It has been widely reported that the hacked Sony Pictures emails reveal that in early 2014, MPAA launched Project Goliath, a policy initiative to develop legal tools to block access to websites that facilitate infringement. The effort to develop such legal tools at the federal level failed spectacularly with the SOPA/PIPA debacle, so Project Goliath attempted to enlist the support of state attorneys general. The news reports about Project Goliath speculate that “Goliath” is a code name for Google, one of the most vocal opponents of SOPA/PIPA and a frequent target of entertainment industry complaints that its search engine directs users to infringing sites such as cyberlockers. Google in a policy blog expressed “deep concerns” about the revelations, and asked why the MPAA, an organization that claims to be committed to the First Amendment and artists’ freedom of expression, was “trying secretly to censor the Internet.” The MPAA responded that “Google’s effort to position itself as a defender of free speech is shameful.”
Dear Mr. President: The organizations signing this letter want to express our deep concerns regarding some of the provisions under negotiation in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). These provisions could seriously impact access to affordable medicines by delaying generic competition as well as impacting governments’ ability to advance public health policies in the U.S and around the world.
While we have different perspectives and interests, we are united by our shared concerns regarding access to affordable medicines and the need to ensure competition in the pharmaceutical market in the U.S. and abroad.
Joint statement by 15 NGOs
Link to PDF on Health Action International Site
We strongly oppose the hasty push by the European Commission and Council for a new European Union (EU) directive on trade secrets[i] because it contains:
- An unreasonably broad definition of “trade secrets” that enables almost anything within a company to be deemed as such;
- Overly-broad protection for companies, which could sue anyone who “unlawfully acquires, uses or discloses” their so-called “trade secrets”; and
- Inadequate safeguards that will not ensure that EU consumers, journalists, whistleblowers, researchers and workers have reliable access to important data that is in the public interest.
[Lawyers Collective press release, Link] In a momentous decision that would have wide-ranging implication for access to medicines, the Supreme Court of India refused to entertain Bayer’s appeal to set aside the compulsory license (CL) on Sorafenib (Nexavar). The Supreme Court’s dismissal of Bayer’s Special Leave Petition against the Bombay High Court’s decision upholding of the CL concludes the legal proceedings on the first ever CL issued in India.
Abstract: In the Trans Pacific partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations, the United States has proposed expanded patent protections that will likely impact the affordability of medicines in TPPA partners. This includes antiretroviral (ARV) medicines used in the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
[International Federation of Library Associations, Link, (CC-BY)] IFLA’s response to the Synthesis Report of the UN Secretary-General on the Post-2015 Development Agenda: “The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet”
Access to information…Intellectual Property reform…access to open data…affordable access to ICTs. These are some of the important issues IFLA and those of us in the greater library and information community are grappling with in a variety of ways.
IFLA has been working with the international library community—as well as civil society and member states—to develop its position and help ensure that crucial elements such as access to information are included in the UN post-2015 Development Agenda. Throughout this process, it is important that libraries are seen as being part of the conversation.
[EFF Press Release, Link, (CC-BY)] The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has joined dozens of civil society groups from around the world in calling for the release of the secret text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)—a massive proposed trade agreement that could quash digital rights for Internet users everywhere in the name of intellectual property protection.
The American University Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, AU’s Center for Media & Social Impact, and the Berkeley Digital Library Copyright Project have released the Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use of Orphan Works for Libraries & Archives. Over 150 librarians, archivists and other memory institution professionals have contributed to the development of this Statement, which provides clear and easy to understand guidance for memory institutions that seek to provide digital preservation and access to collections containing copyrighted, orphan works under the doctrine of fair use. Excerpts follow:
Libraries, archives, institutional custodians of record and other non-profit organizations that preserve memory serve as stewards for a large share of the world’s cultural, historical, and scientific record. While performing many distinctive functions and often working within larger organizations, the professionals who dedicate themselves to preserving memory also share common purposes and challenges. In this document, we refer to them collectively as “memory institution professionals.”
President Obama gave a talk on the stat of the economy last week at the Business Roundtable, group of American CEOs that promotes pro-business public policies. The full transcript of his talk, including questions and answers is here.
As part of a longer answer to a general question on the global economy, Obama mentioned bilateral talks with China. He said that his administration is “pushing hard” on China to strengthen intellectual property, and asked the member companies of the Business Roundtable to “help us by speaking out when you’re getting strong-armed.”
[Electronic Information for Libraries, Link, (CC-BY)] In June 2013, member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) adopted the “Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled”. Libraries are key to the success of the treaty for two main reasons. Throughout the world, libraries have a long history serving people with print disabilities, and only blind people’s organizations, libraries and other so-called “authorized entities” can send accessible format copies to other countries.
[Open A.I.R., Link, (CC-BY-SA)]This Briefing Note highlights Open A.I.R. research findings on apparent disconnects between African national policymaking on intellectual property (IP) from publicly funded research and the actual current realities of university research. In both Ethiopia and South Africa, it was found that recent policymaking has focused on university patenting as a key incentive for improved research output. But such a focus has the potential to undermine public researchers’ full participation in online international “open science” collaborations.
[Public Citizen Press Release, Link] The federal government should act to dramatically lower the cost of new and prohibitively pricey medications to treat hepatitis C (HCV), Public Citizen President Robert Weissman told U.S. Senate lawmakers today (PDF).
Weissman testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, explaining how the extraordinary cost of new treatments, including Gilead’s antiviral Sovaldi (sofosbuvir), is leading to rationing.