthermore, Ms Schaake said that ISPs were worried that they have to enforce the law because the provision that authority can order ISPs to disclose subscriber's information to the copyright holder (Art 2.18.4).2

Christian Engström MEP asked for an impact assessment that would look at fundamental rights in ACTA. He was also not convinced that a three strikes regime is, as the Commission claims, ruled out by ACTA.

Florian Leppla, Campaigner at the Open Rights Group said:

“The Commission makes a mockery of the serious concerns MEPs have raised.

“MEPs have clearly pointed out what their concerns are and quoted the relating ACTA text. How can the Commissioner say that MEPs don't provide examples?

“MEPs have also repeatedly criticised the secrecy of the ACTA negotiations and demanded more transparency.

“The Commissioner has not acknowledged that and believes that releasing two draft texts is sufficient.

"ACTA will commit governments to act against personal copyright infringement. It will be used as a weapon to push for new erosions of fundamental rights and it is very important that MEPs raise these matters with the Commission.”

 

References

(From the Consolidated Acta Text, published 2 October 2010)

1 - Section 5: Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in the Digital Environment

ARTICLE 2.18: ENFORCEMENT IN THE DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT

[…]

Each Party shall endeavor to promote cooperative efforts within the business community to effectively address [at least trademark and] copyright or related rights infringement while preserving legitimate competition and consistent with each Party’s law, preserving fundamental principles such as freedom of expression, fair process, and privacy.

2 - Section 5: Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in the Digital Environment

ARTICLE 2.18: ENFORCEMENT IN THE DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT

Each Party may provide, in accordance with its laws and regulations, its competent authorities with the authority to order an online service provider to disclose expeditiously to a right holder information sufficient to identify a subscriber whose account was allegedly used for infringement, where that right holder has filed a legally sufficient claim of infringement of [at least trademark and] copyrights or related rights and where such information is being sought for the purpose of protecting or enforcing [at least the right holder's trademark and] copyright or related rights. These procedures shall be implemented in a manner that avoids the creation of barriers to legitimate activity, including electronic commerce, and, consistent with each Party’s law, preserves fundamental principles such as freedom of expression, fair process, and privacy.

 

[Read more]


October 20, 2010 | Florian Leppla

First ACTA debate tonight in European Parliament

Tonight (Wednesday), after two and a half years, MEPs will debate the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) for the first time. The debate is scheduled for the last session, between 9pm and midnight.

MEPs have in the past taken a strong line against ACTA. Kader Arif MEP has reiterated that the Parliament's opinion must be taken into account, even if that means that ACTA has to be re-negotiated.1

Carl Schlyter, an MEP from the Greens/EFA, has sought an expert opinion on ACTA from the Article 29 Data Protection Working Group, an independent EU advisory body.2 He challenges whether ACTA is even compliant with the Maastricht Treaty.

ACTA has also received considerable opposition outside of the EU. A US Senator has requested a legal review of ACTA 3 and the Mexican Senate voted to withdraw the country entirely from ACTA negotiations 4.

The misleading titled ACTA goes beyond addressing counterfeiting, but aims to establish global standards for regulation of the Internet and enforce online copyright infringement.

Moreover, like with many treaties in the past, the US and EU will “encourage” other countries to agree to ACTA provisions in return, for example, for access to US or EU domestic markets. Arguably this coerces developing countries into implementing legislation that is wholly inappropriate for them and in which they had little, if any, say.

 

References

1 http://www.catherinetrautmann.eu/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=492&cntnt01returnid=68

2 http://en.act-on-acta.eu/11_October_request_for_an_Article_29_Working_Party_assessment_of_ACTA

3 http://www.keionline.org/node/969

4 http://www.keionline.org/node/961

 

 

[Read more]


October 01, 2010 | Florian Leppla

ACS:Law leak shows that Digital Economy Act carries massive privacy concerns

Unwarranted private surveillance have led to a huge leak of sensitive personal data from ACS:Law. The leak also appears to contain information about alleged infringers. (1)

Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

"It's shocking that ACS:Law are prepared to use the Digital Economy Act for their processes in future. (2)

"And there is little to stop them. They could self-certify their evidence collecting process and send the data to ISPs. (3)

"The question is if Ofcom will let us see these methods or will they allow calls of "commercial confidentiality" to keep parts of the processes closed from view?"

 

References

(1) http://torrentfreak.com/acslaw-anti-piracy-law-firm-torn-apart-by-leaked-emails-100925/

(2) In one of the leaked emails an ACS:Law lawyer is quoted as saying: "I have made sure that the requirements satisfy the requirements set out in OFCOM’s draft code of conduct."

(3) Section 7/124E(2) of the DEA requires that the initial obligations code makes the required provision about Copyright Infringement Reports (CIR) by specifying “requirements as to the means of obtaining evidence of infringement of copyright for inclusion in a report”, and “the standard of evidence that must be included”. The draft initial obligations code makes no provisions specifying the means of obtaining evidence of infringement of copyright for inclusion, and neither does it make provisions specifying the standard of evidence that must be included.

Section 3.5 to 3.7 of the draft initial obligations code outlines, in relation to evidence gathering process what it calls a “quality assurance process”. But this process does not specify the means of obtaining evidence or the standard of evidence included, only that the copyright owner will have to follow the process outline in their QA report which is to be submitted to Ofcom. The DEA does not require such a QA system.

[Read more]


September 22, 2010 | Florian Leppla

MPs fail to scrutinise ACTA, confirms IPO

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has confirmed that MPs have not seen the current text of ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

The IPO, making these comments in a meeting ORG attended, also said that the DCMS Select Committee has not discussed the treaty with the IPO at any stage. Despite its name important parts of ACTA deal with copyright enforcement.

Florian Leppla, Campaigner at the Open Rights Group, said:

“I'm shocked that this international agreement that goes well beyond existing copyright treaties has not been examined by Parliament.1 ACTA will affect all of us and our elected representatives need to know what we are signing up to.

"Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor, has questioned the legality of ACTA under EU privacy laws.2

"ACTA would allow for disporportionate civil copyright damages well beyond current UK law.3 Yet we have been told that changes in law would not be necessary.

"ACTA will drive the UK towards privacy violations, and commit governments to act against personal copyright infringement. It will be used as a weapon to push for new erosions of fundamental rights - without anyone from our Parliament having taken a serious look."

 

1 The only public release of the ACTA text was published in April, http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/html/146029.htm.

2 Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor on the current negotiations by the European Union of an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), http://www.edps.europa.eu/EDPSWEB/webdav/site/mySite/shared/Documents/Consultation/Opinions/2010/10-02-22_ACTA_EN.pdf.

3 As set out in s97(1) Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

[Read more]


September 14, 2010 | Florian Leppla

45 million internet users face higher bills

Using the internet will become more expensive as a result of the Government's announcement today to include ISPs in the cost of the letter writing regime following the Digital Economy Act.

Reacting to the Government's statement today, Florian Leppla, Campaigner at the Open Rights Group said:

"Is it right to take up to £500 million out of the economy in the middle of a recession and waste it on a scheme that is unlikely to bring any benefits?1

"It would be much better if rightholders spent that money on finding new online content services.

"The Government's own figures show that up to 96,000 that belong to families that may  be unable to afford an internet connection.

"Rightholders wanted the Digital Economy Act. It benefits them so they should pay the full costs for its implementation."

-ends-


1 The Government estimated the costs for the implementation for ISP at a total £290-500m: Digital Economy Act 2010: Impact Assessment, April 2010 (p55,78).

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June 24, 2010 | Jim Killock

NEWS: EU data protection complaint to UK is justified and timely

Welcoming Vice-President Viviane Reding's continuing infraction proceedings against the UK, calling for the UK's Information Commissioner to have the powers supposedly granted under the Data Protection Directive, Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

"Data protection in the UK is weaker than it should be. Powers to fine and inspect private companies are vital. Nor does UK law recognise the idea of 'moral damage' from data intrusions, but will only punish provable financial harm.

"The new government has a great chance to strengthen UK law and make good on the coalition's desire to protect our citizen's privacy."

Vivian Reding's press release can be read here.

 

[Read more]


May 28, 2010 | Florian Leppla

Absurd lack of clarity in Ofcom's draft code

Responding to Ofcom's Initial Obligations Code, released today, Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

"This is another extremely rushed process, forced by the Digital Economy Act's absurd timetables. There are huge unanswered questions, not least whether innocent people will have to pay to appeal.

"Government needs to draw a clear line between the notifications and potential disconnection regimes. Otherwise, Ofcom can't tell people what these accusations mean, which is absurd.

"Both Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, and the Liberal Democrats recognised the likely flaws of the Act during the debates. It is Mandelson's Act and they should not feel obliged to do his dirty work."

[Read more]