Infojustice Roundup

Information Justice and the Public Interest

ACTA-As-Counterproposal at TPP Negotiations and Other News from Dallas

The 12th Round of Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are currently underway in Dallas.  For the past week, negotiators have covered intellectual property topics including enforcement and patents.  As reported by Inside U.S. Trade, New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore have proposed replacing some elements of the US proposal on IP enforcement with provisions from ACTA.  Side events included a lunch on IP and Innovation hosted by Pubic Citizen and a lunch on Copyright Enforcement hosted by Public Knowledge and PIJIP.  At a stakeholder briefing on Sunday, negotiators weighed in on issues concerning IP and innovation.  Ron Kirk told a Reuters interviewer that “there’s a practical reason, for our ability both to preserve negotiating strength and to encourage our partners to be willing to put issues on the table they may not otherwise, that we have to preserve some measure of discretion and confidentiality.”  Click here for more.

Law Professor Letter to US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and USTR’s Response

Last week, 33 legal academics sent a letter to United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk criticizing the decision to cancel full day stakeholder presentations for the current round of negotiations being held in Dallas, Texas, and calling on the administration to “reverse course” and work to expand participation and transparency in the negotiations. The letter specifically called for Kirk to work to give the general public the same rights to see US proposals in the negotiation as cleared corporate advisers now have. The letter received an immediate response from the Ambassador.  Click here for the letter and the response.

Senate Subcommittee Hearing on a Prize Fund for New Drugs to Treat HIV/AIDS

Tomorrow the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging of the Senate HELP Committee will hold a hearing on “The High Cost of High Prices for HIV/AIDS Drugs and the Prize Fund Alternative.” A media advisory from Chairman Bernie Sanders’ office announces that the hearing will present “a new model that would reward innovation through a prize system, rather than government-granted monopolies. Sanders’ legislation, S. 1138, would eliminate legal barriers to generic competition for HIV/AIDS drugs and reward innovation directly, through a $3 billion a year prize fund. It would unleash unprecedented advances in medical innovation in decades to come by also requiring that at least 5 percent of the prize money go to any individual, business or nonprofit organization that openly shared information, data, materials or technology that contributed in a positive way to the development of new drugs.”  Mohammed Akhter, Frank Oldham, Suerie Moon, Joseph Stiglitz, Lawrence Lessing, and James Love will testify. Click here for more.

EP Committee on Legal Affairs: ACTA Has Not Been Referred to the Court of Justice

The Chairman of the EP Committee on Legal Affairs has written Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht to express the Committee’s “profound dissatisfaction” that ACTA has not yet been referred to the European Court of Justice. Last February, the College of Commissioners had agreed to ask the Court to review the capability of ACTA with Charter of Fundamental Rights, but to date this has not happened. The letter also asks De Gucht to answer a series of questions to on ACTA before the Legal Affairs Committee votes on ACTA in the end of May. Click here for the letter.

Upcoming Debate on ACTA Hosted by IViR and SAE

[message from Ana Ramalho] The Institute for Information Law and the SAE institute are organizing a debate evening on ACTA. The debate is taking place on the 21st of May 2012, from 19h to 21h, in the Faculty of Law of the University of Amsterdam. The panel of speakers will consist of intellectual property lawyers and representatives from creative industries. A representative from an ISP has also confirmed… The debate will be streamed (more details to follow). Attendance is free of charge, but registration is necessary at:

Publication of the COMMUNIA book “The Digital Public Domain: Foundations for an Open Culture”

[from the Communia website]  “The book ‘The Digital Public Domain: Foundations for an Open Culture,’ edited by Melanie Dulong de Rosnay and Juan Carlos De Martin as an output of the Communia Thematic Network… brings together essays by academics, librarians, entrepreneurs, activists and policy makers, who were all part of the EU-funded Communia project.  Together the authors argue that the Public Domain — that is, the informational works owned by all of us, be that literature, music, the output of scientific research, educational material or public sector information — is fundamental to a healthy society.”  Click here for more.