A New Ministry of Culture in Brazil

[Allan Rocha de Souza] Just after entering her 21st month heading the Ministry of Culture in Brazil, Ana de Hollanda was dismissed on Tuesday, September 11. The new Minister, Marta Suplicy, a well known Labor Party politician from São Paulo, took office on the 13th … In her opening speech, the new Minister mentioned that “the [concern with] the difficulties in access to cultural products and goods, the [promotion of] cultural diversity, the continuing dialogue with all cultural and social segments as well as with Congress” will always be priorities in her Ministry. It is important to note that, when taking office in 2011, President Dilma established thirteen directives which were priorities for the Government. Among them, there is an explicit statement on “democratization of access to cultural goods”. One of the most important ways of achieving such goal is strengthening the copyright limitations and exceptions by opening up the system. We hope this time it will be for real. Click here for more.

Internet Activa: A webinar for digital activists

[Carolina Botero] Digital rights and civil freedoms on the web, 12 basic lessons online” is the first online seminar, to be launched from September 2012 until February 2013. This webinar will give you the information, criteria and basic tools to understand key issues in our times. It will also give you a glimpse of similar experiences in Latin America and will connect you with other fellow activists in the defense of an Open, Participative and Free Web. Click here for more.

Fast-Tracked Panamanian Copyright Bill Creates Financial Incentive to Maximize Enforcement of Copyright

Last month, the Panamanian executive branch introduced new copyright legislation to bring the nation into compliance with its Free Trade Agreement with the U.S.  The executive would like the legislature to pass it by October. Bill no. 510 “On Author’s Rights and Neighboring Rights” (Sobre Derechos e Autor y Derchos Conexos) lengthens the term of copyrights to 70 years after the life of the author, and seems to expand the definition of “reproduction” to include temporary copies. It amends the criminal penalties section of the existing law. It increases civil and criminal penalties for infringement. Bill no. 510 also creates a strong financial incentive for the agency in charge of enforcement to monitor ordinary people and to increase the quantity of enforcement actions. Click here for more.

Civil Society in the Republic of Moldova Opposing Data Exclusivity in FTA with the EU

[Stela Bivol] The Republic of Moldova, a country in the Eastern European region, has started in 2011 the process of confidential negotiations for Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the European Union (EU). In these negotiations the EU requires the Republic of Moldova to introduce in the national legislation data exclusivity as a new form of protection of intellectual property for the maximum period of eleven years (8+2+1). In the first round of negotiations, Moldova opposed introduction of data exclusivity because of the impact on price of drugs, but the official answer of Director General for Trade was that EU interpretation of unfair commercial use is in line with the TRIPS Agreement. Click here for more.

Budapest Open Access Initiative policy recommendations for the next 10 years

[Timothy Vollmer] Ten years after the release of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, OA advocates last week released updated recommendations in support of open access around the world, touching on areas including policy, licensing, sustainability, and advocacy. Of particular interest are recommendations that urge funders to require open access when they make grants: “When possible, funder policies should require libre OA, preferably under a CC-BY license or equivalent.” When funding agencies institute open access policies for the grant funds they distribute, they increase the impact of the research produced. This is because the outputs can be widely reused under the CC-BY license, which allows for reuse for any purpose (even commercial) so long as attribution is given to the author.  Click here for the full blog on creativecommons.org.

India Rejects Bayer’s Request for a Stay on Compulsory License

India’s Intellectual Property Appellate Board has rejected Bayer’s request for a stay on the compulsory licensed issued for the anticancer drug sorafenib tosylate, (sold by Bayer under the brand name Nexaver).  The compulsory license was issued to the generic manufacturer Natco last March under Section 84 of the Indian Patents Act.  The controller of patents had found that each of the three necessary conditions applied: “(a) that the reasonable requirements of the public with respect to the patented invention have not been satisfied, or (b) that the patented invention is not available to the public at a reasonably affordable price, or (c) that the patented invention is not worked in the territory of India.” Click here for more.

Webcast: Recent Developments in Fair Dealing in Canada

Recent copyright cases in the Supreme Court of Canada expanded fair dealing, Canada’s equivalent to U.S. fair use. These cases held, among other points, that users have rights that must be given a large and liberal interpretation”, that copyright law is about both “protection” and “access,” that “research” purposes are not strictly limited, and that there is no absolute requirement for transformative use in Canada. These cases stress that technological neutrality matters, paving the way for future innovation. WCL hosted a discussion of these cases with Canadian attorneys Ariel Katz and Howard Knopf, and with comments by Prof. Martin Senftleben on how civil law judges might look at open-ended norms such as those in the Canadian cases. Click here for the webcast and a summary of the talks.

Progress Slow on IPR Talks as Fourteenth Round of TPP Negotiations Concludes

On Sunday, TPP negotiators concluded their 14th round of negotiations.  The IPR talks revolved around cooperation on IPRs, trademarks, and geographical indications.  Progress in the IPR negotiations were said to be progressing very slowly. USTR announced that the next round of negotiations will be held in Auckland, New Zealand, on December 3-12, and that “Mexico and Canada will join the TPP negotiations once current TPP members successfully conclude their domestic procedures, which is expected to occur in early October.”  An Avaaz.org petition asking governments “to make the TPP process transparent and accountable to all, and to reject any plans that limit our governments’ power to regulate in the public interest” has received over 670,000 signatures as of Monday evening. Click here for more.

USTR Publishes Comments, To Hold Hearings on Canada and Mexico’s Entry into TPP Negotiations

USTR has published comments received in response to a Request for Comments on the entry of Canada and Mexico into the Trans Pacific Partnership. The 60 comments on Mexico are here and there will be a public hearing on the nation’s entry into the trade negotiations on Friday, September 21.  The 49 comments on Canada are here, and there will be a public hearing regarding its entry in to the trade negotiations on Monday, September 24.