Intellectual Property and the Public Interest
Stop Online Piracy Act Markup to Continue Wednesday; Committee Members Seek Input from Security Experts
Last week, the House Judiciary Committee held a markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) to debate over 55 amendments to the legislation. Some Members (especially Reps Chaffetz, Lofgren, Polis, and Issa) warned that SOPA’s provisions requiring internet service providers to block access to websites would undermine the functioning of the internet and increase security risks. They cited warnings from experts including Stewart Baker, Vint Cerf, and a letter from 83 engineers who each had a role in the creation of the internet. Other Members, including Reps. Watt and Berman, seemed hostile to the idea that blocking websites would lead to security problems. The markup will continue on Wednesday, December 21. Click here for more.
How the Indian Government Censors the Internet Without Being Seen
Pranesh Prakash describes how the Indian government is trying to quietly censor the Internet. His article shows how the government has been able to censor online content through the Information Technology Act, the Intermediary Guidelines Rules it passed in April 2011. The government is now pursuing methods of censorship that leave even fewer traces; thus Kapil Sibal talks of Internet ‘self-regulation’, and the government has brought about an amendment of the Copyright Act that requires instant removal of content. Click here for more.
Mexican IP Enforcement Legislation Includes New Fines and Warrentless Searches
Geraldine Juarez reports that Senador Francisco Doring has introduced a bill empowering the Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial (IMPI) to send notifications to users based on allegations of infringement from rightholders. After the third notice, IMPI can pursue any allegation, and can ask internet service providers to provide the alleged infringers’ identification data based on their IP address. The bill allows for fines equaling 30 days’ minimum wage, and includes criminal penalties for “making available protected works.” Last week, another IP enforcement bill was fast-tracked and approved, which gives IMPI powers to search houses and businesses with a without a search warrant (provided that notification is given). Click here for more.
Assistant USTR Questioned at TPP Hearing About the U.S.’s Move Away from the May 10 Agreement on Intellectual Property
On December 14, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, at which Assistant USTR Demetrios Marantis testified on intellectual property and access to medicines. When Rep. McDermott questioned him about USTR’s move away from the “May 10” 2007 policy compromise, he answered that USTR is trying “to create increased legal certainty and predictability for generics as well as innovative producers so that they get into the market in the developing world as quickly as possible” Click here for more.
Peruvian Trade Minister Rejects U.S. IPR Proposal In Trans Pacific Partnership
Inside U.S. Trade reports that Peruvian Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism Jose Luis Silva has rejected the U.S. proposal for intellectual property, saying “Peru does not want to go farther than what it has agreed in the area of intellectual property in the free trade agreement with the United States… the United States is making a proposal to favor its companies, and the rest of the countries have the right to say ‘no’ because it harms the interests of their citizens.” He claims that the Peruvian position involves greater protection of traditional knowledge and genetic resources, and that most of the other countries negotiating the TPP are closer the Peruvian position than the American one. Click here for the full story on insideustrade.com.
European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs To Discuss ACTA Tomorrow
Today, the European Parliament’s Legal Service released its opinion on ACTA to the public. Tommorow, the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs will discuss ACTA. The hearing will be streamed live. In advance of the hearing, the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure has written the Committee, arguing that ACTA will “undermine access to generic medicines,” and that it contains “draconian” measures against media piracy including “damages [that] go beyond current EU law, which is based on actual loss suffered, including lost profits.” Click here for more.
Consistency of Korea-US Free Trade Agreement Copyright Provisions
As Korea prepares to implement the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), an infojustice blog by Sean Flynn points out three areas where KORUS clashes with U.S. copyright law. First, KORUS extends copyright protection “all reproductions of their works, performances, and phonograms, in any manner or form, permanent or temporary (including temporary storage in electronic form)” – but US law does not prohibit reproduction “in any form.” It rather prohibits reproduction of the “copyrighted works in copies or phonorecords.” Second, the KORUS requirement to provide criminal penalties for counterfeit labels is broader than existing U.S. law. Finally, there are inconsistencies between the KORUS anti-circumvention requirements and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Click here for more.
- Dec 20 – European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs Hearing on ACTA
- Dec 21 – U.S. House Judiciary Markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act
- Jan 13 – Deadline for submitting comments to USTR on Japan, Mexico and Canada joining the Trans Pacific Partnership