May 202015
Image:  EFF (CC-BY)

Image: EFF (CC-BY)

Joint letter to Congress
PDF with signatures on

Dear Members of Congress: We write to you as a community representing thousands of our nation’s innovators, entrepreneurs, job-­‐creators, and users to express our concern over trade agreements such as the Trans-­‐Pacific Partnership (TPP). Despite containing many provisions that go far beyond the scope of traditional trade policy, the public is kept in the dark as these deals continue to be negotiated behind closed doors with heavy influence from only a limited subset of stakeholders. Continue reading »

May 192015

sean at podium

Sean Flynn, American University Washington College of Law, 202-294-5749,
David Levine, Elon University School of Law, 336-279-9298,

Senators Blumenthal, Brown, Baldwin, and Udall introduced today a trade negotiation transparency bill that would require that all formal U.S. proposals for trade agreement restrictions on domestic regulations be posted on a website. This is a common sense policy that should be broadly supported. The bill would require policies similar to the transparency policies currently followed by the European Union and by intergovernmental organizations that set similar minimum regulatory standards. But it would be a major change in the current process for trade negotiations followed by the U.S. Trade Representative, which are infamously secretive (See today’s Financial Times). Continue reading »

May 182015

auThis post presents preliminary data showing that firms in industries sensitive to copyright can succeed in countries other than the U.S. when copyright limitations include fair use.  It is an early product of an interdisciplinary project at American University, in which legal researchers are working with economics professor Walter Park to study how country’s copyright exceptions effect economic outcomes. The project has been undertaken as part of American University’s larger role coordinating the Global Network on Copyright User Rights. The research supports and expands on other recent research attempting to measure the value of fair use abroad.

Continue reading »

May 182015

EU flagAuthors: Luis Aguiar, Jörg Claussen, Christian Peukert

Abstract: Taking down copyright-infringing websites is a way to reduce consumption of pirated media content and increase licensed consumption. We analyze the consequences of the shutdown of the most popular German video streaming website – – in June 2011. Using individual-level clickstream data, we find that the shutdown led to significant but short-lived declines in piracy levels. The existence of alternative sources of unlicensed consumption, coupled with the rapid emergence of new platforms, led the streaming piracy market to quickly recover from the intervention and to limited substitution into licensed consumption. Continue reading »

May 142015

sean at podiumThe Senate and House Reports on the Trade Promotion Authority bills working through Congress include important, albeit limited, steps toward endorsing balanced intellectual property norms in trade policy.

The Senate report, released today, states: Continue reading »

May 142015

hague declarationCivil society project organized by IFLA, Link (CC-BY)

Over 50 organisations have signed The Hague Declaration on  Knowledge Discovery in the Digital Age (, which calls for immediate changes to intellectual property (IP) law and the removal of other barriers preventing widened and more equal access to data. Continue reading »

May 132015

Sen. SandersDear Secretary McDonald:

I am writing to urge you to use your authority as Secretary of Veterans Affairs to break the patents on Hepatitis C medications for the treatment of veterans suffering with the disease.

Last December, as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I held a hearing about the high price of Hepatitis C drugs and the impact of those high prices on access to treatment for veterans. At the time, I raised concerns that the price of these new Hepatitis C drugs, specifically Sovaldi, which is manufactured by Gilead Sciences, even when discounted, would preclude veterans from accessing these life-changing drugs. Continue reading »

May 112015

amfar issue briefamFAR: The Foundation for AIDS Research

OVERVIEW: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is currently being negotiated among 12 Pacific Rim countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. If passed, it will become the largest U.S. free trade agreement (FTA) in history. It is anticipated that the agreement will expand existing intellectual property (IP) protections on pharmaceutical products, which will ultimately impede access to affordable generic medicines for diseases  such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, tuberculosis, and hepatitis C. Continue reading »

May 082015

communia[Reposted from Communia, Link] We are publishing today our position paper on copyright reform in Europe (PDF), as a statement in the ongoing debate that focuses on the reform of the Information Society Directive.

Our position is based on the 14 policy recommendations that are at the heart of our organisation, as well as on our previous policy documents. We start by defining three basic principles: Continue reading »

May 052015

phillips150pxFCC Chairman Wheeler announced the members of the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee today, including Victoria Phillips, founding member of the American University Washington College of Law Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property. 

The Committee includes a diverse range of other public interest representatives, including two other other academic programs – California Western School of Law, New Media Rights, and Digital Policy Institute, Ball State University. The Committee is primarily made up of a broad range of non-profit representatives (including Consumer Electronics Association, Consumer Federation of America, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network, Free Press, National Consumer Law Center, New America Foundation, Open Technology Institute). Representatives also include representatives of regulators (National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Administrators) and industry (Google, Inc., Verizon Communications, and the Wireless Internet Service Provider Association). Continue reading »

May 012015

sean at podium

In preparation for my role in warming up for Noam Chomsky on WORTFM Madison Wisconsin today, I put together this FAQ on the TPP ISDS leak and intellectual property policy concerns. As with all our posts, this is a CC-By product — please feel free to use or adapt for other purposes with attribution.

What is the core concern with ISDS? Continue reading »

Apr 302015

sean at podiumThe 2015 Special 301 Report continues a trend, beginning last year, of scrubbing a lot of language that long graced previous reports threatening other countries about WTO TRIPS and other international treaty violations. (See Special 301, A Historical Primer). This could be seen as an acknowledgment that such threats violate the World Trade Organization dispute settlement understanding. The WTO clearly states: Continue reading »