Philippines Copyright Legislation Clears Conference Committee

[Mike Palmedo] Legislation making a number of changes to the Philippines’ Republic Act 8293 (the Intellectual Property Code) has cleared the conference committee.  The law makes a number of changes aimed at strengthening IP protection, but it also adds a specific copyright exception for the visually impaired.  Sen. Manny Villar, Chairman of the Committee on Trade and Commerce and the Senate bill’s sponsor, stressed that the stronger protection is need for copyright industries in the Philippines, which account for 5% of the country’s GDP. Click here for more.

Access Victories and the Global Kaletra Campaign

[Stephanie Rosenberg] November 10, 2012 marked the first anniversary of the global Kaletra campaign, a campaign comprising health groups in 12 countries challenging pharmaceutical monopolies including Abbott Laboratories’ hold on HIV/AIDS treatment Kaletra and its components lopinavir and ritonavir. These groups have taken actions through compulsory license requests, patent oppositions, litigation and public campaigning to promote generic competition and lower costs. Several new significant victories have been achieved.  For example, Indonesia issued licenses for seven medicines treating hepatitis B and HIV (including lopinavir+ritonavir). Ecuador issued a second compulsory license for an ARV treatment. A Colombian appellate court ruled that the Ministry of Health violated collective rights to health by failing to require Abbott to comply with the reference price for Kaletra (the Ministry has since imposed this requirement, reducing Kaletra prices by 70%) and must maintain Kaletra on a parallel imports list. Click here for more.

Pirates are the Best Customers: Anatomy of a Ridiculous Controversy

[Joe Karaganis] Some weeks ago, we published a lengthy blog post called Where do Music Collections Come From?  which discussed findings from our Copy Culture survey. Some of the data demonstrated that P2P file sharers (who own digital music files) buy more music than their non-P2P using peers (who also own digital music files). To me, this was a fairly innocuous finding, well in line with other studies.  For my money, the more important findings were that personal sharing ‘between friends’ is about as prevalent and as significant in music acquisition as ‘downloading for free’, and that together they are outweighed by legal acquisition. But the public spoke and the P2P finding went viral: the biggest pirates are the best customers.   Headlines like this generated pushback from record industry groups RIAA and IFPI—mostly centered around the work of NPD, their survey firm in the US.  The exchange, I think, is an interesting window on the state of the empirical debate around file sharing. Click here for more.

Canadian Parliament to Vote on Amendments to Law on Export of Medicines Produced Under Compulsory License

[Mike Palmedo] On Wednesday, the Canadian Parliament will vote on Bill C-398, legislation to reform the Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR).  This is the law that was passed in 2004 to allow generic firms in Canada to export medicines produced under compulsory license to developing countries.  CAMR establishes a framework that complies with the WTO’s  amendments to the TRIPS Agreement regarding compulsory licenses for drugs not meant primarily for domestic markets. However, the framework has proved too cumbersome for practical application – only one shipment of drugs has ever resulted from a generic firm using the CAMR system.Click here for more.

WIPO Committee Finishes A Step Closer To Treaty For Visually Impaired

[Catherine Saez, IP Watch] After a long week of discussions, delegates at the World Intellectual Property Organization last night adopted a working draft text that could become a treaty or other instrument providing copyright exceptions for visually impaired people, and agreed to send the text to the WIPO extraordinary General Assembly next month.  Country delegates and visually impaired representatives hailed a constructive atmosphere and progress achieved this week, but a number of delegations highlighted the fact that much more work will be needed to reach final agreement on remaining outstanding issues. Click here for the full story on

The Model BIT: A Framework for Intellectual Property Agreements

[Matt Webb] The success of the Model Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) process in advancing transparency in the investment policy-making at the international level provides a practical and achievable framework for other areas on trade.  Though far from perfect, the Model BIT has improved transparency for the highly controversial area of investment, while still allowing the US to successfully negotiate a multitude of BITs and investment chapters. Because trade policies involving intellectual property rights (IPR) are also very controversial, the Model BIT framework could be used to create model IPR Agreements and chapters to increase the legitimacy of international policy making in this area. Click here for more.