Infojustice Roundup

Intellectual Property and the Public Interest

ACTA Opposition from Thousands of Protestors, European Parliament President, German Justice Minister, and Amnesty International

Last weekend, thousands of protestors in multiple cities demonstrated against ACTA.  Shortly after, the President of the European Parliament called the agreement “not good in its current form” and noted that it does an inadequate job of protecting the rights of internet users. Germany postponed its signing of the agreement, and Amnesty International said in a statement that “the EU should reject ACTA in its current form – implementing the agreement could open a Pandora’s Box of potential human rights violations.” Click here for more.

Special 301 Comments Online; Industry Highlights Intellectual Property in TPP Countries

Comments received by the U.S. Trade Representative for the 2012 Special 301 Report have been posted online at  Comments from industry groups nominate countries for inclusion in USTR’s annual Special 301 Report, which identifies countries that “deny adequate or effective protection of intellectual property or deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. persons who rely on intellectual property protection.” This year, USTR received 41 comments, including 28 from businesses, trade organizations, or coalitions representing IP owners. All of the countries negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership except for Singapore were recommended for inclusion in the Special 301 Report by IIPA, PhRMA, or both.  IIPA recommended that USTR “actively monitor” and “heighten its bilateral engagement with” Singapore regarding online piracy. Click here for more.

Rep. Doyle Introduces the Federal Research Public Access Act

On February 9, Representative Mike Doyle introduced H.R. 4004 – the Federal Research Public Access Act. It would require Federal Agencies to collect digital copies of peer-reviewed journal articles that result from research supported by their grants, to create a stable digital repository containing the articles, to make them publicly accessible online, and to produce an online bibliography containing hyperlinks to all the publicly accessible papers. In the Senate, companion legislation is being introduced by Sens. Cornyn, Wyden and Hutchison.  Click here for more.

100 Civil Society Groups Write WIPO Opposing IP-Maximalist “Africa IP Forum”

100 civil society groups and academics have asked the World Intellectual Property Organization to postpone an upcoming Africa IP Forum it is co-organizing with IP-owning firms, their trade associations, and developed country governments.  The letter warns that the agenda advanced by the sponsors will not benefit development in Africa – rather it will lead to strong IP policies that block access to medicines, access to knowledge, and freedom of expression on the internet. Click here for more.

Health Advocates Warn that the EU-India FTA Talks Threaten World Supplies of Indian Generics

Trade officials from the EU and India met last week to continue negotiations of a free trade agreement, which they hope to complete by the end of the year.  The European Union is seeking to include TRIPS-Plus patent and data exclusivity provisions that block access to generic medicines.  This has alarmed Indian and global health activists because Indian generic firms supply medicines to a majority of people in the developing world, for whom prices charged by branded firms are out of reach.  Click here for more.

Enough, Already: The SOPA Debate Ignores How Much Copyright Protection We Already Have

[by Margot Kaminski]  In the past weeks, Americans have been realizing that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) might not have been the Great War, but a short battle in hostilities of grander proportions. This is not the first time copyright policy-making has lacked balance, lost its sense of proportion, or threatened civil liberties. It’s just the first time the Internet has won.  Two things are missing from the current conversation. First, the recent debate all but ignores the broad arsenal of responses to copyright infringement already available to rights-holders, without SOPA. Second, the public has not been informed on how America’s free trade negotiations have been used to circumvent the democratic process, accomplishing much of what SOPA was meant to do. Click here for more.