Intellectual Property and the Public Interest
ACTA Signed by Eight Nations
On October 1, the Anticounterfeiting Trade Agreement was signed by Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United States. The signing statement issued at the ceremony called the agreement “a significant achievement in the fight against the infringement of intellectual property rights, in particular the proliferation of counterfeiting and piracy on a global scale, providing a mechanism for the parties to work together in a more collaborative manner to achieve the common goal of effective IPR enforcement.” USTR also released a fact sheet asserting that ACTA is consistent with U.S. law and does not require Congressional approval in the U.S. – assertions challenged by civil society. Click here for more.
Proposed Brazilian Law on Internet Rights Advances
A draft bill to establish a Civil Right’s Based Framework for the Internet in Brazil has reached the Congress. FGV’s Joana Varon notes that “the bill begins by advancing users’ rights and some general principles for the regulation of the Internet, before dealing with the issues of the preservation of connection logs, secondary liability for ISPs, and net neutrality, and then wraps with directives aimed at the public sector.” The bill was developed through a transparent, online consultation process developed by the Ministry of Justice in partnership with FGV’s Center for Democracy and Technology. Click here for more.
American Assembly Comment on European Audiovisual Policy
The American Assembly at Columbia University has submitted comments to the EU regarding “State Aid for Films and Other Audiovisual Works,” arguing that the EU should “Modernize how public funding agencies conceive their mission, with an emphasis on much wider and cheaper distribution of EU movies.” Specifically, AA recommends “Making public funding contingent on creative commons commercial use licensing of the work after an initial period of commercial release,” and giving filmmakers the right to opt out of the clause if they return public funds. Together, these changes are designed to “Dramatically increase the legal availability of European film in international markets … defuse the anxiety around piracy … Create a probably permanent competitive advantage over Hollywood in regard to international transaction and licensing costs … Provide an ex-post way out of the public funding of blockbusters … [and] Provide a clearer sense of the public funding mission in the digital era.” Click here for more.
Ecuador Calls for Diplomatic Conference on Treaty for the Visually Impaired
The Ecuadorian intervention at the annual meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization called for a diplomatic conference to be held next year to discuss the proposed treaty on limitations and exceptions for the visually impaired. The intervention notes that WIPO Members States are obliged to take all appropriate measures in accordance with international law to ensure that intellectual property laws do not become an unreasonable or discriminatory barrier to access to cultural materials for people with disabilities. Click here for the intervention, on KEI’s website.
Company Seeking $10-per-Infringement Settlements from Users
A company known as the Digital Rightscorp is monitoring file sharing sites for music companies, and attempting to collect small settlements from users. The firm sends emails to users identified by IP addresses, threatening them with fines of up to $150,000 and offering an “automated settlement” of $10 per alleged infringement that would give them a legal release from the copyright owner. In an interview with paidContent.org, the COO of Rightscorp says the company “never sues anyone.” Click here for the original report in paidContent.org.
Events and Deadlines
- September 26 -October 5 – WIPO Assembly of Member States
- October 5 – Golan v. Holder: Copyright, the Public Domain, and the First Amendment at the Supreme Court
- October 10 – WIPO Symposium on IP and Competition Policy
- October 26 – Deadline to submit comments to USTR for its out of cycle review of notorious markets
- November 18 – Intellectual Property Rights and the Global Civil Society Reform Project: What’s Next? London School of Economics and Political Science
- November 19-20 – Socially Responsible Licensing: Achieving Social Equity through Voluntary Licensing. Hosted by Boston University and Warwick University.