Intellectual Property and the Public Interest
Colombia Rushes Through Unbalanced Copyright Reform
[by Sean Flynn] The latest example of a rushed copyright reform process to implement an unbalanced law while stifling public debate occurred in Colombia last week. Over a scant 18 days (including a break for holy week) – the shortest time ever for a piece of legislation in the country – Columbia’s Congress passed and the president signed a major copyright overhaul bill. The bill implements many of the country’s free trade agreement (FTA) commitments with the U.S. But in the process, experts and advocates have criticized the country for having “lost the opportunity to balance the legislation” with correlative expansions in limitations and exceptions — making the country the latest victim of the international trend in intellectual property maximalism. Click here for more.
Chilean Senators Warn Against Linkage Provisions in Patent Legislation
The Chilean press reports that Senators Francis Rossi and Fulvio Chahuán have expressed their opposition to legislation that would prohibit health regulators from granting marketing approval to medicines which are under patent without the acquiescence of the patent holder. This “linkage” between patents and health regulators would implement an obligation of the requirements of the US-Chile Free Trade Agreement, but the Senators warn it would block access to generic medicines, and could raise prices on drugs by an average of 40%. Click here for more.
Chilean Trade Officials Question TPP Benefits at Seminar in Santiago
[by Sean Flynn] At a PIJIP-hosted seminar on intellectual property and the TPP last week, present and former Chilean trade officials questioned whether joining the TPP would be worth its costs if it included additional demands on IP. The officials included Senator Ricardo Lagos (lead Chilean neogtiator of the US-Chile FTA); Alvaro Dias, (former Ambassador of Chile to Brazil and a senior official in the Foreign Ministry’s Department of Trade Policy at the time of the US-Chile FTA negotiation); and Ana Novik (current senior official in the Ministry of Foreign Relations) overseeing the current TPP negotiations. Each of the presenters explained that Chile already has market access agreements with every country in the TPP region, and therefore the trade benefits of joining TPP are likely to be minimal. Click here for more.
TPP’s Effects on the IP Law of Canada and Mexico
[by Carrier Ellen Sager] Another round of TPP negotiations on intellectual property is underway this week in Chile, and two additional countries are looking to get in on the action: Mexico and Canada. However, both countries may have trouble getting their citizenry to agree to the IP provisions if they remain in their current form. To determine how much each country would have to change its laws to comply with TPP requirements, PIJIP asked me to compare the TPP’s leaked IP chapter with the existing law in each country, as well as the countries’ obligations under NAFTA. Unsurprisingly, the TPP provides far more stringent limitations than NAFTA, and would require major legal changes by both countries. Click here for more.
Overview of Flexibilities in Canadian Copyright Law
PIJIP has posted a user-friendly overview of copyright flexibilities in Canada consisting of two parts: answers to a questionnaire on the state of copyright law, and a table organizing the limitations and exceptions to copyright in Canada’s laws. The first part is an analysis of copyright flexibilities and the current political context of copyright provided by Michael Geist, in the form of answers to a questionnaire given to participants at a meeting on Limitations and Exceptions to Copyright hosted by IViR and PIJIP last December. The author reviewed the answers before this document was uploaded. The table on limitations and exceptions was compiled by PIJIP fellow Marcela Palacio Puerta. This overview is part of a larger project to map flexibilities in copyright law, and input is appreciated. Click here for more.
World Bank Announces Open Access Policy, Will Require Research to Be Published Under Creative Commons Licenses
The World Bank today announced a new Open Access policy for research conducted in-house or supported by its grants. Beginning July 1, the bank will “require open access under copyright licensing from Creative Commons—a non-profit organization whose copyright licenses are designed to accommodate the expanded access to information afforded by the Internet.” The default license to be used will be the CC-BY license, which allows anyone to copy, distribute, adopt, or make commercial use of the work, under the condition of attribution. It also announced the creation of its Open Knowledge Repository, described as “a one-stop-shop for most of the Bank’s research outputs and knowledge products, providing free and unrestricted access to students, libraries, government officials and anyone interested in the Bank’s knowledge.” Click here for more.
EU Parliamentary Rapporteurs Recommend Rejection of ACTA
On April 11, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the EU Parliament held a public debate on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. At the debate, the EU’s Rapporteur for ACTA, MEP David Martin announced that he will recommend that Parliament vote to reject the agreement, saying that “ACTA raises more fears than hopes. What it delivers in terms of important intellectual property rights is diminished by potential threats to civil liberties and internet freedom.” Earlier in the week, the Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research, and Energy Rapporteur on ACTA recommended that Parliament withhold its consent to ACTA. Click here for more.
U.S. Department of Commerce: IP-Intensive Industries Support 40 Million Jobs
Last week the Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a report on American industries that are heavily dependent on IP protection. “Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus” identifies 75 industries as “IP-Intensive” out of 313 industries overall, and concludes that these IP-intensive industries directly account for 27.1 million jobs in the U.S. (which equals 18.8% of all employment). The industries indirectly support additional jobs in related industries, leading to a total 40 million jobs. Wages in the IP-intensive industries are 42% higher than the average wages in other industries, which reflects the fact that workers in the IP-intensive industries tend to have more years of schooling. Click here for more.