Meshcon FashionTec Week 2014 in Berlin

The first Meshcon FashionTec Week took place from October 10-15, 2014 in Berlin with the support of the FFII e.V. The event attracted 23 speakers from around the world and gathered hundreds of attendees from the technology and fashion community. The FFII invited software engineers, creative minds and fashion hackers to the MeshCon 14’ in Berlin. The technology week is organised in cooperation with the TU Berlin, BBW, Wikimedia and the Mozilla Community. The Meshcon is about local production, design and distribution of textiles in a way that reaps the full benefit of the digital dividend. The goal of the event was to explore the benefits of participatory production in the textile industry.

Digital Minds & Fashion Makers gather at MeshCon from 10-15 October in Berlin

Berlin, 26 September 2014 – The FFII invites software engineers, creative minds and fashion hackers to the MeshCon 14’ in Berlin. The technology week is organised in cooperation with the TU Berlin, BBW, Wikimedia and the Mozilla Community. The gathering is about local production, design and distribution of textiles in a way that reaps the full benefit of the digital dividend. More than 23 Speakers from 12 countries will talk about digital makeovers of knitting machines, open-source-pattern making software, their latest web start-ups, the digital design studio and wearables. FFII president Benjamin Henrion (BE) contributes a talk on the use of cheap wireless chipsets for wearables.

EPO software patents continue despite 10th anniversary of the European Parliament vote

Brussels, 24 September 2013 — Ten years after the historical vote of the European Parliament to ban software patents, the EPO, the patent community and large companies continue to push for their validation through the Unitary Patent Court. Benjamin Henrion, president of the FFII, says: “Freedom of programming has won that day, but it did not take long for the enemies of freedom to fight back. While freedom fighters went back to their businesses and families, the patent community kept pushing for the next step, a central patent court in order to validate the software patents granted by the EPO.” FFII vice president Rene Mages declares : “The patent microcosm excels to lobby the European commission and to change the designation (in a way a clumsy strategy) specially when our activism is winning : CII, EPLA, London Agreement, UPLS, and now Unitary Patent with a new Patent Court but the main goal is an invariant : to make official an intolerable drift of the patentable subject matters since 1986 (see Vicom case law). This type of underhand drift is profit-making for the patent microcosm, that goes without saying.”

FFII condemns investor-to-state arbitration in trade talks with US

Brussels, 14 June 2013 — The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) condemns the inclusion of investor-to-state dispute settlement in the mandate for trade talks with the United States. Investor-to-state dispute settlement gives multinationals the possibility to sue states for special tribunals if changes in law may lead to lower profits than expected. This threatens democracy, the public interest and copyright and patent law reform, according to the FFII. Today the EU Council is expected to grant the Commission a mandate to open trade negotiations with the United States. During the discussions on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), civil society groups warned that ACTA would make it impossible to reform dysfunctional aspects of copyright and patent law.

FFII letter to European Parliament Trade committee on agreement with US

Today the FFII sent a letter to the European Parliament committee on International Trade. Thursday 25 April 2013 the committee will vote on 198 amendments to a draft resolution on the EU – US trade agreement (TTIP / TAFTA)

Text as pdf, or below:

22 April 2013

Dear Members of the International Trade committee,

We are writing to express our concerns with the proposed trade agreement with the US (TTIP). We invite you to take our concerns into account when voting on the amendments to the draft resolution on the TTIP. In this letter we argue that citizens have a right to openness; that all measures in the agreement have to fully respect our rights enshrined in human rights instruments, including the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; that the agreement has to exclude intellectual property rights; and that the Parliament has to step in and defend democracy and the Treaties by excluding investor to state dispute settlement from the agreement. Openness

The agreement will mostly attempt to deeply integrate EU and US laws, as the trade tariffs between the EU and US are already low.

German Bundestag challenges European software patenting

Berlin, 18 April 2013 — A cross-partisan Deutsche Bundestag resolution on software patenting received its plenary first reading. The resolution asks for changes to the controversial granting of software patents by patent institutions. The resolution follows up on an earlier resolution from 2005 and sents a forceful German message to Commissioner Michel Barnier. Brussels is asked to take action on a clarification concerning the overlap of software copyright with patent law. The Bundestag which unlike the European Parliament enjoys a right of legislative initiative threatens to take national action.

taz.die tageszeitung receives Document Freedom Germany Award

Berlin, 27 March 2013 — The German newspaper taz.die tageszeitung (TAZ) receives this year’s Document Freedom Day award. With this award, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) honour organisations that make exemplary use of Open Standards. Torsten Grote (FSFE), Ines Pohl (taz), Erik Albers (FSFE), Ralf Klever (taz), Frank Doepper (taz), Stephan Uhlmann (FFII
The TAZ receives the Document Freedom award because it delivers its electronic paper to its subscribers in a choice of open formats, and without digital restrictions (DRM). “We are awarding the TAZ with the Document Freedom Award for their longstanding commitment to Open Standards and continuos efforts in offering their newspaper without restrictions” says Erik Albers, Fellowship Coordinator Berlin. TAZ subscribers can receive their paper in HTML, PDF, ePub, and even plain text formats.

Civil society organisations say no to intellectual property in EU – US trade agreement

Brussels, 18 March 2013 — More than 35 European and United States civil society organisations insist that a proposed trade agreement between the EU and the US exclude any provisions related to patents, copyright, trademarks, or other forms of so-called “intellectual property”. Such provisions could impede citizens’ rights to health, culture, and free expression and otherwise affect their daily lives. FFII analyst Ante Wessels: “The industry already dreams of setting a gold standard in areas such as intellectual property rights protection. Does that sound familiar? Yes, it does.

Ministers signed Unitary Patent Court agreement

(-> Version Française)
Brussels, 20 February 2013 – After almost 40 years of deliberations the Irish Presidency managed to get most European member states to formally sign an agreement on a Unitary Patent Court without European substantive patent law. The Court would be seated in three member states. Contrary to rumors Italy and the Czech Republic signed the agreement. Poland and Spain boycott it. A court case from Italy and Spain is pending at the European Court of Justice.

CETA threatens Internet, health and democracy

Brussels, 31 January 2013 — A draft trade agreement between the European Union and Canada (CETA) threatens the Internet, health and democracy, according to the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII). The agreement contains an investor-state arbitration clause, which gives multinational companies the right to directly sue states in international tribunals. CETA places these arbitration tribunals above the high courts of Europe and Canada. (-> Version Française)

Bypass democracy
Investor-state arbitration clauses give multinationals the right to sue countries if they dislike legislative changes. Tobacco company Philip Morris sued Australia over the Tobacco Plain Packaging Bill, which introduced restrictions on the use of cigarette company’s logos on cigarette packets and allow for more space for health warnings.