European Internet Foundation and Software Patents

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European Internet Foundation (EIF) should not be confused with real Internet organisations such as IETF. EIF's main field of activity seems to be hosting dinners for members of the European Parliament (!MEPs) at which the representatives of large corporations in Brussels can get access to the !MEPs. The organisation is mainly financed by these corporations. The current patent legislation has inevitably been one of the leading subjects in these talks, and EIF has previously been used as one of the main channels for pro-software-patent activism in Brussels.


News & Chronology

2004-11-11 James Heald (FFII UK) reports:

EIF organised an excellent event on 2004-11-10, which provided an enormously useful opportunity for all parties in the CII discussion - MEPs, EU commission, EU presidency, patent holders, and ourselves - to meet and discuss the directive, first in a well structured more formal session, and then more informally over drinks and then a buffet dinner.

In the process I believe that all sides gained a much deeper face-to-face understanding of what the other players were really trying to achieve, and I can only hope that a number of misunderstandings were reduced.

In the end, such an organisation can becomes an avenue for a one-sided corporate entertaining/informercials; or it can create an almost unique inclusive, welcoming and balanced forum for raising the whole information quality of the deabte, and the level of understanding of all the participants. Which path it takes is determined by the integrity and vision of the MEPs on its board. In this case I was well impressed.

The rather suspicious and paranoid concerns related on the remainder of this page, written before the meeting by I don't know who, should not be read without considering how the meeting actually went.

Backgrounds about Structure of EIF

Upon closer reading, it becomes clear that EIF is a platform for Big Business Lobbying on topics like IPR. Its main field of activity seems to be hosting lunches and dinners for MEPs at which the industry members of EIF can purchase time to present their topics before MEP dine. The organisation is mainly financed by large companies. A few small organisations also use EIF to get access to contacts.

The disinfopedia wiki says: "This organisation is an offsping of the United States Transatlantic Policy Network (TPN) (an US organisation dedicated to influencing EU policy, whose Members include Microsoft, IBM, Siemens, Phillips) and Internet Education Foundation". German announcement also cites good relation with the "Global Business Dialogue" A.


EIF on membership, FFII highlighting

---> lobbying insourcing organisation


" Die EIF erstrebt, prinzipiell, eine ständige Zusammenarbeit mit anderen Networks und Instutitionen aus einflussreichen wirtschaftlichen und politischen Sektoren der europäischen Zivilgesellschaft. Durch die Gründer aus Wirtschaft und Politik bestehen bereits konstruktive Beziehungen mit dem "Transatlantic Policy Network" (TPN). Das gleiche gilt für den" Global Business Dialogue" und den, gerade neu entstandenen, "Global Cities Dialogue"."