Infojustice Roundup 

Intellectual Property and the Public Interest

SOPA and PIPA Derailed by Popular Objection; Opponents Point to ACTA

Support for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) collapsed last week in the face of massive public outcry and a January 18 internet blackout.  Over seven million people signed Google’s petition against the legislation, and Capitol Hill offices received a huge volume of calls and emails from citizens. Senate Majority Leader Reid postponed a vote on PIPA, prompting a cool response from Sen. Leahy, who sponsored the bill. In the House, Rep. Smith postponed action on SOPA “until there is wider agreement on a solution” to online piracy. Writers and activists have pointed out that the Anticounterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) would require member nations to engage in the same type of tough IP Enforcement measures. Click here for more.

Towards an Internet Free of Censorship Addresses Human Rights Aspects of IP Enforcement Legislation from a Latin American Perspective

The Center for Research on Free Speech and Access to Knowledge has published Towards An Internet Free of Censorship, which examines legislation around the world.  The chapter “Towards and Internet Free of Censorship” argues that the takedown provisions in SOPA and PIPA violate international human rights norms, as viewed from a Latin American perspective.  Says Joana Varon: “The right of every citizen to seek, receive and share information is protected both in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). As regards Latin American countries specifically, the American Convention on Human Rights lays down rules on censorship in Article 13. Similarly, the Tunis Agenda also recognizes these rights within the Information Society. However, despite the fact that freedom of expression depends on the free flow of information, there is a tendency for national and regional laws to intervene in the end-to-end architecture of the Internet, prevent the free flow of information and thus undermine the rights of every citizen to freedom of expression and privacy.”  Click here for more.

PIJIP Working Paper – An Examination of How ACTA Impacts the Creation of a Moroccan Orphan Works Regime

AUTHOR: Carolyn B. Ncube.  ABSTRACT:  This paper briefly examines the current regime of copyright law in Morocco and seeks to examine the status of orphan works in Morocco, in lieu its membership as the sole African country in the recently signed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).  The paper concludes that Morocco can, and ought to, enact exceptions and limitations that facilitate meaningful access to orphan works in both analogue and digital formats. Click here for the paper.

European Parliament Committee on Development to Debate ACTA

On Tuesday, January 24, the EP Committee on Development will hold an “exchange of views” on ACTA.  The Foundation for a Free Internet Infrastructure has written the committee highlighting a number of its concerns that relate to economic development.  Its letter notes that ACTA’s requirements exceed those of TRIPS and the EU Acquis, and concludes that “ACTA will negatively impact innovation, competition, development, fair trade, startup companies, mass digitization projects, access to medicines, and Internet governance.  ACTA threatens the rule of law and fundamental rights. These negative consequences will impact the EU as well.”  Click here for the FFII blog and letter.


Bayer Asked to Disclose R&D Spending for Anticancer Drug in Compulsory License Hearing

The Indian pharmaceutical company Natco has applied for a compulsory license for sorafenib, an anticancer drug sold by Bayer under the brand name Nexavar. The price charged in India by Bayer is Rs 280,428 per month (USD 5,600), a price unaffordable to 99% of Indians in need of the medicine, so few people receive it.  In a recent hearing at the Patent Office, Bayer argued that it could not sell the drug at a lower price because in needed to recoup research and development costs. Bayer was then asked to disclose the amount of money it spent on R&D for the drug. Pharmaceutical companies have been reluctant in the past to disclose the R&D costs for specific medicines.  Click here for more.

Next Round of Trans Pacific Partnership Negotiations To Be Held in Australia In March

USTR has announced that the eleventh round of TPP negotiations will be held in Melbourne, Australia, from March 1-9.   Stakeholder events include a forum with negotiators on the 4th, a reception on the 6th, and a briefing by Chief Negotiators on the 7th.  Stakeholders wishing to attend the events must register in advance, and those wishing to present at the forum must provide a “short expression of interest.” Click here for more.