Infojustice Roundup

Declaration of Internet Freedom

Last week, ninety-one organizations and thirty-eight individuals launched the Declaration for Internet Freedom, which is open for endorsements.  It states: “We stand for a free and open Internet. We support transparent and participatory processes for making Internet policy and the establishment of five basic principles  – l Expression: Don’t censor the Internet. Access: Promote universal access to fast and affordable networks. Openness: Keep the Internet an open network where everyone is free to connect, communicate, write, read, watch, speak, listen, learn, create and innovate. Innovation: Protect the freedom to innovate and create without permission. Don’t block new technologies, and don’t punish innovators for their users’ actions. Privacy: Protect privacy and defend everyone’s ability to control how their data and devices are used.” Click here for the full Declaration

TPP Negotiations in San Diego Focus on Copyright and General Provisions

The 13th round of Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are currently underway in San Diego.  Intellectual property negotiators are focusing on the general provisions and copyright sections of the text.  Sean Flynn has written a blog on “What’s at stake in the San Diego Round of the TPP,” and James Love has written a letter to USTR on the copyright provisions.  On July 3, USTR posted a blog indicating that they have tabled new text on limitations and exceptions to copyright, based on the three step test (see civil society and industry commentary).  The stakeholder participation events were held at the very beginning of the round, and seemed rushed.  In the week leading up to the round, 131 Representatives wrote a letter to USTR seeking greater access to the negotiations, and Rep. Issa unsuccessfully sought observer status in the negotiations (blog). On Saturday, civil society groups delivered a petition signed by over 90,000 people to negotiators which “called on the governments involved in the TPP to make the process transparent, accountable, and open to public participation and to all interested stakeholders.”

EU Parliament Rejects ACTA…

On July 4, the European Parliament overwhelmingly rejected the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement today, 478-39. MEP David Hammersten said in a blog that “the Treaty was too vague and was open to misinterpretation. I will always support civil liberties over intellectual property rights protection.” PIJIP Director Michael Carroll said in a statement “ACTA failed because civil society advocates and academic researchers succeeded in publicizing the multiple problems with a one-sided approach to changing international intellectual property law through a non-participatory, secret process that reflects only the interests of particular industries.” Statements from other Parliamentarians and civil society actors are compiled in a KEI blog post.

…But (Smaller) ACTA and Similar Agreements Move Forward

Efforts to ratify ACTA in the remaining countries will continue.  Carol Guthrie from USTR told the New York Times that “ACTA can still serve as a valuable forum through which countries can coordinate to stop counterfeit trade and piracy,” at the Europe’s rejection of the agreement means that “ACTA’s membership may initially be more Pacific-oriented than would be true with E.U. participation.”  Michael Geist notes that “the EU plans to use the Canada – EU Trade Agreement (CETA), which is nearing its final stages of negotiation, as a backdoor mechanism to implement the ACTA provisions.”  His blog post compares the two, provision by provision.  Additionally, the TPP contains numerous IP provisions that exceed those found in ACTA  – see PIJIP’s comparison of the two agreements.

Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties Votes against ACTA

On June 27th, the Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties issued a report on June 27 recommending that “the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement not be ratified by Australia” unless and until the government can provide an adequate evidentiary record proving that the agreement will be in Australia’s best interests.  Click here for more.

White House Seeks Comments on IP Enforcement

On June 26, the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator published a Federal Register Notice seeking public comments on a new Joint Strategic Plan for IP enforcement.  Comments are due by July 25.  The request asks for “detailed recommendations from the public regarding specific recommendations for improving the U.S. Government’s intellectual property enforcement efforts…. [and] submissions from the public regarding existing and emerging threats to the protection of intellectual property rights and the identification of threats to public health and safety and the U.S. economy resulting from intellectual property infringement.” Click here for more.

Copyright and Innovation: The Untold Story

This new paper by Michael Carrier “presents the results of a groundbreaking study of 31 CEOs, company founders, and vice-presidents from technology companies, the recording industry, and venture capital firms. Based on in-depth interviews, the Article offers original insights on the relationship between copyright law and innovation. It also analyzes the behavior of the record labels when confronted with the digital music revolution.  And it traces innovators and investors’ reactions to the district court’s injunction in the case involving peer-to-peer service Napster.”  Click here for the full paper.

Creative Commons and P2PU Buidling the School of Open

[by Elliot Harmon, CC] The School of Open is a collaboration between Creative Commons and P2PU (Peer 2 Peer University). Its aim is to provide easily digestible educational exercises, resources, and professional development courses that help individuals and institutions learn about and employ open tools, such as the CC licenses. Why build a School of Open? Universal access to and participation in research, education, and culture is made possible by openness, but not enough people know what it means or how to take advantage of it. We imagine artists, educators, learners, scientists, archivists, and other creators improving their fields via the use of open tools and materials. Click here for more.

Yochai Benkler on Evolution of Networked Discourse on SOPA/PIPA

[by Stephanie-Duchesneau] In a recent presentation before the Personal Democracy Forum, Yochai Benkler, the Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard and co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, discussed the media surrounding the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) as a case study for the evolution of networked discourse and activism. Benkler argues that, contrary to a perception in the 1990s that the internet was too “weak, polarized, and ineffective” to uphold a Jeffersonian model of democracy, networked discourse from tech media and individual blogs drove public perception on SOPA and PIPA. Over the course of eighteen months, ten thousand such stories were able to bring down legislation supported by the three most powerful lobbies in Washington, D.C. and politicians on both sides of the aisle. Click here for the video.

UK Commissioned Report on “Expanding Access to Published Research Findings” (the Finch Report)

[by the Research Information Network] “The report of the Working Group chaired by Dame Janet Finch published on 18 June recommends a programme of action to enable more people to read and use the publications arising from research. Better, faster communication of research results will bring benefits for public services and for economic growth. It will also bring improved efficiency for researchers, and opportunities for more public engagement with research. The full report is available for downloading below, along with an executive summary.”  Click here for more.