[Luisa Guzmán] Last week Fundación Via Libre released a statement urging Argentinian lawmakers to drop a bill proposing a Copyright term extension for photographs, and asking them to open a public debate with the purpose of improving the general conditions for the circulation of cultural goods. To date, over 50 cultural, artistic, and digital rights organizations have signed the statement.
The negotiating parties to the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) announced today that they have reached an agreement on a broad international regulatory harmonization agreement that will bind the U.S. to a new set of international minimum standards on intellectual property and other issues. It is now clear that the TPP will be worse on both process and substance for public interest concerns than the last plurilateral intellectual property agreement that the U.S. negotiated — the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). What is notable about ACTA is that it failed. The EU Parliament overwhelmingly rejected it, and it was never submitted to Congress. And thus, as we consider the consideration of the TPP in Congress and other parliaments, ACTA is a useful reference point.
The monkey selfie is back. Again. This time in an improbable lawsuit for copyright infringement filed by an improbable plaintiff, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), on behalf of the improbable photographer—an Indonesian crested Macaque named, according to the complaint, Naruto.
The backstory is that Naruto was minding his own business on the wildlife reserve where he lives when he happened upon an unattended camera belonging to the wildlife photographer David Slater. Intrigued by his discovery, Naruto grabbed the camera and snapped a few photos, including the now famous shot (reproduced at left) of his handsome, grinning face. The photo’s inaugural turn in the global press and as an Internet meme was back in 2011, when Slater first released the shots of Naruto to the media along with the story of their surprising origin. Caters News Agency published a full-body shot (also reproduced at left) with a caption asserting that it owned copyright in the photo, introducing two legal questions: Are these photos subject to copyright? If so, who owns the copyright in them?
This morning, trade ministers from the twelve countries negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership jointly announced that “we have successfully concluded the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” The U.S. Trade Representative has also released a summary of the agreement that has been reached.
Negotiations over data protection of biologic medicines held up the conclusion of the TPP for much of the weekend. According to the Wall Street Journal, the “complicated” deal requires countries to provide five years data exclusivity, and gives the option to use regulatory structures to grant additional exclusivity up to another three years. During the press conference this morning, USTR Froman said that the compromise recognizes all countries are committed to incentivizing innovation in this sector, but that they do this through different systems (see video).
USTR has reportedly tabled a new provision for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) that would carve out tobacco regulation from the effect of its investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) chapter, which allows private companies to challenge domestic regulations in secretive and unaccountable international arbitration forums. ISDS challenges can generally be brought against domestic regulations whenever a company claims an “indirect” expropriation by regulation of an “investment,” which is defined to include “the expectation of gain or profit.”
Those with knowledge of the new tobacco text have revealed that the language proposed to be added to the investment chapter reads:
Chile is about to become the first country to successfully kill creative commons and other open licensing for audiovisual works with a copyright bill that has been already approved in the House of Representatives in an unprecedented fast speed. It is now in the Senate. This dream bill for collective societies of rightholders is the Bill for Copyright for Audiovisual Authors.
Here is a link to the bill and the legislative discussions. Here is how it works against open licensing:
Abstract: Despite the deep irony of free trade agreements being subverted to codify and extend anti-competitive monopoly rights and despite the equally deep irony of foreign investors having greater enforcement rights than local investors, the joining of enhanced intellectual property rights (IPRs) and protections and strengthened investor rights is creating a wild-west opportunity for unbounded corporate power. Two current contestations show the dangers of this expanded power in sharp relief.
Fundación Vía Libre reports that Fundación Vía LibreZ report that Liliana Mazure, Gloria Bidegain, Susana Canela, Gastón harispe, Héctor Recalde y Eduardo Seminara have introduced a plan to extend the term of copyright protection to life of the author plus 70 years. This would apply retroactively. Vía Libre has written lawmakers to express concern.
Their blog post and a link to the full letter is reposted below:
Los diputados del FPV Liliana Mazure, Gloria Bidegain, Susana Canela, Gastón harispe, Héctor Recalde y Eduardo Seminara impulsaron un proyecto para homologar la extensión de la duración del monopolio de propiedad intelectual sobre fotografía al de las demás obras, es decir, toda la vida del autor más 70 años después de su fallecimiento.
Ministerial talks for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) collapsed in Maui last month when trade ministers sparred over issues including monopolies for biotech drugs, which include many cancer treatments. Talks resumed this weekend in Atlanta, where negotiators are reportedly exploring a tweaked approach to the impasse over biologics. But the approach, which may consider introducing a period of post-marketing surveillance in a system analogous to Japanese law, is an illusion, not an improvement. It is a repackaging of the same harmful idea already rejected by many countries.
In other words, 5 + 3 still makes 8 years exclusivity.
[Paul Keller, Communia, Link (Public Domain)] It is generally accepted wisdom that if you do not want something to be noticed you can best announce it on a Friday afternoon. Presenting a study right before the start of the summer holidays is a variation of this. Seen in this light, it is a bit unfortunate that the Spanish Association of Publishers of Periodical Publications (AEEPP) decided to release a study on the impact of the Spanish ancillary copyright on the 9th of July when half of Europe was already in (pre)vacation mode (which is why we are covering the study 3 months after its release—for your post vacation enjoyment).
Abstract: Most free trade agreements signed by the United States, the European Union and the members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in the last 15 years contain chapters on intellectual property rights with provisions applicable to pharmaceuticals. Such provisions considerably expand the rights recognized to pharmaceutical companies under the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) established in the context of the World Trade Organization. The leaked text on intellectual property of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) currently under negotiation goes further than those FTAs.
[MSF Press Release] As US President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Modi meet in New York today, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warned that US pressure for India to change its intellectual property policies could result in millions of people around the world losing their lifeline of affordable medicines. MSF relies on affordable generic medicines produced in India to do its medical work in more than 60 countries, and therefore urged Modi to stand strong and protect India’s role as the ‘pharmacy of the developing world.’