[La Quadrature du Net (CC-BY-SA)(Link)] In a plenary vote, the European Parliament just adopted a mandate to the European Commission explicitly allowing it to “include strong protection of intellectual property rights (IPR)” in the proposed EU-US trade agreement negotiations, the “Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement” (TAFTA), also know as “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” (TTIP).
Tim Berners-Lee’s visit to Brazil last week has rekindled hopes for a civil society frustrated by six postponed votes on the bill known as “Marco Civil.” This groundbreaking federal legislation would guarantee civil rights in the use of the Internet, and is sometimes called a “Constitution for the Internet.” For the bill’s rapporteur, Representative Molon, having the inventor of the World Wide Web visit and publicly support the Marco Civil is an essential step in breaking the legislative logjam.
Representatives Waxman, Lee, DeLauro, Schakowsky, and Bass have sent a letter to Acting U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis supporting a proposal by Haiti to allow poor countries extra time to enact stronger rules on patent, copyrights, and other forms of intellectual property.
The issue involves the implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which requires countries to adopt certain intellectual property standards. For instance, the TRIPS Agreement requires 20 year patents on all inventions (including medicines) and long copyrights on most works (including textbooks). TRIPS rules give IP owners the ability to set monopoly prices for goods, which can be unaffordable for many, especially in poor countries. Therefore, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) were granted extra time to implement TRIPS when the WTO was established, and this transition period was subsequently extended.
For many non-U.S. parties and public interest advocates, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) intellectual property chapter is seen primarily as a threat. It is the latest step in a long running agenda to shift between policy making forums to achieve new global “maximalist” intellectual property policies that are not achievable in multilateral forums. This narrative is correct. And the real politics of the negotiation suggests that the most positive outcome for the IP chapter may be its (or the larger agreement’s) failure. But the agreement’s negotiations does offer opportunities to discuss what a positive IP chapter might look like. Here is one more idea in that larger dialogue – ban the use of Special 301 between its parties.
On 20 May, global civil society networks LDC Watch and the Our World Is Not For Sale (OWINFS) wrote an open letter of protest to the Ambassador of Panama, Alfredo Suescum who is the current Chair of the Council on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The ongoing informal negotiations between the least developed countries (LDCs) and the developed countries, on the extension period of TRIPS waiver granted to LDCs which expires by the end of June, is marred by unjust and unethical treatment by the United States, European Union, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, in particular, including the Council Chair.
As the Trans Pacific Partnership creeps toward an end game (which appears far off) it may be worth spending more time discussing positive proposals for amending the proposal in various ways. I have previously written on ideas for positive proposals from the perspective of the non-U.S. parties, both in the form of a short list of proposals and in a longer jointly-written article. This note focuses on copyright proposals for the TPP that should be of interest to U.S. negotiators in order to bring their proposal in line with their expressed policy goals as well as with recent copyright reform proposals discussed in Congress and by the Librarian of Congress.
Carolina Botero has sent us an English translation of the new copyright legislation that was recently proposed in Colombia to replace the controversial “Ley Lleras 2.0″ law that was struck down earlier last year by the Constitutional Court. The law is meant intended to bring Colombia into compliance with the IP provisions i its FTA with the United States, but public interest groups have warned that it expands the scope copyright beyond what is required, and contains confining language on limitations and exceptions, and includes criminal penalties for DRMs that would apply to a very broad definition of for-’profit’ activities.
[HAI Europe] Open innovation, open access, crowd-sourcing innovation, innovation prizes…. All buzzwords we often hear in the media, employed by entrepreneurs, government officials or science journalists. The terms have become part of the discourse on innovation and science: companies crowd source their data and innovation, governments are opening up their data to allow for civic participation in innovation, open access publishing is gaining major ground, the US government now mandates it where government grants are involved. Various ideas and arguments play a role here. Moral arguments about social justice and public goods are certainly important, but so are ideas on effectiveness and models of innovation. Although many people have been working on open innovation initiatives for many years, the familiarity of these terms is a pretty recent phenomenon.
Dear Ambassador Suescum,
We are outraged with the manner in which informal consultations are being conducted on the issue of extension of the LDC’s transition period. We find the current process to be unfair and prejudicial to the interests of the LDCs, the poorest and most vulnerable segment of the international community.
The LDC’s request has obtained extensive support from the developing world but the supporters of the LDC’s request have not been invited to participate in the current on-going consultations. Instead, the consultations have been limited to developed countries (that are opposed to the LDCs request) and to the LDC Group. It is outrageous that developing countries that have supported the LDC request (which together with the LDCs form the vast majority of actual members of the WTO), are being prevented from participating in the consultations. As a result you are depriving LDCs of their allies, while attempting to overwhelm the negotiating capacity of the poorest members of the WTO by placing them in an unfair position where they have to face the united might of the developed countries. Clearly the consultations have been designed so that the outcome will fail the LDCs.
LIMA – There is a strong sense in the halls of the current TPP negotiation that the end is not in sight. And one of the primary reasons for the blocked progress is a lack of consensus on intellectual property and pharmaceuticals issues.
Officially, the Chief Negotiators have backed off the prior commitment to end the TPP negotiation by October, but are still clinging to a goal to end the negotiation by the “end of the year.” But it is increasingly clear that even that goal is not achievable. The issues still under contention are massive.
Last Friday while celebrating the Internet day the government introduced a Bill, reproducing essentially the text of the former Law1520 (Ley Lleras 2) before the Congress. Despite the several citizen claims (last one) to open a civil dialogue when implementing the US FTA obligations before taking them to parliament, and after 3 failed attemtps to reform the Copyright system during the last 2 years (Ley Lleras 1 on ISP liability was filed , Law 1520 or Ley Lleras 2 that was implementing other copyright provisions was declared unconstitutional, and the 001 bill that developed some basic exceptions but in a very restrictive way and was finally retired this past week.
Last May 17th a new copyright bill was resubmitted in the Colombian Congress as part of the implementation of the FTA with the United States. The new Bill is introduced as a replacement to the 1520 Act of 2012 (Ley Lleras 2.0), law that was struck down last January by the Constitutional Court (Case C11-13) on procedural grounds. The bill was submitted in Congress by the Ministry of Interior, Fernando Carrillo, and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Sergio Diaz Granados. The new bill retains most of the previous articles of Ley Lleras 2.0, and also modifies, corrects and increases more the scope for enforcement of copyright and neighboring rights in Colombia.