Intellectual Property and the Public Interest
Whitehouse Posts Comments Received on Public Access to Digital Data and Peer Reviewed Articles
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy recently issued two separate Requests for Information, to solicit comments about public access to the output of federally funded research – one regarding scholarly publications and one regarding digital data. It received 377 comments on access to publications and 118 on access to digital data, all of which are available for download on the OSTP website. The National Science and Technology Council will draw on the comments to coordinate policies on the dissemination of federally funded research, as required by the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010. Click here for more.
South African Activists Tell Government to Expand the Use of TRIPS Flexibilities to Increase Access to Medicines
Excerpt from blog by Brook Baker: The Treatment Action Campaign has issued a Briefing providing a great summary of the campaign to convince/force the South Africa government to adopt TRIPS-compliant flexibilities in its patent regime and thereafter to use them to increase access to medicines… This is an inspiring example of efforts, ten-years after the Doha Declaration to get developing countries to adopt the flexibilities that activists helped to win. Strict patent regimes, opportunities for patent oppositions, easy-to-use procedures for compulsory licenses all have an important role to play in countering the offensives of Big Pharma, the US and EU trade negotiators to gain broader, stronger, and longer patent and data monopolies and to push an enforcement and anti-counterfeiting agenda that chokes off the supply of low-cost medicines of assured quality. Click here for more.
European Opposition to ACTA Intensifies
Last week, Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk delayed ratification of ACTA, saying that “The issue of signing of the ACTA accord did not involve sufficient consultation with everyone who is part of the process. The ACTA ratification process will be frozen as long as we haven’t overcome all the doubts… We can’t rule out that, at the end of the day, this accord will not be approved.” Slovenia’s Ambassador to Japan released a public apology for signing ACTA and urging people to protest the agreement. Over 1.75 million people have signed a petition on avaaz.org urging EU Members not to ratify ACTA. The FFII filed a complaint against the European Parliament for wrongfully claiming that documents describing committee meetings did not exist. Click here for more.
EC Commissioner for Trade Asks European Parliamentarians to Disregard Public Criticism of ACTA
On January 30, EC Commissioner for Trade Karl De Gucht wrote members of the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade, claiming the opposition was “based on misinformation, or possibly even worse, on willful misinterpretation of the content of the agreement” and asking them to disregard it: “ACTA opponents are trying to press Members of the Parliament to take a position now against it before your Committee and the Parliament has had a chance to debate it and take a considered view of its merits. This is not the time to jump precipitously to a conclusion simply on the basis on the number of emails received or in response to organized attacks to websites, such as your own, notwithstanding the amount of media attention such action attracts.” Click here for more.
Sharing: Culture and the Economy in the Internet Age Focuses on the Benefits of Non-Market Sharing of Digital Content
Amsterdam University Press has published Sharing: Culture and the Economy in the Internet Age, by Philippe Aigrain – CEO of the Society for Public Information Spaces and one of the founders of La Quadrature du Net. It is available in print or for free download on a site that also lets you access the source code and datasets for economic models used in the book. An excerpt from the publisher’s description: “An in-depth exploration of digital culture and its dissemination, Sharing offers a counterpoint to the dominant view that file sharing is piracy. Instead, Philippe Aigrain looks at the benefits of file sharing, which allows unknown writers and artists to be appreciated more easily. Concentrating not only on the cultural enrichment caused by widely shared digital media, Sharing also discusses new financing models that would allow works to be shared freely by individuals without aim at profit. Aigrain carefully balances the needs to support and reward creative activity with a suitable respect for the cultural common good and proposes a new interpretation of the digital landscape.” For more, see sharing-thebook.com.
Comments to USTR for Special 301 Report Due Friday
USTR is currently accepting comments for the 2012 Special 301 Report, its annual report which identifies countries that “deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights or deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. persons who rely on intellectual property protection.” It is also accepting requests to testify at a February 23 open hearing included as part of the Special 301 review. Any individual or interested party may submit written comments, testify at the hearing, or both. The deadline for submission of written comments and/or requests to testify is Friday, February 10. (Representatives of foreign governments may submit comments until February 17). Click here for the federal register notice with instructions for submitting comments.
Public Knowledge Petition Asks USTR to End “Blind Reliance” on Rightholder Assertions in Special 301 Reviews
Public Knowledge is circulating a petition to the U.S. Trade Representative regarding its Special 301 Report – in which it blacklists countries for allegedly inadequate protection of intellectual property. The petition reads: “The Special 301 Report has turned into an exercise that arm-twists countries into instituting laws and policies that serve the interests of Big Content, even where these policies hurt the free expression and due process rights of citizens. A blind reliance on rights holder assertions about the presence, nature, and extent of copyright, patent, and trademark infringements, makes this process even more oblivious to the public interest. We, the undersigned, petition the USTR to put industry special interest claims under closer scrutiny. We also urge the USTR to stop designing unbalanced laws in foreign countries at the behest of big content.” Click here for more background info | Click here to sign.
Paramount Pictures Planning Outreach to University Students on SOPA
Paramount’s Vice President for Worldwide Content Protection & Outreach has sent letters to university professors regarding the SOPA/PIPA backlash, asking if the company can give presentations and hold the discussions at their schools. Excerpt: “our goal would be to exchange ideas about content theft, its challenges and possible ways to address it. We obviously think about these issues deeply on a daily basis. But, as these last few weeks made painfully clear, we still have much to learn.” Click here for the full letter.
January 30 TPP Briefing: Presentations, Background Materials, and Webcast
Speakers’ presentations and/or background materials from last week’s Trans Pacific Partnership briefing co-sponsored by PIJIP and KEI have been posted on infojustice.org. A webcast of the event is also available. The first panel, “Copyright and the Internet” featured Krista Cox (Knowledge Ecology International), Jonathan Band (IP attorney whose clients include the Computer & Communications Industry Association), Matt Zimmerman (Electronic Frontier Foundation), and David Fewer (Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, University of Ottawa). The second panel, “Access to Medicines and Development” featured Judit Rius (Médecins Sans Frontières), Peter Maybarduk (Public Citizen), Matt Kavanagh (Health Global Access Project), and Ellen Shaffer (Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health). Click here for more.