[Excerpt from op-ed in the Pretoria News] Tomorrow will see the launch of the 2015 South African Library Week with the theme connect @ your library. The value of reading for people of all ages is indisputable, as is the crucial role libraries play in making books available. But, as we prepare to celebrate the value of books and the role of libraries, let’s spare a thought for those who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled (VIPs). There is general agreement that books are limited and expensive for sighted people, particularly those who are economically disadvantaged. Imagine how much more so they are for VIPs. The World Blind Union rightly says that they experience a book famine.
[Cross-posted from Afro-Leo, Link (CC-BY)] A report entitled ‘Copyright policy and the right to science and culture’ authored by the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Farida Shaheed has been released (download it here, ref A/HRC/28/57 ).
The document summary reads: “In the present report, the Special Rapporteur examines copyright law and policy from the perspective of the right to science and culture, emphasizing both the need for protection of authorship and expanding opportunities for participation in cultural life. Recalling that protection of authorship differs from copyright protection, the Special Rapporteur proposes several tools to advance the human rights interests of authors. The Special Rapporteur also proposes to expand copyright exceptions and limitations to empower new creativity, enhance rewards to authors, increase educational opportunities, preserve space for non-commercial culture and promote inclusion and access to cultural works. An equally important recommendation is to promote cultural and scientific participation by encouraging the use of open licences, such as those offered by Creative Commons.”
Abstract: This article discusses South Africa’s draft Intellectual Property Policy proposed reforms. It considers how these may be practically implemented. In particular, it focuses on the phased sector specific introduction of substantive patent examination, possible co-operation with other national or regional patent offices to enhance examination capacity, the retention of non-examination for utility or second-tier patents and the involvement of third parties in the examination process. It also considers the re-introduction of opposition proceedings to further strengthen the patent system.
[Reposted from Aro-IP, Link (CC-BY)] Moneyweb is suing Fin24 for copyright infringement arising out of Fin24’s (re-)publication of eight articles which had been initially published by Moneyweb (see a Mail and Guardian report here). Moneyweb has created a dedicated website (here) where it has posted all of the pleadings filed to date and media articles. This Leo rarely has an opportunity to read litigants’ court documents and is delighted that these documents are so readily available.
[Reposted from Afro-IP, Link (CC-BY)]
Following UCT’s invitation to crowd-source comments on the draft national IP policy (here), several scholars jointly submitted comments on the draft IP policy yesterday. It is couched in a sympathetic and constructive yet critical manner as its authors applaud the initiative to begin national dialogue on the IP policy while calling for an extensive and rigorous engagement with the process going forward. The submission (available here) is in the nature of an outline document – it comments on the broad issues of principle, and indicates where its authors find the draft policy desirable or undesirable. It also contains some recommendations which it suggests should be enacted through the amendment of relevant IP legislation.
The Law and Economics of Copyright Users Rights conference probed the value of economic empirical evidence to copyright reform discussions. This post gives an account of the use of such evidence in current reform discourse in South Africa. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has taken some initial steps towards a comprehensive IP reform process by publishing a draft national IP policy, which is currently open for public comment. The copyright sections of the draft policy do not engage with user rights in a detailed manner. Some mention is made of the need to have meaningful exceptions and limitations (E & L) ( at p16) and the need to ensure that these are not abrogated online through the use of technological protection mechanisms protected by anti-circumvention provisions (at p29). Currently the Copyright Act falls far short of reasonable expectations
[Reposted from Afro-IP, Link (CC-BY)] A number of commentaries have been published on the Draft IP Policy’s suggested patent reforms (see below for links to some of these). In general, the draft policy has been lauded as a welcome step for South Africa. For example, the TAC and MSF have welcomed the policy as they are of the view that, if implemented, these reforms will curb harmful practices such as the evergreening of pharmaceutical patents. However, there seems to be general consensus that the wording of the policy could be improved in future iterations so as to achieve coherence, clarity and certainty.
The Africa IP Forum was held in South Africa on 25-27 February 2013. Attendees were welcomed at a cocktail on the evening of 25 February and substantive discussions were held on 26 -27 February. There were 4 plenary sessions each complemented by 2 parallel sessions. The following topics were discussed:
The African IP forum which was scheduled for April 2012 and was postponed in response to contested calls for a more balanced program and representation of views, has now been scheduled for the last week of February in 2013.
Details for speakers have not yet been released but the program is available. Click on the picture to view in full size.
Since the publication of my post (PAIPO is dead. Long live PAIPO) last week, I have received the full text of the Ministerial Decisions passed at Brazzaville in November 2012 (AUMINST Dec. (V) (01)) from the AU.
The relevant paragraph (2.2.15) reads:
AMCOST takes note of the draft statutes of the Pan-African Intellectual Property Organisation (PAIPO) and commends the [African] Commission for the progress made so far in the implementation of the AU Assembly Heads of State and Governments’ decision Assembly/Decision AU/Dec.138 (VII). AMCOST requests the Commission to liaise with AMCOST Bureau and take the necessary actions to implement the assembly decision by 2013 in consultation with sectors dealing with intellectual property in Member States.
[Reposted from AfroLeo] “PAIPO is dead! Long live PAIPO!” Thus exclaims Afro Leo’s friend and PAIPO-watcher Caroline Ncube, who has just sent us the latest news on this very sensitive, potentially valuable proposal:
Afro-IP carried an impassioned discussion on the Draft PAIPO Statute last year and a petition on PAIPO was hosted on change.org. In a recent paper in the Journal of Intellectual Property and Practice (JIPLP — abstract here) I outlined the gist of the debate over the Pan-Africa Intellectual Property Organization (PAIPO) and shared some thoughts on how to improve the statute.
AUTHOR: Carolyn B. Ncube. ABSTRACT: This paper briefly examines the current regime of copyright law in Morocco and seeks to examine the status of orphan works in Morocco, in lieu its membership as the sole African country in the recently signed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The paper concludes that Morocco can, and ought to, enact exceptions and limitations that facilitate meaningful access to orphan works in both analogue and digital formats.