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
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.
CPT's Page on the Hague Conference on Private International Law's -
Hague Conference on Private International Law -
Intellectual Property Draft -
EuroLinux petition for a Software Patent Free Europe -