May 262016

capitol building - USG photo[House Ways and Means Committee Democrats, Link] A group of 15 House Democrats today sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman urging the Administration to clarify its position on compulsory licensing for generic medicines in Colombia.

The letter was led by Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI), and also signed by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Peter Welch (D-VT), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), John Lewis (D-GA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), David E. Price (D-NC), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), and Sam Farr (D-CA). Continue reading »

May 262016

tf[Andy, TorrentFreak, Link (CC-BY-NC)] The operator of a site that hosted fan-made translated movie subtitles has been prosecuted in Sweden. was raided by police in the summer of 2013, despite many feeling that the site had done nothing wrong. That is disputed by the prosecutor who says that the crimes committed are worthy of imprisonment. Running a site offering or even linking to pirated movies and TV shows can be a hazardous occupation. It attracts the attention of copyright holders, the police, and in some cases even governments. For those running them these perils represent an occupational hazard.

Continue reading »

May 232016

Compartir_No_Es_DelitoMayo2016[Fundacion Karisma, Link (CC-BY-SA)] Two final hearings took place in May 2016, in the criminal proceedings that Colombian biologist Diego Gomez is facing for alleged copyright infringement.

“Whom do you hurt the most when there is no scientific information for years? The author or the country?” activist and lawyer Carolina Botero, from Karisma Foundation asked in her column “Sharing Is Not a Crime” in July 2014 when Diego’s case was made public in the media. The criminal process that began more than two years ago has continued its course, and on May the 3rd and 18th the judge heard Diego’s testimony. In August the judge will hear the concluding arguments of the prosecutor and defense. Continue reading »

May 192016

chile flagThe Chilean Congress  House of Deputies has approved a bill that creates a new unwaivable right of remuneration for authors of (and contributors to) audiovisual works. To make things worst this new right is to be exercised only through collective management organizations. Here is the link to bill as approved in the House of Representatives.

This will mean that the music composer of a work embedded in any  audiovisual work, the writer of the drama, the Director, the camera man, etc, will not be able to waive their rights or license for free through a creative commons license or any other open licenses, or give works to the public domain. Continue reading »

May 192016

derassenfosse-jaffe-websterAuthors: Gaétan de Rassenfosse, Adam Jaffe, and Elizabeth Webster

Abstract: Low-quality patents are of considerable concern to businesses operating in patent-dense markets. There are two pathways by which low-quality patents may be issued: the patent office may apply systematically a standard that is too lenient (low inventive step threshold); or the patent office may grant patents that are, in fact, below its own threshold (so-called ‘weak’ patents). This paper uses novel data from inventions that have been examined at the five largest patent offices and an explicit model of the grant process to derive first-of-their-kind office-specific estimates of the height of the inventive step threshold and the prevalence of weak patents.  Continue reading »

May 172016

colombia flag - better cropping[Joint Letter Signed by 122 Experts – PDF in English and Spanish, with Signatures] Dear President Santos:  We are lawyers, academics and other experts specializing in fields including intellectual property, trade and health, writing to affirm that international law and policy support Colombia´s right to issue compulsory licenses on patents in order to promote public interests including access to affordable medicines. Continue reading »

May 172016

effbigAB 2880 will give state and local governments dramatic powers to chill speech, stifle open government, and harm the public domain.

[Ernesto Falcon, EFF, Link (CC-BY)] The California Assembly Committee on Judiciary recently approved a bill (AB 2880) to grant local and state governments’ copyright authority along with other intellectual property rights. At its core, the bill grants state and local government the authority to create, hold, and exert copyrights, including in materials created by the government. For background, the federal Copyright Act prohibits the federal government from claiming copyright in the materials it creates, but is silent on state governments. As a result, states have taken various approaches to copyright law with some granting themselves vast powers and others (such as California) forgoing virtually all copyright authority, at least until now. Continue reading »

May 162016

sean - 150x150I am speaking on behalf of the American University Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property. And I speak as an educator myself and also on behalf of a larger network that I coordinate called the Global Expert Network on User Rights which is a network of educators.

Although I teach in a Northern school in Washington, D.C., I also spent some time teaching in a major university in South Africa where the context of access to educational materials is very different. When I taught an advanced constitutional class there of 70 students, only about five or six of the students could purchase the learning materials, the textbooks we were using for that class. The rest of them after each day would huddle in the library and attempt to share and read the copies that were on reserve in that space. And that’s the reality around much of the world – text books are priced similarly in poor countries and rich countries, but because of the disparities in income, students in poor countries cannot afford their learning texts. Continue reading »

May 122016

ncubeCross posted from Afro Leo, Link (CC-BY)

Afro-IP regularly reports on how Africa fares in the Special 301 Report issued annually by the USTR (see links to some previous posts below).

The 2016 Report was released at the end of April 2016. The generation of the report through a unilateral US process and its goal have been protested by several countries. For instance, as noted by Mike Palmedo in his post on the 2016 report, both India and Chile have registered their displeasure. Continue reading »

May 122016

derechos digitales[J. Carlos Lara & Pablo Viollier, Derechos Digitales, Link (CC-BY-SA) ]  Nos hemos acostumbrado a ver, una vez al año, las noticias informando que varios de nuestros países está en la llamada “lista negra de la piratería”. No es que nuestros mares estén llenos de asaltantes de embarcaciones, sino que existe un intenso manejo de prensa que acompaña a la publicación del Special Report 301 de la USTR, el órgano encargado de la política comercial exterior de Estados Unidos. El mismo que, entre otras cosas, negocia (léase: intenta imponer condiciones) a nombre de los Estados Unidos en tratados internacionales como TPP y TiSA. Continue reading »

May 112016

msf logo[Médecins Sans Frontières, Link] Gilead Sciences has been seeking patents in India for the hepatitis C drug sofosbuvir. The patent applications have been challenged by groups of people living with hepatitis C and HIV through ‘pre-grant oppositions.’ The patent just granted by India’s patent office was initially rejected in January 2015, just before President Obama’s visit to India, which was seen as vexing the US. Gilead appealed the rejection and the patent has now been granted. Continue reading »

May 102016

SongAuthor: Seagull Haiyan Song

Abstract: The year of 2015 was a successful year for Chinese film industry. It was also a monumental year for the development of Chinese entertainment law. During the past year, we witnessed a substantial increase of cases before the Chinese courts that are of interest to the entertainment industry, including the substantial similarity test in copyright infringement analysis, protection of movie titles and story characters through trademark and anti-unfair competition law, protection of private rights to privacy and reputation, and the treatment of freedom of speech and the public’s right to information. Continue reading »