Intellectual Property and the Public Interest
News from the TPP Negotiations in Melbourne
The eleventh round of Trans Pacific Partnership Negotiations is being held from March 1-9 in Melbourne, Australia. Infojustice has posted the following related blogs:
- An Australian View of the U.S. Proposals for ISP Provisions in the TPP
- TPP Negotiators Turn to Pharmaceutical Reimbursement
- Tech Groups Propose Changes to TPP to Promote Internet Freedom
- Learning From ACTA: Toward a Positive Agenda for TPP
- Notes from Internet Stakeholder Briefing @ TPP Melbourne
- Shhhh. The TPP Is Secret.
Open Education Week
The OpenCourseWare Consortium has announced the first Open Education Week, from March 5 to 12, which aims “to raise awareness of the open education movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide. Participation in all events and use of all resources is free and open to anyone.” Openeducationweek.org states: “Open education is about sharing, reducing barriers and increasing access in education. It includes free and open access to platforms, tools and resources in education (such as learning materials, course materials, videos of lectures, assessment tools, research, study groups, textbooks, etc.). Open education seeks to create a world in which the desire to learn is fully met by the opportunity to do so, where everyone, everywhere is able to access affordable, educationally and culturally appropriate opportunities to gain whatever knowledge or training they desire.” For videos, the schedule of webinars, and other resources, visit openeducationweek.org.
Creative Commons, U.S. Department of Education, Open Society Institute Launch High Profile Video Competition to Highlight Potential of Free Educational Materials
[From Creative Commons] “Today Creative Commons, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Open Society Institute announce the launch of the Why Open Education Matters Video Competition. The competition will award cash prizes for the best short videos that explain the use and promise of free, high-quality Open Educational Resources—or ‘OER’—and describe the benefits and opportunities these materials create for teachers, students and schools.” Click here for the full press release.
Sen. Hatch Seeks Formal Intellectual Property Trade Dispute with Chile
Senator Hatch has asked the Obama Administration to initiate dispute settlement proceedings against Chile for violations of the intellectual property obligations in its free trade agreement with the U.S. In a February 16, letter he complained of “flagrant abuses” of the obligations and argued that “absent the threat of formal dispute settlement and potential sanctions, the Chilean government may lack the will and ability to adequately address the outstanding issues relating to intellectual property rights.” Click here for more.
European Parliament to Seek Further ECJ Guidance on ACTA; Receives Petition; Holds Public Hearing
On February 28, MEP and ACTA Rapporteur David Martin indicated he wants the European Parliament to refer ACTA to the European Court of Justice. He believes that “Parliament should prepare its own questions, rather than simply associating itself with the European Commission’s parallel referral of ACTA to the court.” The next day, the Parliament’s International Trade Committee (INTA) held its first exchange of views on ACTA, at which DeGucht argued that “Europe will not need to make any change to our current legislation in order to comply with ACTA.” Martin proposed that the Parliament conduct an “interim report” that would ask the Commission to address particular concerns: “Border agencies and their right to seize counterfeit goods at EU borders; Internet service providers and their responsibilities in enforcing ACTA; Criminal sanctions EU Member States will be required to impose to enforce ACTA.” On March 1, the INTA Committee held a public workshop where it received a petition signed by over 2.4 million people asking it to reject ACTA’s ratification, and where it heard from civil society actors. Click here for more.
FOIA Request for State Department “Circular 175″ Documents on ACTA
Last week, PIJIP staff submitted a Freedom of Information Act Request to the State Department for the Circular 175 memo, the accompanying Memorandum of Law, and subsequently related documents in connection to the negotiation and conclusion of ACTA. The Circular 175 procedure is the State Department’s method of verifying that pending treaties are a valid use of the US government’s treaty making power and that all US foreign policy is negotiated and concluded in a coordinated manner. Each Circular 175 is accompanied by a Memorandum of Law which “generally” includes the following: “A discussion and justification of the designation given to the proposed agreement (treaty vs. executive agreement); An explanation of the legal authority for negotiating and/or concluding the proposed agreement, including an analysis of the Constitutional powers relied upon as well as any pertinent legislation; An analysis of the issues surrounding the agreement’s implementation as a matter of domestic law (e.g., whether the agreement is self-executing, whether domestic implementing legislation or regulations will be necessary before or after the agreement’s execution).” Click here for more.
PIJIP Research Paper: “The SOPA-TPP Nexus”
Author: Jonathan Band. Abstract: 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.
PIJIP Research Paper: “Positive Proposals for Treatment of Online Intermediaries”
Author: Margot Kaminski. Abstract: In the past several years of free trade agreement negotiations, a number of proposals for establishing an international standard of liability for copyright infringement by online intermediaries have emerged. These proposals consistently lack consideration of their implications for Internet users. Building off a public stakeholder presentation given by the author at the ninth round of negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, held in Lima, Peru, this paper aims to identify both general principles and specific user-protecting provisions that should be considered when discussing proposals for intermediary liability. Click here for more.
PIJIP Research Paper: Canada and Israel – Cultivating the Fairness of Use
Author: Meera Nair. Abstract: Despite global trends to expand the ambit of copyright, Canada and Israel both show promise in cultivating the principal of fairness when exercising exceptions to copyright. Their journeys were led by their highest courts; each sought to shift the dialogue of exceptions from stringent allowance to robust application. Both countries began from the rigidity of fair dealing and considered expansion into the realm of fair use. This exploration is intriguing given that both countries show an uncanny similarity in terms of the manner by which their nation states came into being, their ensuing diversity of population, the mixture of common and civil law within their copyright regimes, their position in terms of the WIPO Internet Treaties (1996), and their relations vis-à-vis the United States. At the time of this writing, the two countries are set to diverge in law but not necessarily in practice. Click here for the paper.
Public Knowledge’s Internet Blueprint
Public Knowledge has launched internetblueprint.org – an interactive site that aims “to develop bills that will help make the internet a better place for everyone.” On the site, people can read existing proposals to “Strengthen the Public’s Fair Use Rights in Copyright; Shorten Copyright Terms; Reduce Copyright Abuse and Overreach; Permit Lawful Uses of Copyrighted Content; Ensure Openness in International IP Negotiations; Curb Abuses of Copyright Takedowns,” and to see which organizations, companies, and Members of Congress support these proposals. People can ask their Congressional Representatives to support these existing proposals, and can add additional proposals. Click here to go to internetblueprint.org.