The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has opened a consultation on a proposal to extend the penalties for online copyright infringement to ten years imprisonment. Currently, the maximum prison term is two years. The consultation paper notes that the penalty for theft of physical goods is ten years, and argues that there is a strong case for “harmonizing” the two penalties:
Inside U.S. Trade reports that USTR has “effectively wrapped up” negotiations with Vietnam and Singapore and “will seek to bring TPP ‘to some kind of a conclusion’ when ministers meet later this month in Hawaii.” Froman has delivered an “ultimatum” to Malaysia.
Reps. Schakowsky and DeLauro joined MSF, AARP and others at a press briefing on IP and Access to Medicines. Rep. Schakowsky told the press that “What is clear is that it is U.S. negotiators who are pushing to tilt the balance between intellectual property rights and public health even more toward the brand-name drug companies.”
This post presents data comparing branded antiretroviral medicine prices in countries which have entered into free trade agreements with the U.S. containing TRIPS-Plus intellectual property obligations, to the prices for the same drugs in other countries. According to publicly available data from the World Health Organization’s Global Price Reporting Mechanism (GPRM), prices of branded antiretrovirals negotiated by large institutional purchasers (like UNITAID and the Clinton Foundation) were more than twice as high between 2004 and 2014 when the sale took place in countries with U.S. FTAs. If one controls for per capita income, inclusion in international HIV/AIDS treatment guidelines, and the year of purchase, the average difference between the negotiated price of branded drugs in countries with and without FTAs in force is 57%. The price differences vary greatly by drug.
[Electronic Information for Libraries, Link, (CC-BY)] Once again, the European Union (EU) has blocked progress at the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright & Related Rights (SCCR) that met in Geneva from 29 June-3 July 2015. And this time, the EU is more isolated.
The Committee is discussing copyright laws that would aid libraries and archives in fulfilling their missions in a global, digital environment. EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries) and representatives of international library and archive organizations, observed the European Union refuse to engage in meaningful discussions that would enable an effective global information infrastructure for access to knowledge.
Inside U.S. Trade reports that Trade Ministers have scheduled Trans Pacific Partnership Ministerial for the end of July in Hawaii. Chief negotiators will meet prior to the Ministerial to try to iron out remaining areas of disagreement.
Jiji press reports that there are six unresolved areas where “negotiations are not proceeding smoothly.” Data exclusivity for biologics is one such area. The story quotes a Japanese negotiator saying “Unless Washington shortens the requested protection period, there is little chance of an agreement.”
Earlier this month, Senator Jeff Sessions wrote President Obama to ask him to make a section of the Trans Pacific Partnership public – the section that creates a “new transnational governance structure known as the Trans Pacific Partnership Commission” which would “have the authority to amend the agreement after its adoption, to add new members, and to issue regulations impacting labor, immigration, environmental and commercial policy.”
The senator was frustrated by the secrecy surrounding the text. To read it, he had to visit the secret reading room in the basement of the Capitol Visitors center where legislators can read the text, while being watched by security guards. He is unable to discuss anything he has read with advisers, staffers, or the people he represents.
Though the recently scheduled Ministerial meeting was postponed – reflecting other countries’ frustration with the United States’ inability to win Congressional passage of Fast Track trade negotiating authority – the intellectual property negotiators have been attempting to finalize as much text as possible.
The Japan Times reports that the intellectual property chapter appears “likely to be the last hurdle to concluding the talks.” Remaining issues that are under debate include copyright term, geographical indications, and data exclusivity (a time period during which generic firms cannot win approval of their products based on clinical data previously disclosed by branded firms).
This post presents preliminary data showing that firms in industries sensitive to copyright can succeed in countries other than the U.S. when copyright limitations include fair use. It is an early product of an interdisciplinary project at American University, in which legal researchers are working with economics professor Walter Park to study how country’s copyright exceptions effect economic outcomes. The project has been undertaken as part of American University’s larger role coordinating the Global Network on Copyright User Rights. The research supports and expands on other recent research attempting to measure the value of fair use abroad.
Trade Promotion Authority legislation was introduced in the House and Senate today. The full text is available here.
Trade Promotion Authority lets Congress set trade negotiating objectives for the executive branch, and in return, the legislature agrees that it will not amend any deal reached by trade negotiators. As Public Citizen notes in its press release, this “circumvent[s] ordinary congressional review, amendment and debate procedures” in order to rush the final acceptance legislation.
Inside U.S. Trade reports that an American trade official, in a closed-door breifing with business representatives, “said TPP countries have closed virtually all text issues except IP,” but that there are also remaining market access issues related to investment, state-owned enterprises (SOEs), environment and government procurement. The story also notes that countries (especially Canada) are reluctant to table final positions on outstanding issues until Trade Promotion Authority legislation advances in the U.S. Congress.
Last week, the Lisbon Council and Innovation Economics published The 2015 Intellectual Property and Economic Growth Index: Measuring the Impact of Exceptions and Limitations in Copyright on Growth, Jobs and Prosperity. The report by Benjamin Gibert examines limitations and exceptions to copyright in eight OECD countries, and then describes economic growth at the overall and industry level in those countries.
The key findings: “countries that employ a broadly ‘flexible’ regime of exceptions in copyright” have higher rates of growth of their overall economy, information technology & service sectors, and even traditional media sectors. Workers in these economies also fared better, enjoying higher wages overall, in the communications sector, and technology sector.
Mexico’s PRI has introduced legislation, dubbed “Ley SOPITA” by some observers, that aims to “stop or prevent, in the digital environment, the commission infringements of intellectual property rights.” It would give the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property the ability to inspect business, collect data, and make interim orders that aim to stop infringement.
A news story in El Economista quotes the Red Collective in Defense of Digital Rights R3DMX: “The Parliamentary Group of the PRI in the House of Representatives intends … to empower the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI ) to order censorship of content, and even entire Internet sites, under the pretext of protecting copyright.” [Google-translated quote]