[Drugs for Neglected Diseases press release, Link (CC-BY-NC-SA)] Malaysia has issued a “government use” licence enabling access to more affordable versions of an expensive and patented medicine to treat hepatitis C. This landmark decision should help the more than 400,000 people living with hepatitis C in Malaysia access sofosbuvir, and could have important repercussions in the global effort to secure access to expensive treatments for this viral disease.
SPARC Europe, Link (CC-BY)
SPARC Europe is leading and collaborating with an international coalition in an effort to halt the adoption of harmful provisions found in the current draft of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, and certain amendments, which could threaten Open Access and Open Science.
The coalition has written an open letter directed at the EU’s Legal Affairs Committee, which was delivered 6th September. In the letter, we urge for the removal of proposals that would restrict access to research and place administrative and legal burdens on institutional repositories. We also request improvements on proposals related to text and data mining, copyright in an education setting, and preservation and access to works for non-commercial endeavors.
[William New, IP Watch, Link (CC-BY-SA] The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today announced an “out-of-cycle” review of Thailand’s intellectual property policies after what USTR said were reports of improvement on several IP issues including trademarks and enforcement. Another area of the review will be pharmaceuticals. USTR Robert Lighthizer announced the review of Thailand’s status under the US “Special 301” process that unilaterally assesses trading partners’ treatment of US intellectual property rights. Lighthizer was meeting in Washington, DC with Thailand’s Minister of Commerce Apiradi Tantraporn to “discuss ways to increase trade and reduce the trade deficit between the United States and Thailand.”
[Commons Network, Link (CC-BY)] In early October, the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee will vote on the Digital Single Market copyright legislation. Here we would like to express our alarm at the direction EU copyright legislation is taking. We are profoundly concerned that a number of proposals, including Article 11 and Article 13, will mean disproportionate restrictions on the fundamental right of freedom of information as well as the creation of new and costly barriers and administrative burdens for adopted EU policies mandating open access, open education and open science.
[Timothy Vollmer, Communia Assocation, Link (CC-0)] Summer is nearly over, and the European Parliament Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) has published their final opinion on the draft Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. The opinion comes following the committee vote on 11 July. We were hopeful that CULT could deliver some helpful (and much needed) changes to the Commission’s proposal, including broadening the education exception, permitting cultural heritage institutions to share their collections online, deleting the dangerous press publishers right, and opposing upload filters for online platforms. Regarding text and data mining (TDM), we wished for CULT to push for expanding the exception so TDM could be conducted by anyone, for any purpose. Instead, CULT has doubled down on their backward approach to Article 3.
[Bernt Hugenholtz, reposted from Kluwer Copyright Blog, Link] With the growth of the ‘data-driven economy’and the rise of ‘Big Data’ have come calls for the introduction of a novel property right in data. Apparently in response to demands from the German automotive industry, the European Commission has in its 2017 Communication on ‘Building a European data economy’ advanced the idea of creating a ‘data producer’s right’ that would protect industrial data against the world.
As explained in the Staff Working Paper that accompanies the Communication, this new right would create a transferable property right in “non-personal or anonymised machine-generated data”. It would encompass “the exclusive right to utilise certain data, including the right to licence its usage. This would include a set of rights enforceable against any party independent of contractual relations thus preventing further use of data by third parties who have no right to use the data, including the right to claim damages for unauthorised access to and use of data.”
[Fifa Rahman for IP-Watch, Link (CC-BY-SA)] Gilead’s announcement today that they would include four middle-income countries (Malaysia, Thailand, Belarus, Ukraine) in their sofosbuvir voluntary licence was a welcome surprise, and will enable millions access to their highly effective, but exorbitantly priced, drug.
The decision to include these countries, however, no doubt is a response to increasing pressure from within these countries to either issue a compulsory licence (CL) or a government use licence (GUL), invalidate the sofosbuvir patents, or block data exclusivity for the drug.
We, the undersigned, are Internet freedom and public interest advocates drawn from all three nations party to this agreement, who are dedicated to the rights of all peoples to access cultural and educational resources, to enjoy a free and open Internet, and to benefit from open and needs-driven innovation.
As the United States, Mexico and Canada begin talks on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) this week, we write to share our concerns about NAFTA’s potential impact on the critical functions of the Internet and its potential to threaten access to information, the dissemination of news, cultural exchange and democratic organizing.
[Ernesto for TorrentFreak. Link (CC-BY-NC)] Following two new court orders issued today, Australian Internet providers must block dozens of additional pirate sites. The new blockades were requested by Foxtel and Village Roadshow, and cover many of the most used pirate sources, including Gomovies, RARBG, 1337x and EZTV. Creative Content Australia warns that people who bypass the blocks could easily run into malware, viruses and other nastiness.
Rather than taking site operators to court, copyright holders increasingly demand that Internet providers should block access to ‘pirate’ domains.
As a result, courts all around the world have ordered ISPs to block subscriber access to various pirate sites.
South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry has released Draft Intellectual Property Policy (Phase I). The full document is here (PDF). The introduction, which summarizes the policy’s goals and proposed reforms, is below.
The National Development Plan (NDP) of South Africa calls for a greater emphasis on innovation, improved productivity, an intensive pursuit of a knowledge economy and the better exploitation of comparative and competitive advantages. Intellectual Property (IP) is an important policy instrument in promoting innovation, technology transfer, research and development (R&D), creative expression, consumer protection, industrial development and more broadly, economic growth.
[Electronic Information for Libraries, Link (CC-BY)] Leading library organizations, EIFL, AfLIA (African Library and Information Associations and Institutions) and IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions), call on Malawi to embrace the spirit of the Marrakesh Treaty by dropping a legal requirement to check if a work is commercially available before an accessible format copy can be made.
An analysis by EIFL of Malawi’s copyright law, adopted in September 2016, shows that while the new law permits a range of library activities and services, complex conditions limit in practice what libraries in Malawi are permitted to do.
[Arul George Scaria and Anubha Sinha for LiveLaw.in, Link] Negotiators from sixteen countries are currently meeting in Hyderabad for discussing a free trade agreement titled Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Looking at the latest available IP chapter (leak dated October 15, 2015), RCEP stands to adversely affect nearly half of the world’s population on areas like access to knowledge and access to medicines. We would like to highlight five issues related to access to knowlege/cultural goods, based on the leaked IP chapter.