ENDitorial – About EFF Europe

By EDRi · April 12, 2007

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

As some of our readers already know, the biggest digital civil rights NGO
from the United States has opened this year a new office in Brussels to work
with EU policy issues. EFF’s new European Affairs Coordinator, Erik
Josefsson, was previously the president of the Swedish chapter of Foundation
for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII.se) and has worked in
cooperation with EDRI on various digital rights issues.

EDRI welcomes EFF Europe in the European digital rights arena and looks
forward for a fruitful collaboration on the important subjects for European
policy that are debated. We thought it could be useful for our readers to
find more info from the main source about what EFF Europe looks into in the
near future. Erik has been kind enough to share with you his thoughts on
this :

I am still very proud of the rejection of the software patents
directive. It set a European precedent both in terms of on-line activism
and concrete political outcome. I think I’m one among thousands of
people who feel a sense of responsibility for that achievement. And I am
quite sure everybody involved felt that they were at the centre of the
action, no matter if it was a demonstration in Brussels in 2003 or the
naval battle in Strasbourg in 2005. That is what dedicated networked
communities do to those who participate: it puts everyone at the centre
of change.

I am convinced that a network of European NGOs that work together can
shape the future of the digital world and concretely influence the
outcome of the political process. I will just mention three important
issues that EFF Europe is working on right now.

Most urgent is IPRED2. The directive has been closely monitored by FFII
for more than half a year. EFF joined after Christmas with analysis and
distribution of voting lists, and is launching a campaign today to raise
awareness before the vote in Plenary on 24 April: www.copycrime.eu
The core of the directive is a “one size fits all”-philosophy making all
intellectual property infringements on a commercial scale a criminal
offence. Regardless if the intellectual property is a vague “sui generis
database right” or an unexamined “design right” – this regime risks
making normal business and consumer behaviour a crime.

Another directive that needs attention is the Audiovisual Media Services
Directive. Formerly known as “Television Without Frontiers”, much of
the debate was only about television and not so much about the extension
of television regulations to the Internet. There is a high risk that
interactive and user generated Internet-based services like YouTube will
be covered by the directive and face serious liability for programming
that might “offend against human dignity”. Outside the EU,
non-democracies employ these kinds of vague edicts to shut down
dissidents’ use of the Internet. Such tactics should not be legitimized
in Europe.

Finally, EFF has been working behind the scenes for several years in the
Digital Video Broadcasting Project (DVB). DVB is a standard-setting body
for broadcasting signals, and it has been developing a very advanced DRM
scheme that would restrict consumer behaviour like never before.
Consumer electronics devices like televisions and set top boxes that
obey the DRM schemes would basically hand over control of the device to
content companies and broadcasters. Unless checked, the DRM scheme is
anticipated to receive legal protection through tech mandate laws on a
national level.

This ENDitorial is written on the fly, in between meetings and mail
backlogs, so I’d just like to add some words about the EFF Brussels
office. It’s not only a workspace, but also a place with the purpose to
host activists who need a place to stay a night or two. It is not first
class, but the sofa is famous, and you should feel free to contact me if
you are planning to go to Brussels to meet your MEPs.

Finally, I’d just like to encourage as many as possible to support the
German initiative Vorratsdatenspeicherung.de and join the demonstration
in Frankfurt am Main on 14 April.

EFF Europe campaign – IPRED2: Will it Make You a Copy Criminal?

AVMS Directive – EU Commission webpage

Who Controls Your Television? How the Digital Video Broadcasting Project’s
DRM Standards Jeopardize Innovation, Competition, and Consumer Rights

EFF Europe

(Contribution by Erik Josefsson – European Affairs Coordinator – Electronic
Frontier Foundation)