WIPO Concludes SCCR Talks on Limitations and Exceptions, and on Broadcaster Rights
The WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) concluded its 24th session last week. Activists supporting the treaty for limitations and exceptions for visually impaired persons were disappointed by moves by the U.S. and EU delegations to block the treaty, which is still highly bracketed. The text will now be further discussed in an intersessional meeting, where negotiators will discuss the possibility of moving to a high level diplomatic conference in November 2013.
The SCCR also discussed limitations and exceptions for educational and research institutions, and for libraries and archives. Proposals have been compiled into a working document that will form the basis for “text based work” at the next SCCR. Delegates discussed a possible treaty for broadcasters rights, which is opposed by many civil society groups, but is moving forward quickly relative to the texts on limitations and exceptions. Click here for more.
Sen. Wyden Letter to State Department: Pro IP Act Doesn’t Allow ACTA Implementation Without Congressional Ratification
Senator Wyden has again written the Obama Administration insisting that ACTA cannot be implemented in the United States absent Congressional ratification. In a letter to State Department Attorney Harold Koh, he disagrees with Koh’s previous assertion that the PRO-IP act allows the Administration to bypass Congress. He notes that the Administration had originally offered a different justification for why ACTA would not require the normal legislative approval (that ACTA is a “sole executive agreement rather than a formal trade agreement). Finally, he asks if the Administration applies the PRO-IP Act reasoning to the cybersecurity bill currently before the Senate, S. 3414. Click here for more.
USTR Briefs Civil Society on State of the TPP Negotiations
Last week, Chief US TPP negotiator Barbara Weisel briefed civil society on the state of the negotiations. The intellectual property negotiations at the next round will likely cover the same topics as the last round – general provisions and copyright. If possible, they may also move into trademarks and geographical indications. It is not likely that they will discuss patents. Weisel said that USTR has not received comments from the other governments about the text on limitations and exceptions to copyright USTR tabled in San Diego. She expects positive feedback. The text was designed to give countries maximum latitude in how limitations and exceptions are implemented – to allow countries to implement U.S.-type limitations and exceptions without dictating local law. The next full negotiating round will be held September 6-15 in Leesburg, VA. The following full round will be held in December. The location of the December round is yet to be determined, but it will be outside of the United States. Click here for more.
News from the XIX International AIDS Conference
Last week’s International AIDS Conference featured discussions and protests about the high cost of second and third line treatments, which face greater patent barriers than older drugs. The need for greater access in middle income countries was a recurring theme as well; the majority of people living with HIV/AIDS live in middle income countries, but many companies’ licenses or reduced prices focus on low income countries. Conference events featured a panel on “The Future of AIDS Treatment” and a side event sponsored by the Medicines Patent Pool on “Improving Access and Innovation in HIV Treatment.” Sen. Sanders spoke on a panel about treatment financing, where he promoted his legislation to create a prize fund for HIV/AIDS medicines, which would ensure “virtually universal access to life-saving medicines for HIV/AIDS as soon as they are approved for sale by rewarding innovation with a system of prizes instead of high prices.” Thousands of activists protested against the TPP outside the White House (see also the related Public Citizen press release). Politico featured an op-ed by Rep. Waxman in which he says the TPP should promote IP rules that promote generic competition, and the Administration should support efforts of countries to use TRIPS flexibilities. Médecins Sans Frontières released a briefing note on the TPP and the 15th edition of its Untangling the Web medicine pricing survey.
Four Million CC-Licensed Videos Uploaded to YouTube
[Reposted blog by Elliot Harmon] Creative Commons just reached an exciting milestone. As of this week, there are four million Creative Commons–licensed videos on YouTube. That’s over forty years’ worth of footage to remix and reuse, all licensed under CC BY, the most permissive CC license. One thing that makes this mass of CC-licensed content really exciting is that all four million of those videos can be imported into YouTube’s online video editor. By letting people remix and adapt videos without having sophisticated editing software or expertise, YouTube and CC are making it easier for anyone to build on the work of others. Click here for more.