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[cross posted on LegalResearchPlus]
On July 1st, the Court of Justice for the European Communities issued a judgement on access to legal opinions and it offers good news. (Judgment of the Court of Justice in two joined cases C-39/05 P & C-52/05 P, Sweden and Turco v Council and Others, July 1, 2008):
The headline on the court’s press release reads: THE COURT AUTHORISES, IN PRINCIPLE, ACCESS TO LEGAL ADVICE GIVEN TO THE COUNCIL ON LEGISLATIVE QUESTIONS [bold text appeared in release]. The press release of the Court also states:
The Court takes the view that disclosure of documents containing the advice of an institution’s legal service on legal questions arising when legislative initiatives are being debated increases transparency and strengthens the democratic right of European citizens to scrutinize the information which has formed the basis of a legislative act.
The Court concludes that Regulation No 1049/2001 imposes, in principle, an obligation to disclose the opinions of the Council’s legal service relating to a legislative process. There are, however, exceptions to that principle as regards opinions given in the context of a legislative process, but being of a particularly sensitive nature or having a wide scope that goes beyond the context of the legislative process. In such a case, it is incumbent on the institution concerned to give a detailed statement of reasons for such a refusal.
For excellent analysis and updates on this topic, check out the Statewatch Observatory on Access to EU Documents.
The following message was sent to the EURODOC listserv by Phil Wilkin, Social Sciences Bibliographer and Editor of the Archive of European Integration at the University of Pittsburgh. Very good news!
The Delegation of the European Commission to the US, Washington, DC, recently decided to divulge itself of its entire depository collection and award it to 1 of the existing depository libraries in North America. The Delegation awarded this collection to the University Library System, University of Pittsburgh, currently the home of the Archive of European Integration (AEI). This depository collection begins in the early 1950s and is easily the largest EU collection in the Western Hemisphere. Over the next several years, the AEI will digitize many documents from this collection and upload them.
This one’s going to take a while to completely absorb, but I’d highly recommend that everyone check out the new, enormous (287 pages!) and wide-ranging study of Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS). The report, financed by the European Commissionâ€™s Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry, was written by Rishab Ayer Gosh and an international, interdisciplinary team of researchers. Based on this report, The European Commission has issued an endorsement of open-source software. CNet’s got the news on the report. Here’s the PDF of the document, also attached below.
The Economic impact of open source software on innovation and the competitiveness of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector in the EU exhaustively documents the way that Free/Open technologies dominate information technology and describes who actually writes Free/Open software. It also talks about what it would cost to replicate the benefits of Free/Open software through proprietary development (EU12 billion!), how many person years that would take (131,000!), and projects the total size of the Free/Open market in the years to come.
This is the most authoritative study on Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) that I’ve seen to date. If you know of others, please post them to the comments.