EU Commission -- Major Supporter Of ACTA -- Gets Dinged 12 Million Euros For Infringing On Copyright

from the all-in-the-enforcement dept

The EU Commission has been a major supporter of ACTA from start to finish, even pushing to expand it beyond what the US had hoped for ACTA to cover. So it's a bit amusing to find out that the EU Commission has lost a copyright infringement lawsuit and now has to pay out €12 million. The case itself is a bit ridiculous. Basically, the Commission had used some translation software from Systran. But then, the EC decided to find a new partner, and Systran went legal:
On 4 October 2003 the Commission published a call for tenders for the maintenance and linguistic enhancement of its machine translation system. The services required by the Commission from the successful contractor concerned, inter alia, 'enhancements, adaptations and additions to linguistic routines'; 'specific improvements to analysis, transfer and synthesis programs' and 'system updates', as covered by the call for tenders.

Following that call for tenders, Systran... contacted the Commission to inform it that the planned work appeared likely to infringe its intellectual property rights.
Some of the dispute was over what part of the code was actually the Commission's and which was Systran's (which sounds like the Commission needs better lawyers in negotiating software deals). In the end, the EU Commission lost the resulting lawsuit, and now needs to pay up:
Consequently, by granting the right to carry out work which necessarily entailed an alteration of elements of the Systran Unix version of the Systran software which are within the EC-Systran Unix version, without first obtaining the consent of the Systran group, the Commission acted unlawfully by infringing the general principles common to the law of the Member States applicable to copyright and know-how. That wrongful act, which is a sufficiently serious breach of the copyright and know-how held by the Systran group in the Systran Unix version of the Systran software, gives rise to non-contractual liability on the part of the European Union.

The General Court rules that liquidated damages and interest amounting to €12,001,000 must be paid to Systran to compensate it for the damage suffered as a result of the Commission's unlawful conduct
Why is it always the biggest proponents of greater copyright that get caught infringing on copryights? (Thanks to Igor Mozolevsky for sending this in.)

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Atkray (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 9:07am

    Yes Virginia,

    There is a Santa Claus.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Free Capitalist (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 9:14am

    Re: Yes Virginia,

    It's a tough call with Mimi & Eunice and the Humble Indie Bundle, but the Grinch in me is voting for this as the feel good post of the day.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 9:18am

    The irony in this is that the E.U. is also one of the biggest open source researches in the field of voice synthesis and translation. They actually have the tools to do most of what they are paying others to do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Qritiqal (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 9:42am

    Open the champagne, guys!

    This is beyond awesome!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 10:18am

    But let me get this right. If you're in the EU and buy software, you're unable to hire installers to alter, implement or modify the program it in a way that makes it useful without permission of the Copyright holder?

    Wow. This sounds similar (but not quite) akin to the SAP/TomorrowNow and Oracle lawsuit. And it takes them further away from a Fair Use and also First Sale Doctrine equivalents.

    But on the other hand, it's good because the world can sweep all the bottom feeders to one continent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Steve R. (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 10:25am

    Cognitive Dissonance

    "Why is it always the biggest proponents of greater copyright that get caught infringing on copryights?"

    It not just copyright. Those at the top seem to believe that the law or concept does not apply to them.

    Innovation, or whatever, comes from numerous sources. Those who may be the loudest proponents of so-called "intellectual property" may think that they are being original but not realizing that they are "stealing" until an obscure previously unknown person somewhere pulls out some tattered piece of paper asserting infringement and slaps it in their face.

    Laws are advertised as solving certain issues, such as teenagers downloading music. So those who pass the law and who may also be downloading music themselves may not make the connection that they are just as guilty as the teenager until exposed.

    Power breeds arrogance, those in power -because they may control a government or corporation - may believe that they are immune from any repercussions.

    Timothy Geithner's Tax Problems

    The clock is ticking on tax cheat Charlie Rangel

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 10:54am

    Re: Cognitive Dissonance

    This is the biggest reason why I don't get the push for more or stronger IP law.

    Isn't it already effed up as is? It's already boomeranging back on those that wanted it so badly, they want an even smaller box to move around in?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 12:03pm

    Serves them right those dirty scumbag infringers. Gotta watch making them laws, you might get caught.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    jupiter, Dec 23rd, 2010 @ 3:47pm

    that's good news. serves them rights. perhaps now they will begin to realise just what they have done by falling into bed with the USA and in particular the entertainment industries, over ACTA! they need to review their decision over this act and damn quick before it comes back and bites then in the ass again!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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