Some information on EUCD implementations can be found at http://www.fipr.org/copyright/guide/index.htm
(not updated recently, may be out of date)
Finland's law specifically excludes DVD region locks from protection, as well as TPMs that can be trivially circumvented, e.g. using marker pens. It appears that CSS was initially deemed "ineffective" under their law, but this was overturned by a higher court. The law does not prohibit personal use of circumvention tools for private purposes. Norway (which had to implement EUCD under its "fax democracy" relationship with the EU) explicitly excludes such personal/private uses for the purpose of playback on "on relevant playing equipment".
Germany bans distribution but not possession of circumvention tools. In the Netherlands, circumvention *acts* are not illegal. Switzerland (also subject to fax democracy) also allows circumvention acts (and non-commercial distribution) for lawful purposes.
Actually the UK proposal is unnecessarily restrictive in terms of protection of TPMs. Other EU countries are much more flexible in their interpretation of this; for example, some allow (or, at least, do not explicitly prohibit) non-commercial distribution of circumvention software, and many exclude pure access controls (e.g. region codes) altogether from protection. The UK, perhaps oddly for a nation with such a strong Eurosceptic strand in its politics, has a tendency to gold-plate EU legislation: slavishly implementing every obligation, and often going well beyond them (i.e. if EU law says to implement restriction X in situations Y and Z, then UK will implement this to make X law in all cases). It also often does not implement permitted easements on EU law (even when the UK government itself argued for them).
This is not to say that the EU Copyright Directive is OK. It should be reformed, to explicitly permit circumvention for non-infringing access or 'fair use' copying. Arguably some other countries are stretching the permitted exceptions to TPM protection in their implementation, but so far they have not been challenged. But the UK could go a lot further in making meaningful exceptions to anti-circumvention law, even within the countours of existing EU legislation.
The people who made the video weren't just "being mean", they committed an assault. They committed a crime whether or not they placed a video of it on the Internet. They were punished for it. And that is where the matter should have been left.
As far as I'm concerned, the immorality lies with the perpetrators of the bullying act and then uploaded the video. People who are keen to blame Google seem to forget the real villains in this saga (who, incidentally, all got off with non-custodial sentences).
Allowing your vote to be manipulated for personal gain is also illegal. Voting secrecy is not just a matter of private personal right: it is about maintaining the integrity of the ballot itself. Therefore, it is illegal to be a willing participant in any vote manipulation process, even if it is your own vote being manipulated.
There are no lawyers in the British Small Claims Court. The parties represent themselves, and the judge asks the questions. The only costs involved are those of transporting oneself to the court, and of time taken off work.
This is not true. Prior art is a completely separate issue from first-to-file vs first-to-invent, since it refers to what is public knowledge about a claimed invention. Prior art, whether patent or non-patent, always invalidates a patent regardless of the system.(Unfortunately, in some jurisdictions patent offices do not perform substantive prior art searches before granting patents, instead leaving it to the courts to decide whether a patent is valid... this is yet another issue.)
Actually first-to-file makes it *easier* to invalidate patents based on prior art, because the priority date of the patent is the filing date, which is later than the putative invention date.
The UK example wasn't an analogy, but an actual example of a European Parliamentary party delegation defying its national party leader, just to show that it can and does happen. I do know that the analogy with the US state governor/Congress is imperfect [e.g. the state governor is not the state party leader; national parties in EU states are separate orgnisations that affiliate to European parties, as opposed to being federal orgnisations in the US]. And yes, some national parties in the European Parliament may have a stronger tendency than others to defer to the party leadership (the UK Labour Party tends to do this, often causing ructures with its European party group).
Note that the prime minister cannot (officially) "instruct" MEPs from his party to vote a particular way: it is a separate institution from the government, with whipping determined by the transnational party groups. It's a similar relationship to that between a state governor and the US House of Representatives. He can state how he would like his party's MEPs to vote, and can certainly put strong pressure on them, but he cannot tell them how to vote. Last year UK Conservative MEPs defied their party leader (and Prime Minister) in a vote on EU climate change policy, so it isn't a certainty that MEPs vote the way their national party leadership would like them to.
The European Commission is not elected, and so is immune to public outrage. Also it was the European Commission that negotiated ACTA for the EU, so one would expect the Commission to continue to support it. However, the European Parliament is directly elected, and will have to take account of public anger.