Infojustice Roundup – January 30

Intellectual Property and the Public Interest

Public Interest Organizations Address Negotiation of Trans Pacific Partnershp in Los Angeles

This week, Trans Pacific Partnership negotiators are holding a closed-door “mini-ministerial” on intellectual property in Los Angeles.  This morning, civil society groups held a briefing at the University of Southern California to describe the impact of US-proposed IP provisions in the agreement.  The first panel examined copyright provisions and their effect on internet, consumers, and innovative technology companies, featuring speakers from EFF, Knowledge Ecology International, the University of Ottawa and the tech industry.  The second panel examined their impact on access to medicine and economic development, with speakers from MSF, Public Citizen, Health GAP and CPATH.  To view the webcast and to download the speakers’ presentations, click here.

SOPA and Its Implications for the Trans Pacific Partnership

By Jonathan Band: The controversy in the United States over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has profound implications for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. The SOPA debate underscores the importance of striking the proper balance in intellectual property laws to promote creativity and innovation. It demonstrates that over-protection can stifle free expression and the effective operation of the Internet as a medium of communication and commerce, not only within a jurisdiction, but also extraterritorially. Additionally, the debate reveals the ability of the Internet community to mobilize quickly to defeat policies that it believes threaten its existence. TPP negotiators should understand the SOPA experience to avoid repeating its mistakes. Click here for more.

EU Signs the Anticounterfeiting Trade Agreement Amid Protests and Growing International Opposition

The European Union signed the Anticounterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on January 26. ACTA will require ratification by the EU Parliament to take effect, and the Parliament will debate it in June – ratification is not guaranteed.  Last week, EU Rapporteur for ACTA Kader Arif resigned in protest over the signing. He released a statement saying “I condemn the whole process which led to the signature of this agreement: no consultation of the civil society, lack of transparency since the beginning of negotiations, repeated delays of the signature of the text without any explanation given, reject of Parliament’s recommendations as given in several resolutions of our assembly.”  In Poland and France, thousands of people in multiple cities attended street protests against ACTA.  In the U.S., Representative Darrell Issa called ACTA “more dangerous than SOPA,” and Harvard Professor Yochai Benkler suggested that “we need a law that would prohibit secret negotiation of IP-related provisions in international agreements.” Click here for more.

PIJIP Working Paper – Settlement of India/EU WTO Dispute re Seizures of In-Transit Medicines: Why the Proposed EU Border Regulation Isn’t Good Enough

AUTHOR: Brook Baker.  ABSTRACT: European Customs officials have used fictive patent rights to justify the seizure of lawful generic medicines produced in India and destined for non-European markets. Following a public outcry and initiation of two WTO complaints, the EU has proposed amendments to Border Regulations Measure 1383/2003. The Proposed Border Regulation, in its current form, will not adequately resolve the risk of interception in Europe of medicines lawfully manufactured and exported from India and destined for lawful import and consumption in a non-EU country. Click here for more.

Kenyan Counterfeiting Bill Challenged

On January 24, petitioners challenging the constitutionality of Kenya’s anticounterfeiting law presented their case before the High Court.  According to Health Action International, the petitioners argued that “the Kenyan law should be declared unconstitutional on the grounds that it infringes on their right to health by giving a broad definition and interpretation on what constitutes counterfeit medicines in a manner that affects access to more affordable generic medicines.”  The court is expected to issue a verdict on March 9.  Click here for more.

Association of Research Libraries Releases Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has released a “clear and easy-to-use statement of fair and reasonable approaches to fair use developed by and for librarians who support academic inquiry and higher education. The Code … deals with such common questions in higher education as:

When and how much copyrighted material can be digitized for student use? And should video be treated the same way as print? How can libraries’ special collections be made available online? Can libraries archive websites for the use of future students and scholars.” Click here for more.