Intellectual Property and the Public Interest
Civil Society Writes WIPO, Expresses Concerns with IP Enforcement Work
45 civil society groups have written WIPO Director General Francis Gurry regarding the international IP enforcement agenda. They ask that “WIPO urgently make publicly available all information (e.g. participants and speakers’ list, presentations, list of documents distributed, outcome of the meetings), with regard to WIPO’s activities in the area of IP enforcement. Where information is protected due to its confidential nature, this should be mentioned explicitly; WIPO review its partnership with industry related stakeholders and take measures to ensure that its enforcement activities are evidence based, objective, free conflicts of interests and undue influence of the industry related stakeholders; WIPO ensures that all its enforcement activities take a balanced approach, do not undermine existing flexibilities; comprehensively addresses development and public interests considerations and takes into account the socio economic realities of countries; [and] WIPO cease to push for IP enforcement on the grounds that it protects public health and safety.” Click here for the full letter.
Controversy Over Brazilian Copyright Reform
A leaked text of copyright reform legislation in Brazil – rumored to be the final text – has generated controversy in the press. Folha de São Paulo published an op-ed arguing that changes to the text greatly benefit ECAD, the central collecting society that has a statutory monopoly on the collection and distribution of music-related royalties in Brazil, and which has ties to Minister of Culture Ana de Hollanda. O Globo has printed a more cautious but positive piece stressing that the text deviates only slightly from earlier versions that were drafted through a public consultation process supervised by former Minsters. Meanwhile, FGV’s Center for Technology and Society has published a book, directed at lawmakers, that compares the two published versions of the bill, highlighting the most important changes and opportunities for more balanced copyright legislation. Click here for more, and a link to the FGV book.
WIPO Completes 23rd SCCR with Movement on Treaties for the Visually Impaired and Libraries & Archives
WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) announced that it will consider input from library groups and delegations to the meeting – and accept further comments from members until February 29 – and produce a “Provisional Working Document” (SCCR/23/8) on limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives. A joint press release from seven associations representing libraries and archivists said they “welcome the significant progress made by WIPO Member states.” The Committee has also adopted a “Working document on an international instrument on limitations and exceptions for visually impaired persons/persons with disabilities” (SCCR/23/7) which will serve as a draft text for further negotiations. Click here for more.
Ten Members of Congress Drafting Piracy Legislation to Offer Alternative to SOPA
Senators Cantwell, Moran, Warner and Wyden, and Representatives Chaffetz, Campbell, Doggett, Eshoo and Lofgren have released a discussion document summarizing IP legislation they are currently drafting as an alternative to the Stop Online Piracy Act. The legislation would allow IP owners to petition the International Trade Commission to issue cease-and-desist orders against foreign websites that are “primarily” and “willfully” engaged in copyright infringement or “willfully enabling imports of counterfeit merchandise.” A cease and desist order would compel financial intermediaries and advertisers to cease providing services to the foreign websites. Click here for more.
MPEE Authors Question Link Between Piracy and Organized Crime In Response to U.S. Public Relations Campaign
Last week U.S. Attorney General Holder unveiled a new public relations campaign by the U.S. government to “educate the public on various forms of intellectual property theft… [and] highlight the potential health, safety and economic consequences for American citizens.” The plan includes a television ad created in partnership with MTV referring to the link between piracy and organized crime, which content owners have stressed but other observers have warned lacks empirical evidence. In response, Joe Karaganis posted a blog highlighting excerpts from his report Media Piracy and Emerging Economies that examine the link between piracy and organized crime. Click here for Karaganis’ blog.
FBI Press Release: Federal Courts Order Seizure of 150 Website Domains Involved in Selling Counterfeit Goods as Part of DOJ, ICE-HSI, and FBI Cyber Monday Crackdown
“Seizure orders have been executed against 150 domain names of commercial websites engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and copyrighted works as part of Operation In Our Sites, the Department of Justice, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the ICE-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), and the FBI Washington Field Office announced today… This operation is the eighth phase of Operation In Our Sites, a sustained law enforcement initiative to protect consumers by targeting counterfeit and piracy on the Internet. This is the second year that a phase of Operation In Our Sites has coincided with Cyber Monday. In November 2010, 82 websites were seized during the Cyber Monday-related operation. Since the operation’s June 2010 launch, the IPR Center has seized a total of 350 domain names, and the seizure banner has received more than 77 million individual views.” Click here for the full FBI press release.
- Dec 5-9 – WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents
- Dec 7 – What’s Wrong with SOPA? Stanford University (event will be webcast).