Nov 252015

jbandThis article is part of an IP-Watch and series analyzing the Trans Pacific Partnership intellectual property provisions by leading experts around the world.  The series will publish weekly through the first quarter of 2016.

During the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, many concerns were voiced about how TPP would mandate adoption of U.S. style statutory damages. Under the U.S. Copyright Act, a court can award damages of up to $30,000 per work infringed, which can be ratcheted up to $150,000 per work infringed in cases of willful infringement. Scholars have found that statutory damages in the U.S. have discouraged investment in innovative technologies while incentivizing the emergence of copyright trolls.

So how bad is the statutory damages provision in the final TPP agreement? Continue reading »

Nov 242015

software-freedom-law-center-logo[Software Freedom Law Center, Link (CC-BY-SA)] The first official public release of the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement (known universally as the TPP) on November 5, 2015 generated much heated speculation. The ideal of “open agreements, openly arrived at” remains regrettably unattainable in international affairs. “Fast track” trade negotiating authority in the US means that parties excluded from the negotiating process have a short time in which to mobilize for or against the treaty as a whole in light of their specific concerns. The premium on speed of response to a very lengthy and complex legal document—and the presence of intense public attention—guarantees that hasty judgment and occasional self-promotion will always outrun professional analysis; this is one of the inherent defects of secret legislation. Continue reading »

Nov 232015

Annemarie-BridyThis article is part of an IP-Watch and series analyzing the Trans Pacific Partnership intellectual property provisions by leading experts around the world.  The series will publish weekly through the first quarter of 2016.

Section J of the TPP’s IP chapter, on ISP safe harbors, looks a lot like Section 512 of the DMCA, but the two frameworks differ in some important respects that could negatively impact the global environment for user speech online. This post offers a comparison of Section J and Section 512 with a focus on the rights of users and the status of user expression in the TPP’s intermediary safe harbor provisions. Continue reading »

Nov 232015

logo-MedicinesPatentPoolThe royalty-free agreement allows manufacturers to develop daclatasvir for 112 low- and middle-income countries

[MPP Press Release, Link (CC-BY-NC-ND] The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) today announced its first licence for a hepatitis C medicine, signing an agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb for daclatasvir, a novel direct-acting antiviral that is proven to help cure multiple genotypes of the HCV virus. The royalty-free licence will enable generic manufacture of daclatasvir for sale in 112 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), 76 of which are World Bank classified middle-income nations. Nearly two-thirds of all patients living with hepatitis C in the LMICs reside in the territory covered by this agreement. Continue reading »

Nov 232015

eiflEIFL welcomes Poland’s new copyright law that brings library services into the twenty-first century

[Electronic Information for Libraries, Link (CC-BY)] The new Polish Copyright Act [link in Polish] enters into force on 20th November 2015 bringing library services in Poland into the twenty-first century.

Major new provisions enabling digitization for socially beneficial purposes, such as education and preservation of cultural heritage, are the centrepiece for libraries of the new law. The law also implements a European Directive enabling the use of orphan works (in-copyright works where the copyright holder cannot be identified or found to obtain permission), and an EU Memorandum of Understanding on the use of works that are no longer commercially available. In addition, the introduction of public lending right is limited to works in public libraries. Continue reading »

Nov 202015

sarua[Piyushi Kotecha, Sarua, Link (CC-BY-SA)] Balancing tertiary institution budgets — without fee increases and with increases in costs due to inflation and potential insourcing — are not the only headaches facing vice-chancellors and their councils. The growing challenges over procuring essential research information will be adding to their woes.

Around the world, frustration at the price of academic journals is growing. The research and academic library market is finite, so publishing companies (for profit and nonprofit alike) increase revenue and shareholder value by increasing the price. Continue reading »

Nov 202015

rimmer[Cross posted from The Conversation, Link (CC-BY-ND)] This month’s long-awaited release of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) text was the result of years of negotiations on trade ties between nations around the Pacific Rim. Some six weeks earlier, another set of deliberations came to an end as the United Nations unveiled its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality by addressing critical issues such as food security, health care, access to education, clean and affordable water, clean energy, and climate action. Continue reading »

Nov 182015

capitol-govtphotoDear Chairmen Grassley and Goodlatte, and Ranking Members Leahy and Conyers:

In August 2014, thirty-one law professors signed a letter in opposition to proposed federal legislation to create a civil cause of action for trade secret misappropriation. We write to express continued concerns about the current version of this legislation, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015 (“DTSA”), S. 1890 and H.R. 3326. While we agree that effective legal protection for U.S. businesses’ legitimate trade secrets is important to American innovation, we believe that the DTSA—which would represent the most significant expansion of federal law in intellectual property since the Lanham Act in 1946—will not solve the problems identified by its sponsors. Instead of addressing cyberespionage head-on, passage of the DTSA is likely to create new problems that could adversely impact domestic innovation, increase the duration and cost of trade secret litigation, and ultimately negatively affect economic growth. Therefore, the undersigned call on Congress to reject the DTSA. Continue reading »

Nov 172015

fr-jl[Fifa Rahman and Joel Lexchin, The Malaysia Online, Link] On November 16, 2015 at the launch of the Intellectual Property Rights Index (IPRI) 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, IDEAS Malaysia, a libertarian think tank and proponent of the TPPA spoke about its October 2015 report “The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Seizing the Opportunities, Losing the Myths.”

IDEAS Malaysia attempted to debunk the legitimate concerns of the Malaysian AIDS Council, the World Health Organisation, Nobel prizewinner Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders), the American Medical Students Association, among many other bodies working in public health and access to affordable medication, that TRIPS+ provisions in the TPP would reduce access to medicines and drive drug costs up. IDEAS, on the other hand, claims that there would be no increase in medicine prices under the TPP. Continue reading »

Nov 162015

notpp image[Katri Stanley, Derechos Digitales, Link (CC-BY-SA)]  The final text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, reached by the 12 member countries on October 5, 2105, caused a near-immediate outcry from many within the digital rights advocacy community at what were broadly perceived to be archaic provisions that threatened to further stifle creative activity online. Indeed, such assessments are on point; the released text stipulates the minimum term of protection for copyright and related rights to be the life of the author plus 70 years, and sweeping anti-circumvention provisions similar to those found in the U.S. 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) feature heavily. Yet while these provisions are clearly harmful and misguided, in the Latin American context, much of the damage has already been done. Continue reading »

Nov 162015

butler150px[Reposted from TechDirt, Link] Last Thursday, Judge Pierre N. Leval, a renowned fair use scholar and judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, delivered the Fourth Annual Peter A. Jaszi Distinguished Lecture on Intellectual Property (you can watch the recording at that link) at the law school where I teach, the American University Washington College of Law (whew). “Lecture” doesn’t really do it justice, though; Leval may have spoken in front of a lectern at a law school, but what he said was hardly dry or academic. Instead, it was a bravura exercise in storytelling, which is fitting, as storytelling and narrative are some of Peter Jaszi’s favorite subjects, second only to fair use. Continue reading »

Nov 162015

kilic-israel[Burcu Kilic and Tamir Israel] For those catching up on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) text, here is the analysis of the e-commerce chapter we sent around. It is a joint publication of Public Citizen and Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law. The chapter sets rules that, if ratified, will shape the development of the digital economy for years to come. The clauses highlight the importance of e-commerce and of eliminating trade restrictions by expanding the legal use of e-commerce platforms, paperless trade administration, protecting users from abuse and damages, and removing ‘non-tariff barriers’. Continue reading »