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EuroLinux: U.S. Internet Patents to be Enforced in EU?

Jun 05, 2001, 16:57 (14 Talkback[s])
                 US Internet Patents to be Enforced in EU ?  
   
   Hague Convention Draft Provides Legal Grounds for Global Internet Censorship 

                 EuroLinux Alliance / petition.EuroLinux.org

   Paris. 2001-06-05. The draft Hague Convention is to be revised from
   June 6th. The Hague Convention defines a set of provisions for the
   execution of foreign judgements in the event of international
   disputes. Current drafts include industrial property and intellectual
   property within the potential scope of the proposed Convention. If the
   current draft were approved, the Hague Convention would eventually
   allow:

      1.to enforce US Internet patents in EU;

      2.to enforce non-EU laws in order to censor EU Internet web sites.

   An EU company publishing on a server located in the EU a web service
   which provides Internet airplane reservation services worldwide could
   be sued in the US by PriceLine for infringement on patent 5,794,207. A
   US judge could decide that this EU company should block access to its
   service to US citizens unless it gets a license from PriceLine. Under
   the current draft of the Hague Convention, such a  judgement would be
   enforceable in the EU.

   A researcher who publishes on a EU server an article on the weaknesses
   of encryption techniques used in the media industry (ex. CSS, SDMI,
   etc.) could be sued in the US for infringing the Digital Millenium
   Copyright Act. A US judge could decide that this EU researcher should
   block access to its research article to all US citizens. Under the
   current draft of the Hague Convention, such a  judgement would be
   enforceable in the EU.

   Because all known techniques to block access to a category of
   citizens, people, country or IP adresses can be easily circumvented
   through "email tunneling" (a technique which consists in encapsulating
   any Internet protocol into encrypted email messages), the only two
   ways of enforcing foreign judgements which entail blocking access to a
   server require either to close EU services or contents which infringe
   on foreign laws, thus creating the conditions for global censorship,
   or to prohibit encryption and deny privacy on the Internet.

   Members of the Hague Conference include all EU countries as well as
   Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia,
   Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Former Yugoslav Republic of
   Macedonia, Georgia,  Hungary,  Israel, Japan, Republic of Korea,
   Latvia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Peru, Poland,  Romania,
   Slovakia, Slovenia, Suriname, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States
   of America, Uruguay and Venezuela.

   Some of these countries are well known for their agressive software
   patent practices or their restrictive laws on free speech. In
   particular, EuroLinux feels very concerned by the eventual
   enforceability of foreign Internet & software patents in Europe.
   EuroLinux urges members of the Hague Conference to put on hold current
   plans to extend the execution of foreign judgements in the fields of
   industial and intellectual property until their effects on software
   and the Internet have been carefully assessed.

References

   CPT's Page on the Hague Conference on Private International Law's -
   http://www.cptech.org/ecom/jurisdiction/hague.html

   Hague Conference on Private International Law -
   http://www.hcch.net/f/conventions/draft36f.html

   Intellectual Property Draft -
   http://www.cptech.org/ecom/jurisdiction/IPWorkgroup3.pdf

   EuroLinux petition for a Software Patent Free Europe -
   http://petition.EuroLinux.org/

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