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Submission + - "No Power for the Parliament" warns EPO examiners 2

zoobab writes: The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) sent a letter to the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, warning of risks for the European Parliament to be "circumvented" as a legislator when the EU will accede to the European Patent Convention (EPC). The European Patent Organisation is everything except a model of democracy: national patent offices are in power, there is no parliament involved in the decision making process, and diplomatic conferences are held behind closed doors. There are plans to create a central patent court in Europe, which would operate in a democratic vacuum, as it would not be counterbalanced by any legislative assembly, let alone the European Parliament. Such central patent court could also validate software patents via caselaw (as it was recently done with the Microsoft FAT patent by the German Supreme Court), and Microsoft, IBM or SAP are lobbying in Brussels not to reopen the software patent directive.

Submission + - EU-India treaty leaks with 3strikes provisions

zoobab writes: The draft agreement between Europe and India on Intellectual Property Rights has been leaked, and clearly mentions at its Article 34 the possibility for administrative tribunals, such as the ones currently being setup in France via the Hadopi, to shutdown internet access of suspected downloaders ("This article shall not affect the possibility for a court or administrative authority, in accordance with Parties' legal systems, of requiring the service provider to terminate or prevent an infringement"). The draft also contains provisions on ISPs liabilities. The European Commission is also pushing for ISPs liabilities for copyright infringements in the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement, which was criticised in the public hearing on ACTA on going beyond existing EU laws and the E-commerce directive.

Submission + - Hacker Space Festival splits across locations (hackerspace.net) 1

lekernel writes: After the success of the second Hacker Space Festival, the international community of hackers are invited to participate in the multiple events of the third edition. Hackito Ergo Sum (Paris, April 8-10) will be your usual security conference. Breizh Entropy Congress (Rennes, April 15-17, submission deadline March 16) is an eclectic event themed around free culture and technologies. Les Contorsions Technologiques (Paris, May 1st, submission deadline March 20) focuses on DIY hardware. Tetalab Hacker Space Festival (Toulouse, May 28-30) will consist in conferences and workshops revolving around hackerspaces activities. Eventually, Estive Numérique (Southern Alps countryside, July 20-26) will be about autonomy and self-sufficiency in the digital age. With such events blossoming, France looks like the place to be during the next months!

Submission + - Swedish hackers in a squat fight eviction (hackerspaces.org) 4

lekernel writes: The newly opened Abbenay Hackspace in Stockholm has released a call for support in their struggle to keep their space. It was an empty office building until squatters moved in. The discussions with officials have stalled completely and the squatters live under the constant threat of police raids. Abbenay Hackspace is asking people to contact the landlord, and explain why creative spaces such as hackerspaces are important to them. Is there room for hackerspaces in major cities? Or is squatting the only viable strategy for hackerspaces in expensive areas?
Patents

Submission + - IBM says software patents drive OSS development (zoobab.com) 2

zoobab writes: "In its Amicus Brief to the US Supreme Court on the Bilski case, IBM is arguing that "patent protection has promoted the free sharing of source code [...] which has fueled the explosive growth of open source software development." IBM also argue that the machine-or-tranformation test allow software to be patented, and that "software patent protection provides significant economic, technological, and societal benefits". IBM also "finds alarming decisions in the wake of Bilski concluding that software is excluded from patentable subject matter" making references to the BPAI decisions on Ex Parte Altman. IBM also says thet are "committed to ensuring that such technology [software] is and remains patentable"."
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Milkymist System-on-Chip reaches beta stage (milkymist.org)

lekernel writes: "The System-on-Chip design of Milkymist, an open hardware platform for video performance artists, now has all the required features to implement many video effects. The next step for the project is to develop software that leverages the features of this architecture to render MilkDrop-like visual effects on a stand-alone FPGA development board in order to make the first good-looking demos using the system. For the FPGA hackers out there, the hardware design is entirely written in open source synthesizable Verilog. It notoriously features the LatticeMico32 WISHBONE-enabled softcore processor capable of running uClinux, a high performance DDR SDRAM controller, and graphics accelerators for texture mapping and floating point computations. A good introductory paper about the SoC architecture can be found here."
Announcements

Submission + - Paris hosts the second Hacker Space Festival (hackerspace.net)

zoobab writes: "Hackers from all over Europe will meet at the end of the month (27-30 June) at the second Hacker Space Festival (HSF), in Paris. The four-day schedule includes conferences and workshops on: Metasploit, HostileWRT, FPGA for beginners, ICT disaster recovery, Software Patents in Europe, Hadopi, Anonymisation or how to produce your own biodiesel... The future of Hacker Spaces will also be debated. The event will be hosted by the first french hackerspace /tmp/lab, located in an industrial zone in the outskirts of Paris."
Patents

Submission + - Red Hat's plan for software patents in Europe (digitalmajority.org)

WMGarrison writes: "In 2005, as the battle over software patents reached its climax, Red Hat explained their plan for software patents: extend US-style patents to Europe, make software patents stronger and harder to defeat, and create an interoperability niche that would prevent patent claims on Windows-Linux interoperation. Instead of working with the Abolitionists — FFII, FSF, and hundreds of small software firms — to end software patents in Europe, Red Hat was working to rewrite the law and remove the protection from patents that Europe's small software sector had enjoyed until then."
Patents

Submission + - European Open Source Software Strategy leaked (wikileaks.org)

Elektroschock writes: "A working draft of the European Union Open Source Software Strategy was published by Wikileaks. According to Wikileaks meta information it was co-authored by Jonathan Zuck from the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT), a lobby hitman for Microsoft; The European Commission lets ACT and CompTIA participate in all working groups of the European Open Source Strategy which defines Europe's future open source approach. A blue editor questions the objectives: 'Regarding the "Europe Digital Independence" our [working] group thinks it is, in general, not an issue.' "European digital independence" is a phrase coined by EU-Commissioner V.Reding, that is what her European Software Strategy (ESS) was supposed to be about. She didn't reveal that lobbyists or vendors with vested interests would write the strategy for the Commission. The leaked document's language on patent licensing sounds a bit odd and controversial to me given the recent frontal patent assaults on the European automative business by Microsoft."
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft will vote on Open XML

Elektroschock writes: "Rui Seabra reveals that the national standard organisation of Portugal plans to sent Microsoft as head of its ISO delegation to the Ballot Resolution meeting in Geneve. The Ballot Resolution Meeting (BRM) will work on amendments to the Open XML standard (DIS 29500) as put forward by ECMA International. The meeting will be held behind closed doors and last 5 days. While Microsoft would get privileged access and voting rights other interested stakeholders for instance Portuguese SMEs and software develoeprs are excluded from participation and review. The head of the delegation will exercise all voting rights for the nation, here Portugal. All national ISO members need to submit their list of delegates to ISO until Dec 11."

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