Intellectual Property and the Public Interest
World Health Assembly Debates Convention on R&D for Neglected Diseases
Last week, the 65th World Health Assembly debated proposals to increase and coordinate funding for research and development into diseases that affect the world’s poor. The debate focused on the report of the Consultative Expert Working Group (CEWG) on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination. The report noted the failure of the current international IP system to incentivize research into diseases that disproportionally affect people in developing countries and recommended a binding convention on R&D into neglected diseases. At the Assembly, developed countries resisted calls for a binding convention. A resolution was passed that called upon the Director General of the World Health Organization to hold “an open-ended Members States meeting in order to analyze thoroughly the report and the feasibility of the recommendations proposed by the CEWG.” The resolution also calls on Member States and others to increase their investments in R&D into neglected diseases, and to hold national level consultations to discuss the CEWG report. Click here for more.
Analysis of the Indian Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2012
[by Pranesh Prakash] The Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2012 has been passed by both Houses of Parliament, and will become law as soon as the President gives her assent and it is published in the Gazette of India. While we celebrate the passage of some progressive amendments to the Copyright Act, 1957 — including an excellent exception for persons with disabilities — we must keep in mind that there are some regressive amendments as well. In this blog post, I will try to highlight those provisions of the amendment that have not received much public attention (unlike the issue of lyricists’ and composers’ ‘right to royalty’). Click here for more.
Creative Commons Video and Report on World Bank Panel on Open Access Policy and Development
[by Timothy Vollmer] On Monday, the World Bank hosted an event called What the World Bank’s Open Access Policy Means for Development (you can view the video recording of the event at the link or embedded below). Participants included Peter Suber from Harvard University, Michael Carroll from American University (Mike is on the Board of Directors at Creative Commons), and Cyril Muller and Adam Wagstaff from the World Bank. The discussion was timely given the Bank’s recently-announced Open Access Policy and Open Knowledge Repository. We blogged about the Bank’s announcement of these two great initiatives. The World Bank’s Open Access Policy requires that all research outputs and knowledge products published by the Bank be licensed Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY) as a default. Click here for the video and full report.
“Heavy-handed” TPP tactics from US Trade Representative
[by Peter Maybarduk] At the TPP negotiations’ official stakeholder briefing held on May 13th outside Dallas, USTR announced that… negotiators of chapters that are taking time for review and input are now getting a little punishment. For example, intellectual property negotiators who have been appropriately scrutinizing proposals that would transform their countries’ laws regarding generic medicines, internet freedom and much more have reportedly been dragged before the assembled Chiefs more than once to face pointed questions about what’s taking so long. USTR is driving this new tactic, which even the US Chief Negotiator described as a more “heavy-handed approach.” Click here for more.
Malaysian Compulsory License
Earlier this month, the Malaysian AIDS council, an umbrella group of 49 civil society groups, asked the Malaysian Minister of Health to begin a government sponsored program to provide second line treatment to people with HIV/AIDS. In order to make this feasible, the Council requested that the Ministry grant a compulsory license for patents related to Lopinavir+Ritonavir, an important antiretroviral sold under the brand name Kaletra by Abbott. Click here for more.
Global changes in the production and consumption of culture: A Greens/EFA conference
[Announcement by the Greens/EFA Alliance] Exploring the new trends in culture production and consumption across the world is necessary to be able to build the future policies needed to promote creation and access to knowledge. While the issue of copyright and the Internet has often occupied the debates in the European Parliament during the past years, offering a very narrow approach to industrial and social realities, we instead decided to broaden the focus in order to better understand the changes and challenges. We, thus, invited several analysts and experts, journalists, researchers and writers, who will speak about the results of their investigations and reflection; from Hollywood to China, from Australia back to Europe and to Brussels. Click here for the full announcement.
Former Bush Administration Assistant Attorney General Goldsmith Supports Call to Senate Finance on ACTA
[by Jack Goldsmith] Dozens of scholars have written a letter to complain about the constitutional basis for President Obama to ratify ACTA… The administration originally maintained that it had the authority to join ACTA for the United States as a sole executive agreement, without authorization from Congress or consent by the Senate… The Obama administration has apparently dropped the sole executive agreement argument and now claims that the Congress authorized him to enter into ACTA. Click here for more.
Dutch Lawmakers Come Out Against ACTA Before EU Parliamentary Committee Votes; EDRi Releases EC Meeting Notes
The Associated Press has reported that “Dutch lawmakers adopted a motion Tuesday urging the government not to sign” ACTA, and that “Lisa Neves Goncalves — a spokeswoman for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation — said the government had earlier this year stated it would avoid signing the treaty until it was clear it did not breach the Dutch or EU constitutions.” On May 31, three European Parliamentary Committees will hold votes on ACTA – Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), Legal Affairs (JURI), and Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). European Digital Rights has posted EC meeting notes that “provide an extensive guide to the failures of the European Commission to negotiate effectively on behalf of European citizens and businesses. They also provide an insight into the ways in which the Commission’s public relations ‘spin’ seeks to hide these failures.” Click here for more.
CREATe Founded at the University of Glascow
The University of Glascow has established a new research center – the Centre for Creativity, Regulation, Enterprise and Technology (CREATe). It is an “interdisciplinary research centre which will engage with key research challenges in the creative economy relating to copyright, new business models, and digital transformations. CREATe is a consortium of research expertise from 7 participating HEIs throughout the UK.” The University is hiring a new faculty member to serve as the Director of CREATe. Click here for the announcement.