Feb 132017

[Natalia Mileszyk, Communia Association, Link (CC-0)] The Rapporteur Marc Joulaud of the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) recognises the problem with proposed article 11 regarding protection of press publications concerning digital uses – it can threaten hyperlinking and various ways users use content online. In Communia’s opinion the Commission’s proposal to introduce a right for press publishers is poorly aligned to the objective of modernising the EU copyright framework and adapting it to the challenges of a fast-evolving digital environment. In the light of the above we believe that the only solution is to remove the whole idea from the directive. This is not the approach shared by CULT – instead 3 problematic changes were proposed: Continue reading »

Feb 062017

Twenty trade associations have written the House and Senate leadership urging Congressional engagement on the trade relationship between the U.S. and India. Their letter identifies intellectual property protection as an “ongoing challenge.” It highlights diplomatic structures where the countries have discussed IP and other issues, then notes that “WTO dispute settlement has played and should continue to play a key role in ensuring that India follows through on its international commitments.” Continue reading »

Jan 272017

Authors: Christopher Buccafusco and Jonathan S. Masur

Abstract: The U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power “to Promote the Progress of Science and the Useful Arts” by granting copyrights and patents to authors and inventors. Most courts and scholars understand this language to entail a utilitarian or consequentialist approach to intellectual property (IP) law. Unlike IP systems in other parts of the world, U.S. IP law generally eschews so-called “moral” or deontological considerations such as justice and fairness. Yet while there is considerable consensus regarding U.S. IP law’s philosophical orientation, there has been little discussion of its deeper normative goals. Most courts and scholars agree with the idea that IP law should provide incentives to creators, but there has been almost no analysis of why creativity and innovation are good. What, exactly, are the interests that IP law should promote? Continue reading »

Jan 232017

[Joint press release from six civil society groups, Link] The six candidates for Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) – of whom one will be elected this May – have published responses to an open letter asking them to make clear their plans for the future of the WHO’s work in promoting a new system of equitable drug R&D. The original open letter was signed by 18 civil society organizations, and titled “Will you support a patient-centred R&D agreement?“. The WHO Executive Board convenes today to begin 9 days of meetings during which the candidates will be interviewed, and up to 3 of the 6 shortlisted for a final vote in May 2017.

The candidates recognised that urgent problems exist in the current system of drug R&D. Dr Douste-Blazy (France) wrote that “past failures to invest in research and development are killing millions today”. Dr Nishtar (Pakistan) recognised “the failure of market mechanisms to incentivise innovation” and asserted that the “WHO already has a strong mandate for action”. Dr Bustreo (Italy) noted that “high prices of health technologies and lagging innovation […] impede people’s access to quality health care”. Continue reading »

Jan 112017

The U.S. Trade Representative has requested comments for the 2017 Special 301 Report, in which it lists countries that it alleges “deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) or deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. persons who rely on intellectual property protection.” The content is based on written comments (mostly those submitted IP owners and business associations), testimony at a hearing, and on consultations with other governmental departments.

Any interested party may submit comments, and any interested party may testify at the open hearing.  The deadline for submissions and requests to testify is February 9; the hearing is February 28; and the Special 301 Report will be released “On or about April 30.”  See the Federal Register notice for further details and submission instructions.

Click here for the full Federal Register Notice.

Dec 222016

The Australian Government Productivity Commission has released its final report on ‘Intellectual Property Arrangements,’ which recommends a number of reforms to IP law, including changes to the law on patents, copyrights and enforcement.

Regarding copyright and related rights, the Australian Government Productivity Commission warns that the scope of works eligible protection is too broad and the term of protection is too long, forcing copyright users face higher costs. It recommends clarifying the law on geoblocking and allowing parallel trade in books in order to expand access to works. The report recommends “Introducing a system of user rights, including the (well-established) principles–based fair use exception.”  Continue reading »

Nov 282016

wto-logoLast week, the government of Antigua and Barbuda announced to the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) that it will move forward with the “suspension of copyright on the sale of U.S. intellectual property” by the end of the year if the U.S. does not comply with the DSB’s findings in the long-running dispute regarding online gambling.

Twelve years ago, the DSB found that the United States violates the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services by discriminating against foreign providers of online gambling services. It found that various federal and state level laws forbade Antiguan firms from offering online gambling services comparable to services offered by domestic firms. The DSB ordered the United States to pay $21 million in annual compensation to Antigua and Barbuda until its laws were brought into compliance with GATS. Furthermore, it permitted cross-sector retaliation by Antigua and Barbuda in the event that the United States did not comply with the DSB’s findings.  Continue reading »

Nov 212016

apecMuch of the news covering last week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation  (APEC) conference discussed the TPP, RCEP and FTAAP, but there was also work to establish new intellectual property norms.

The main outcomes reported by the Chair include an agreement among the trade Ministers “to foster cooperation in intellectual property (IP) rights protection and enforcement, and raise SMEs awareness of IP commercialization. They encouraged the completion of the APEC Best Practices in Trade Secrets Protection and Enforcement on the basis of consensus at the earliest possible time.” Continue reading »

Nov 102016

Photo: Adrian (CC-BY)Yesterday, the American University economics department hosted a presentation by Joan Calzada of his working paper with Richard Gil, What Do News Aggregators Do? Evidence from Google News in Spain and Germany.  The paper studies the role of news aggregation, in which snippets from copyrighted news stories are reproduced on an aggregator’s website, which then provides a link to each full story on the copyright-holding newspapers’ own websites.  Calzada and Gils analyzed web traffic data for newspapers’ websites in Spain before and after Google News dropped out of the country following the imposition of a link fee. Continue reading »

Oct 252016

cc2Timothy Vollmer, Creative Commons, Link (CC-BY)

It’s Open Access Week 2016. Open Access Week is an annual week-long event that highlights the importance of sharing scientific and scholarly research and data. Its goal is to educate people on the benefits of open publishing, advocate for changes to policy and practice, and build a community to collaborate on these issues. This year’s theme is open in action. Today we are exploring open access policy within philanthropy by interviewing Robert Kiley from the Wellcome Trust. From brokering the Bermuda Principles for immediate sharing of DNA sequence data in 1996 to being the first funder to mandate open access to our funded publication in 2005, Wellcome has been at the forefront of open research for over two decades. Continue reading »

Oct 172016

pills - cc hitthatswitchIndia is often called the “pharmacy of the developing world” because its pharmaceutical firms provide a large portion of the generic drugs consumed in the South. However, Northern countries are increasingly importing Indian drugs as well, as high prices have led to greater generic uptake.

As an example, the United States has greatly expanded the amount of medicines it buys from India. Continue reading »

Oct 132016

copyright office seal 140pxThe U.S. Copyright Office is requesting comments on Section 1201 of Title 17, which governs the circumvention of copyright protection systems.  The deadline for submitting comments is October 27.  There has been a previous round of comments associated with this study, and earlier comments are available here.

The Copyright Office’s federal register notice includes three specific areas of inquiry (though interested parties may address “any other pertinent issues” related to Section 1201).   Continue reading »