May 032016

ada-logo[Jessica Coates, ADA, Link (CC-BY)] The Australian Digital Alliance (ADA) welcomes the sensible and much needed proposals for changes to Australia’s copyright law contained in the draft report of the Productivity Commission’s Intellectual Property Arrangement Inquiry, which was released today.

The draft report finds that “Australia’s copyright arrangements are weighed too heavily in favour of copyright owners, to the detriment of the long-term interests of both consumers and intermediate users” and recommends major changes to the Australian copyright system. Continue reading »

May 032016

colombia flag - better croppingPresented by the Colombian civil society organizations: Ifarma Foundation, Misión Salud and CIMUN

Dear Mr. Bhanu Pratap Sharma, Chairman.

We would like to transmit to you and all assistants our best wishes for the success of this session, where governments, intergovernmental bodies and non-state actors are trying to get one step closer on mechanisms that will address the well known inefficiencies of the R&D model based on monopoly prices, inefficiencies that have caused innumerable harmful effects on people’s health and well-being.

But we need to put under your consideration, and the consideration of delegates and assistants, a special situation we are currently facing that reflects both the urgency and the interests that are preventing nations from reaching a global solution promptly. Continue reading »

May 022016

zewAuthors: Dirk Czarnitzki, Thorsten Doherr, Paula Schliessler, and Andrew A. Toole

Abstract: We use an exogenous change in German Federal law to examine how entrepreneurial support and the ownership of patent rights influence academic entrepreneurship. In 2002, the German Federal Government enacted a major reform called Knowledge Creates Markets that set up new infrastructure to facilitate university-industry technology transfer and shifted the ownership of patent rights from university researchers to their universities. Based on a novel researcher-level panel database that includes a control group not affected by the policy change, we find no evidence that the new infrastructure resulted in an increase in start-up companies by university researchers. Continue reading »

May 022016

australia flagA draft report by the Australian Productivity Commission (APC) concludes that the current copyright law fails to properly balance the interests of copyright holders and users.  It warns that “Australia’s copyright arrangements are weighed too heavily in favour of copyright owners, to the detriment of the long-term interests of both consumers and intermediate users.”  The APC makes recommends changes to the law to address the imbalance, including “the introduction of a broad, principles-based fair use exception.” This follows the 2013 Australian Law Reform Commission report on Copyright in the Digital Economy, which also recommended that Australia amend its copyright law to include fair use. Continue reading »

May 022016

ustr-logoLast week, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released the 2016 Special 301 Report. The report satisfies the longstanding legislative requirement that it identify “those foreign countries that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), or deny fair and equitable market access to United States persons that rely upon intellectual property protection.” Countries are either identified as a Priority Foreign Country (which triggers a process that can lead to sanctions) or placed on the Priority Watch List or the Watch List.

The World Trade Organization prohibits Members from unilaterally sanctioning each other, so it has become rare for a country to be included as a Priority Foreign Country. However, this year a new law requires USTR to develop “action plans” with countries on the Priority Watch List and allows “appropriate actions” if the U.S. is unsatisfied with its trading partners’ progress on these plans.  Continue reading »

Apr 222016
image: 未知との遭遇 (CC-BY)

image: 未知との遭遇 (CC-BY)

Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) has leaked draft texts of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) chapters on intellectual property and investment.  The drafts are dated October 2015. RCEP is a large trade deal being negotiated by the ASEAN nations (Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and their current FTA partners (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand). Negotiations are happening this week in Perth, Australia.

Though RCEP is sometimes presented as a sort of non-U.S.-influenced alternative to the Trans Pacific Partnership, many of the same types of provisions are found in the IP and investment chapters.  Continue reading »

Apr 202016

wbu3[World Blind Union] The European Blind Union (EBU) and World Blind Union (WBU) have sent a letter to the President of the European Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, and Vice-President, Mr. Andrus Ansip, urging them to put an end to the obstruction of the EU’s ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty.

Click here for the full letter on the WBU website.

Apr 192016

clinton-sandersThe Pennsylvania Fair Trade Coalition (PFTC) has released questionnaires completed by candidates Sanders and Clinton on their views on the Trans Pacific Partnership. The questionnaires consist of ten questions and allow the candidates to give detailed answers.  Topics include intellectual property and medicines, labor, environment, and fast track. Both candidates’ fully completed questionnaires are available in the PFTC press release. Question 4, on intellectual property and access to medicine, and each candidates’ full answer, are reproduced below: Continue reading »

Apr 182016

wcl-sydney-torontoIntellectual property scholars and researchers from prominent universities in the U.S., Canada and Australia have released a submission to the Australian Productivity Commission strongly criticizing a report by PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PWC) on the economics of fair use (PWC Report).”

According to the Academics’ Submission:

The diffuse and forward-looking benefits of open exceptions like fair use may be hard to measure, but they are no less real. The PWC’s evaluation of the costs and benefits of fair use are not real. It is full of imagined horror stories that are unlikely to take place in fact. Continue reading »

Apr 182016

Stephanie Plamondon BairAuthor: Stephanie Plamondon Bair

Abstract: The biggest debate in copyright law is also the most fundamental: for what purpose does copyright exist? There are two schools of thought about the appropriate answer to this key question. The first, dominant school focuses on economic efficiency, while the second emphasizes fairness and other moral concerns. As evidenced by scholarly response to the Blurred Lines litigation and Mark Lemley’s recent piece, Faith-Based Intellectual Property, proponents of each school are often at odds with each other. There is little middle ground.

This either/or view of efficiency and moral rights is detrimental to a productive scholarly debate about the value of copyright. More importantly, it is wrong. Scholars like Jeanne Fromer, Christopher Buccafusco, and David Fagundes have recently pointed out that moral concerns are not necessarily inconsistent with, and could in some circumstances even promote utilitarian ends. Continue reading »

Apr 132016

msf big square cropped[Joint civil society letter, Link]  Dear Member of Congress: As organizations concerned with public health in the United States and across the world, we are alarmed by the implications for access to medicines of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), signed by the U.S. and 11 other countries on February 4th, 2016. The intellectual property (IP), investment, and pharmaceutical and medical device reimbursement listing provisions included in the TPP would do more to undermine access to affordable medicines than any previous U.S. trade agreement. We therefore urge you to reject the TPP in its current form. Continue reading »

Apr 072016

eiflEIFL joins an open letter to the European Commission calling for ambitious copyright reform without curtailing internet freedoms

[Electronic Information for Libraries, Link (CC-BY)] EIFL has joined an open letter addressed to senior figures at the European Commission responsible for the digital single market. In the context of current copyright reforms, the letter asks that the Commission delivers on promises for ambitious reform so that copyright is fit for purpose in the digital environment, and that strengthens fundamental principles of rights to access knowledge. Continue reading »