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Call for reform of Copyright Rules in the EU

Madrid, 28 October 2014 - Access Info Europe, the specialist right to information campaigners, today joined 32 civil society organisations calling on the European Commission to clarify the framework for copyright within the European Union.

The position paper by Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU calls on the European Commission to bring copyright law into the 21st century, redefining the balance between public commons and private property, and shortening copyright terms to the minimum term possible under existing international treaties and conventions.

Access Info Europe has a particular concern to ensure that all information created by EU bodies should be open and free for anyone to reuse. This includes information on websites and information received in response to access to documents requests. Currently the EU asserts copyright over documents it creates, although it does have a broad policy permitting reuse. [1]

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UN Human Rights Committee Urged to Investigate Violations of Right to Information in Spain

mordazaMadrid, 17 October 2014 - The UN Human Rights Committee has been urged to look into violations of freedom of expression and the right to information in Spain in a letter sent by leading international media freedom organisations.

This is the first time that freedom of expression organisations have raised the case of Spain before the UN Human Rights Committee. The signatories of the letter, coordinated by the International Press Institute, are Access Info Europe, AMARC Europe, Article 19, European Federation of Journalists, Free Expression Associates, Reporters Without Borders, and the World Association of Newspapers.

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EU Ombudsman urged to review European Commission's insistence on postal addresses to register requests for documents

altMadrid, 13 October 2014 – Access Info Europe is challenging the European Commission’s policy of demanding postal addresses as a precondition for registering requests for access to EU documents as part of a complaint being considered by the European Ombudsman.

Access Info Europe argues that Commission’s policy, adopted on 1 April 2014, of refusing to register requests without postal address interferes unnecessarily and disproportionately with citizens' ability to exercise their right of access to documents and is in breach of Regulation 1049/2001.

The issue of addresses was raised by the Commission as part of an exchange of views regarding the Commission’s refusal to register a request from an Access Info Europe intern because she did not give her surname, country, and “activity sector”, even though she stated that she was working for Access Info Europe, a legal entity based in the European Union working on human rights issues; she also stated she was a Swedish resident of Polish citizenship. The Commission nevertheless refused to register the request and Access Info Europe submitted its complaint to the European Ombudsman on 10 April 2014.

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Previously Secret TTIP Negotiating Directives Published

negotiatingttipmandateMadrid, 9 October 2014 - Access Info Europe today welcomed the publication by the Council of the European Union of the negotiating directives for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), following a long battle by civil society and MEPs to obtain this key document, and the opening of an investigation by the European Ombudsman.

Access Info noted that rather ironically, the newly declassified document states at Article 41 that "Nothing in this Agreement should affect EU or Member State laws regarding public access to official documents."

Indeed, the directives require specific proactive transparency on any rules and measures which will impact on international trade and investment, which clearly goes for the future TTIP itself as well.

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