Friday fantasies

ACTA: the Slovakian position.  Slovakia is one of the EU Member States that has not signed ACTA. That country has however held its first public exchange of views on the controversial agreement at a conference organized by the Ministry of Economy last Monday.  Katfriend Zuzana Hecko (Allen & Overy, Bratislava) reports:
"On 20 February the Minister of the Economy, opening the conference, said that he would not support any agreement which would restrict the freedom of speech or freedom to impart information. He stated that ACTA contains far too many uncertain provisions and is therefore very controversial. His speech was followed by a speech from Pedro Velasco Martins (European Commission, DG TRADE) who reassured the Minister that ACTA does not change anything and that Slovakia, as a member of the EU, should not forget the interests of European (and Slovakian) right holders when they (try to) enforce their rights abroad. The State Secretary of the Ministry of the Economy said that if, ACTA does not change anything, he sees no reason why there is a need to adopt this document at all.  
The conference was followed with speeches from the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Justice, Customs Administration and the Intellectual Property Office, who all stated that ACTA was already contained in the Slovak legislation and expressed their support for the document. 
The President of the Slovak Pirate Party said that ACTA introduces censorship on the internet and the interception of private correspondence. He stated that they were not asking for the abolition of copyright (how nice of him, isn't it…), just for reform as "copying got people down from the trees and on to the ground". Surprisingly (or not...), no right-holders were invited to speak at the conference. 
As Slovakia will hold an election in one month, presumably no signature can be expected at least for a couple of months".

The audience will need to take
suitable measures to avoid being
dazzled by the speakers
ACTA: a discussion. On 6 March 2012 the Institute for European Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, in cooperation with IBBT-SMIT, is holding a Policy Forum, "The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)". Speakers are Carl Schlyter MEP, Benoît Lory (Policy Officer, European Commission - DG Trade), Joe McNamee (Advocacy Coordinator, EDRI - European Digital Rights) and Burak Özgen (Senior Legal Advisor, GESAC - European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers).  As the forum notice explains:
"Across Europe there have been waves of protest by citizens who see ACTA as promoting Internet censorship and monitoring, whereas supporters of ACTA have contended that large-scale infringements of intellectual property rights threaten the competitiveness of our economy. In this Policy Forum, four experts will debate ACTA and the implications of ratification by the EU. There will also be an opportunity for questions from the audience".
Participation is free of charge and open to all but, due to space limitations, registration is required. To register, email events@ies.beThe programme starts at 11:00, followed by a lunch reception at 12:45.

A trip to the seaside. The IPKat has kearned that Baroness Wilcox, the UK's Intellectual Property Minister, is in Plymouth today as part of "ongoing consultative regional events". She will, according to the IPKat's reliable source of information, be "hearing views" [an interesting metaphor] on the Government's proposed changes to the UK copyright system. The Kat understand that "the Minister is looking forward to hearing suggestions for how improvements to the copyright system could be made" [aren't we all?].

Around the weblogs.  IP Finance hosts a request from its namesake, the IP Finance Institute in Turin, Italy, which is running a survey to support its ongoing research into trading patents -- particularly via auctions.  SOLO IP brings the exciting news that the results of Fellows & Associates' first UK IP professionals' salary survey are now available, here.  Art & Artifice relates the latest efforts of wrap-artist Christo to display his talents on the Arkansas River and the efforts made to thwart him.
Friday fantasies Friday fantasies Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, February 24, 2012 Rating: 5

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