EU Day 2017

Learn about EU Day and the keynote delivered by David O'Sullivan, Ambassador of the EU to the U.S. on the 15th Annual EU Day on March 15.

Master of Arts in European Union Studies

The European Union Center at the University of Illinois offers the only Master of Arts in European Union Studies (MAEUS) program in the Western Hemisphere. Learn more here.

Language Shapes Opinion Towards Gender Equality

Dr. Margit Tavits discussed langauge and gender as a part of the EUC Faculty Lecture Series.

Conversations on Europe

Watch the collection of online roundtable discussions on different EU issues sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh.

Transatlantic Relationships after US Elections

Watch the EUC Sponsored Roundtable on Transatlantic Relations after the 2016 US Election with Moderator Niala Boodhoo

Videos of Previous Lectures

Missed an EUC-hosted lecture? Our blog's video tag has archived previous EUC-sponsored lectures.

Monday, April 29, 2019

EU Regulation of 3D Printing - Push the Print Button but Do Not Push The Boundaries

By Evisa Kambellari

Three Dimensional Printing is a process by which digital files are turned into physical objects by laying down successive layers of additive manufacturing material such as plastic, metal, carbon fibers, nylon, or liquids. 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, turns a digital blueprint created on a computer or with a 3D scanner into an object. There is a broad spectrum of  3D printing applications, including, but not limited to medicine, aircraft and automobile industries, custom art and design, clothing, soft food industry, education and research.

A recent European Parliament’s resolution on three-dimensional printing highlights that the market for 3D printers constitutes a sector which is experiencing rapid growth and application of this technology offers new opportunities for business development and innovation. However, it also opens new legal and ethical challenges in the fields of intellectual property rights and civil liability, image rights and the right to privacy.

The EU resolution on 3D printing also notes that 3D-printing technology may raise security and especially cyber-security concerns, particularly with regard to the manufacturing of weapons, explosives and drugs and any other hazardous objects, and that particular care should be taken with regard to production of that kind.

A photo of a 3D printer in action. It shows a purple rectangular object being printed inside of a glass box, on top of a glass plate.
A 3D printer in action. Photo by the author.
Intellectual property. A 3D scanner creates a three-dimensional design by scanning an object and automatically converting its measurements into a digital format, generally known as a CAD file. The digital reproduction of a copyright protected object constitutes unauthorized copy of the product, and therefore, is subject to the existing EU legislation governing enforcement of intellectual property rights. Under Directive 2004/48/EC on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, the IP enforcement measures need to be applied only in the case of acts carried out on a commercial scale for the purpose of gaining benefits. In addition, the EU Directive 98/71/EC provides that reproduction of a design is legal if it is done for private and non-commercial use, e.g. for research or teaching. Thus, domestic 3D printing of various copyright protected items done solely for private use seems to not be targeted by the provisions of the EU intellectual property legislation. However, it is worth mentioning that domestic reproduction of IP protected items might adversely affect original designers since, in purely economic terms, it means losing a potential buyer.

Privacy rights. Additive manufacturing techniques are widely used in medicine to scan the human body and use the digital model of the body parts to create prosthetics and implants. Moreover, 3D scanners are capable of capturing body shapes, skin colors and textures, and are used in the digital models in the 3D printing of miniature figurines or creation of adult toys.  However, if personal data obtained by 3D technologies is used without a person’s consent, or for commercial benefits, the user may face liability under the torts of misappropriation of name or likeness, or disclosure of personal information. This is especially true in the case of reproducing the image of a person to make money from the commercial use of that person’s identity. The EU resolution on 3D printing notes that use of 3D scanning of people and printing of digital files can affect image rights and the right to privacy.

Security. Three-dimensional printing technologies may be exploited by criminals for creating homemade weapons or making components to be used for reactivating firearms. Controlling of acquisition and possession of 3D-printed guns is very problematic because they cannot be traced due to lack of serial numbers. The EU main legislative framework on firearms consists of Regulation 258/2012 establishing export authorization, and import and transit measures for firearms and Directive 91/477/EEC on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons (as amended by  Directive 2017/853). Under the Directive, the manufacturing of firearms, as well as acts acquisition or possession of firearms, are controlled activities carried out under the supervision of national enforcement authorities. Therefore, the manufacturing of 3D guns without government approval is already banned by the Directive because it bans all types of uncontrolled manufacturing, regardless of method. In regards to the application of regulations on export/import of firearms to 3D-printed gun-related activities, it makes sense to consider them as subject to the related control lists. So, if a firearm produced using a 3D-printing technology meets the characteristics of a certain controlled category under the Common Military List of the European Union, it could be subject of the firearms’ export/import lists.

One of the most controversial issues regarding 3D printing technology is the online distribution or selling of the digital files of 3D guns blueprints. Such digital files can fall under the definition of “technical data,” for the production of a controlled weapon, as regulated by the EU Common Military List. According to this list, “technical data” may consist of: blueprints, plans, diagrams, models, formulae, tables, engineering designs and specifications, manuals and instructions written or recorded on other media or devices such as disk, tape, read only memories. In this regard, distribution of 3D gun blueprints via the Internet may constitute illegal export/import of military technical data, and as such, is banned by the related export legislation. However, the EU Common Military list applies only to the export/import of technical data used for production of firearms, but not to the mere possession of such data. Therefore, there are still issues that remain unaddressed in the EU legislation in relation to access and possession of 3D-printed gun technology.

Existing EU legislation recognizes the implications that 3D printing technologies can have on copyright and patent law, privacy law and safety regulations. However, legislation that specifically regulates use of 3D printing in the respective areas is missing. The idea of describing allowed uses of 3D technologies by specific regulation seems not to be the most appropriate course of action due to the negative impact it can have on innovation. Such a concern is mentioned even in the most recent piece of EU legislation in the area of copyright law. Thus, the newly proposed Directive on “Copyright in the Digital Single Market” emphasizes that “relevant legislation needs to be future-proof so as not to restrict technological development.” More efficient results can be reached by a public-private partnership to control the online sharing of 3D printing files. Even though the government cannot completely prohibit the sharing due to its interference with one’s freedom of speech, nothing prohibits social networking companies to prohibit such a sharing as a violation of their platform policies.


References:

European Parliament resolution of 3 July 2018 on three-dimensional printing, a challenge in the fields of intellectual property rights and civil liability.

Directive 98/71/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of of 13 October 1998
on the legal protection of designs.

Directive 2004/48/EC  of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights.

Directive (EU) No. 2015/2436 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2015 to approximate the laws of the Member States relating to trade marks.

Briefing of EU Legislation in Progress on Control of the acquisition and possession of weapons, June 2017.


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Friday, September 14, 2018

US Department of Education Awards Two Grants to European Union Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

PRESS RELEASE

The EUC has been awarded funding by the US Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center (NRC) and Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) program. We would like to acknowledge and thank our faculty and partners for their time, effort, and input toward the proposal, which fared exceptionally well in a very competitive funding round. Paired with our now twice successful status as a Jean Monnet Center of Excellence with renewed funding from the European Union only a couple weeks ago, we are very well poised to help foster research, academic initiatives, and outreach about the European Union and transatlantic affairs here on campus, nationally, and internationally.
 
We are especially delighted to start this academic year with this wonderful news since the EUC will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year! Please visit the EUC Turns 20 and stayed tuned for further details on activities we have planned.

For more information please visit the EUC website at europe.illinois.edu
Contact: Dr. Sebnem Ozkan, EUC Associate Director; 217 244 0570; asozkan@illinois.edu

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Conversations on Gramsci: Revolution and Context

By Alexandra van Doren

A screenshot of Nadim Mirshak and Peter Mayo from the video version of the interview.
This interview with Peter Mayo by University of Illinois Professor and anthropologist Linda Herrera and Univeristy of Manchester Lecturer Nadim Mirshak explores how foundational Gramscian principles can be and have been transposed, translated, and applied across cultures and geography. We begin first by exploring Gramsci’s influence on Professor Mayo and the way in which he, in turn, influenced Dr. Mirshak throughout the course of his Ph.D. program ,primarily through his book Gramsci, Freire and adult education.

Professor Mayo delves into a Gramscian philosophy which he refers to as “the Southern Question.” This question is directly related to geography, which was the theme Professor Mayo found most relatable as a citizen of Malta, as both Malta and Sardinia were islands. He was deeply interested in the political and cultural climates of archipelagoes, how they are formed, and how they participate in or rebel against hegemony, though he argues the two are not mutually exclusive and are invariably intertwined. What sorts of transformations occur in these civil societies and how do they happen? Moreover, he felt Gramsci contextualized his own understanding of revolution in his country and the Mediterranean in general.

Dr. Mirshak reveals his own interest in Gramsci and Professor Mayo’s perspective on such philosophies as stemming from his experiences as a citizen of Egypt. From 2011-2013, Egypt’s participation in the Arab Spring (a term Professor Mayo admittedly avoids) brought about many questions regarding the successes and failures of revolution, the way in which a revolution comes about and is executed, and the failed “hegemony” of Mubarak’s regime. Dr. Mirshak, too, felt Gramsci could help him contextualize the political state of his country as these events were unfolding and in the aftermath as well.

The conversation between the two scholars continues to touch on issues of the importance of critical media literacy and an awareness of misinterpretations of Gramsci’s philosophies, particularly in the Middle East. They acknowledge and discuss the transformation of a text when it is interpreted by and applied to a particular society, which is a reference point for the entirety of the interview. It is fascinating to see the multifaceted uses of Gramsci’s texts and principles as well as its transnational applicability, as evidenced by both Professor Mayo and Dr. Mirshak’s experiences with Gramsci and their home countries. That is to say, all of the observations about each society internalizing Gramsci’s texts in their own way must come with an awareness that the text transforms in some way with each application.

The interview ends on an intentionally positive note with a phrase Gramsci borrowed from Romain Roland, “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.” What is optimistic about this interview is its exchange of ideas about not only how Gramsci can help us understand our own political and social contexts, but also how social worlds can be constructed “from below” in a grassroots fashion to combat repressive regimes, a concept critical for the Global South. The interview itself illustrates the importance of intercultural educational exchange and the ways in which two vastly different societies can find themselves linked by various forms of literature and philosophy.

You can watch a truncated version of the interview on YouTube, or read a longer transcript on the openDemocracy website.
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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

European Union Awards Prestigious Research, Teaching and Outreach Grant to the European Union Center at the University of Illinois

PRESS RELEASE

Champaign, IL, August 7, 2017

The European Union Center (EUC) at the University of Illinois (UI) has been awarded its second Jean Monnet Center of Excellence grant. This program funded by the European Union (EU) promotes greater study and understanding of the EU and transatlantic relations in the US. The competition was quite high with only nine Centers in the U.S. receiving this prestigious designation out of 344 eligible applicants worldwide.

The EU has designated the EUC as a Jean Monnet Center of Excellence for 2018-2021 for its project “Re-imaging Identities and Institutions for a Stronger Europe (RIISE).” This prestigious designation acknowledges excellence in the EUC’s teaching, research, and outreach programs. The EUC will use the funds to continue to serve as the campus focal point for outreach, research, and teaching related to the EU. The EUC will also reach local, regional, and national communities through strategic outreach activities.

In particular, the grant will strengthen transatlantic dialogue by building on UI expertise and international partnerships through delivering seven research projects including a scholar-in-residence program; six new courses; refereed publications and an e-book; unique virtual platforms for transatlantic dialogue among educators; extensive academic and outreach programming, including conferences, speaker series, a European journalist-in-residence program, competitions for high-school and college students; and impactful high-visibility public events. The project will explore historical roots of European populism; the EU as an actor in international institutional order; legislative careers in EU institutions; European parties and elections; EU cultural programs; social inclusion and the linguistic integration of migrants in the EU; gender politics focusing on Eastern Europe; and EU enlargement.

The EUC, under the leadership of the Center Director Carla Santos, will administer the program in collaboration with distinguished project faculty from across disciplines: William Bernhard, Jake Bowers, Xinyuan Dai, Carol Leff, Konstantinos Kourtikakis (Political Science); George Deltas (Economics); Zsuzsanna Fagyal and Emanuel Rota (French & Italian); and Zsuzsa Gille (Sociology, Global Studies).

Prior to becoming a Jean Monnet Center of Excellence in 2015, the EUC was the only American institution to have simultaneously coordinated two successful Jean Monnet Modules to teach team-taught courses on “Europe and the Mediterranean: Transnational Spaces and Integration,” awarded in 2011 and completed in 2014, and “Eastern Europe and European Integration,” awarded in 2013 and completed in 2016. Besides the course offerings, the Jean Monnet Modules reached other EUC stakeholders through conferences, lectures, publications, radio/TV broadcasts, webcasts, and workshops. In addition, the EUC previously secured three Getting to Know Europe grants from the EU (2008-09; 2011-12; 2015-17) to explore the multi-faceted economic, social, cultural, and environmental connections between the state of Illinois and the EU through study tours, conferences, lectures, competitions and digital media.

The University of Illinois European Union Center (EUC) was established in 1998 with support from the European Union, as one of the ten original EU Centers in the United States. In 2003, the US Department of Education designated the EUC as a Title VI National Resource Center, a title the Center has held successively. In 2011, the European Union recognized the EUC as a European Union Center of Excellence. In 2015, the European Union recognized the EUC as a Jean Monnet Center of Excellence for the first time.


For more information please visit the EUC website at europe.illinois.edu
Contact: Dr. Sebnem Ozkan, EUC Associate Director; 217 244 0570; asozkan@illinois.edu

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