Mexico Invited to Join the TPP; Canada Rumored to Be Invited Soon
Yesterday, Mexico was invited to enter the TPP negotiations. According to the USTR press release: “The Administration will shortly notify Congress of its intent to include Mexico in the TPP negotiations. The notification will trigger a 90-day consultation period with Congress on U.S. negotiating objectives with respect to Mexico. USTR also will publish a notice in the Federal Register seeking public comments.” Sean Flynn said in a press statement that “Bringing Mexico into the TPP negotiation will make the negotiation of the intellectual property chapter that much harder.” The Canadian press reports that Canada is still negotiating its entry into the TPP, with an announcement expected soon. Click here for more.
File Sharing and the Greek Crisis
[by Petros Petridis, Panteio University] According to the major copyright industry groups, Greece has among the highest rates of “piracy” in the European Union. The Business Software Alliance recently put this number at 61% of the software market—exceeded only by Romania and Bulgaria. The IFPI listed Greece in its top ten ‘priority countries’ for music piracy in 2006. The US Trade Representative’s office has kept Greece on its “Watchlist” of badly behaving countries since 2008. It is easy to see file sharing through the lens of the larger Greek crisis—as part of the wider breakdown and circumvention of formal institutions. Click here for more.
Counterfeit, Trademarks, and Copyright Top the Agenda at TRIPS Council
[by the International Conference on Trade and Sustainable Development staff] Last week’s meeting of the WTO’s Council on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) saw talks proceed on a host of issues, including counterfeit goods, exceptions and limitations to copyright, and a long-running dispute over a Cuban rum trademark. The topic of counterfeit goods resurfaced at the 5 June meeting, with several developed countries – including the EU, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, and Switzerland – arguing that such products can have serious health and safety implications. Click here for more.
EP International Trade Committee to Vote on ACTA
On June 21, the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade (INTA) will vote on whether or not to recommend the approval of the Anticounterfeiting Trade Agreement, or whether to recommend a delay. In recent weeks, four committees have recommended its rejection, but within the INTA the European People’s Party Group and the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR) have proposed amendments that would keep ACTA alive. The full European Parliament is scheduled to vote on ratification of ACTA in the first week of July. Click here for more.
UNCTAD Report Sees Sustainable African Growth In IP Flexibilities
[by William New] The United Nations trade and development agency this week published its Economic Development in Africa 2012 report, which argued, among other things, that the region’s sustainable future depends on using flexibilities in intellectual property rights as appropriate. Click here for the full story on IP Watch.
Polish “Digital School” („Cyfrowa szkoła”) Program Will Develop Free Online Textbooks
A post by Creative Commons Poland describes the government’s Digital School initiative, a section of which involves government funding for the creation of e-textbooks. All of the books created with the funding will be “made available under the Creative Commons Attribution license or another free license – one that allows use of resources and their derivatives with payments and in an unlimited, nonexclusive manner; made available in at least one open format (with full specification available without technical and legal limitations); [and] in the case of Web access, made available in accordance with the current W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).” Click here for the full post on creativcommons.pl.
TPP Investment Chapter Leaked
The text of an investment chapter for the Trans Pacific Partnership proposed by the U.S. was leaked on June 13 and placed online by Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. The definition of “investment” in Article 12.2 includes intellectual property rights. Article 12.12 places limits on a country’s ability to expropriate investments and sets rules on required compensation in the event that investments are expropriated. The text includes a controversial section on investor-state dispute settlement, and a carve out for Australia exempting it from this section. Click here for more.