Author: REPOST

How Does Malawi’s New Copyright Law Measure Up?

[Electronic Information for Libraries, Link (CC-BY)] An EIFL review of Malawi’s Copyright Act of 2016 has found that although the new law permits a range of library activities such as making copies for research and use of works in virtual learning environments, it places big limits on what libraries can do in practice, misses opportunities to enable digital activities, and restricts the making of accessible format copies. The review assesses the Copyright Act from the library perspective. It aims to raise awareness about the law, help librarians understand what the law means for library activities and services in Malawi, and highlight areas for future improvement. The key findings of the review are: Range of library activities permitted. The Copyright Act permits a range of activities such as making copies for research, use of works in virtual learning environments, and public lending by libraries. It also recognizes the important principle of safeguarding library uses where access to a work is protected by a technological protection measure, such as a password protection or copy control system. Complex conditions limit digital uses. Complex conditions, especially regarding the use of digital works, limit in practice what libraries in Malawi are allowed to do, and are more restrictive than in many other countries. For example, digitization of print material for preservation and backup is not allowed unless special permission is obtained from the Minister with responsibility for copyright, and...

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Copyright Directive: Push for automated filters from France, Portugal and Spain

France, Portugal and Spain have waded into the debate on the notorious Article 13 of the EU’s proposed Copyright Directive with a proposal that would oblige online content-sharing platforms to introduce mandatory automated filtering of uploads, as originally proposed by the Commission but recently questioned by a number of Member States. Click here for the full story on...

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Industry, IP groups flag concerns in out-of-cycle Special 301 review of Colombia

[Inside U.S. Trade, Link] Industry groups are calling on the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to elevate Colombia to its list of most egregious intellectual property violators, claiming that Bogota’s IP regime runs afoul of commitments it made in its trade agreement with the U.S. and violates World Trade Organization obligations. In USTR’s annual Special 301 report, released in April, Colombia was listed on what is known as the “watch list,” in addition to being one of three countries selected for an out-of-cycle review. …In that report, USTR knocked Colombia for not delivering on IP commitments outlined in the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement and said it would monitor the implementation of the country’s National Development Plan (NDP) for policies that could “undermine innovation and IP systems.” The agency also cited online piracy, copyright enforcement and regulatory approvals for pharmaceutical products as areas to watch in 2017. Click here for the full story on...

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Se reglamentó la excepción al derecho de autor en beneficio de personas ciegas o con dificultades para el acceso al texto impreso

[Creative Commons Urugualy, Link (CC-BY)] El 16 de octubre el Poder Ejecutivo firmó el decreto que reglamenta la excepción al derecho de autor aprobada por el Parlamento en octubre de 2013 en beneficio de personas ciegas o con dificultades para el acceso al texto impreso. Esta reglamentación hace efectivo el Tratado de Marrakech, firmado por nuestro país en 2013 y ratificado al año siguiente. Gracias a esta reglamentación, miles de personas con dificultades para acceder a obras impresas van a poder comenzar a acceder a la cultura en igualdad de condiciones con las personas sin discapacidad. Podrán hacerlo a través de bibliotecas digitales como la Biblioteca Digital y Accesible (BIDYA) o a iniciativa propia. La normativa permite reproducir, distribuir, adaptar y poner a disposición las obras en favor de las personas beneficiarias, sin necesidad de pedir permiso ni de pagar a los titulares de derecho de autor. Las personas beneficiarias incluyen a las personas ciegas, con baja visión o con otra discapacidad visual; personas con discapacidades motrices que dificulten el acceso a los textos; personas con discapacidad intelectual leve, moderada o severa; personas con dislexia u otros trastornos que afectan la lectura; personas con discapacidades físicas que les impidan manipular el material de lectura, o que les generen dificultades para centrar la vista o mover los ojos en la medida necesaria para leer; y cualquier otra persona que, por otras razones, padezca de dificultades para...

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Digital v. Analogue: Reconceptualising the Orphan Works Problem for Cultural Heritage Institutions

Authors: Susan Corbett Abstract: For cultural heritage institutions (CHIs) the divide between material and immaterial is epitomised by the impact of digital technologies. Ideally, in line with theories of cultural property and the objectives of CHIs, CHIs should be able to make use of the enhanced opportunities provided by digital technologies for effective archiving and preservation and for increased public accessibility to their collections. In practice however due to large numbers of works that are copyright orphan works in their collections, CHIs are legally unable to do this because effective digital archiving requires that many copies be made of the physical item. Permitted uses for archiving and preservation in copyright laws generally permit only one copy to be made for preservation purposes and strictly limit its availability to the public. Furthermore, there is no permitted use that would allow a digital copy to be made and posted online for improved public accessibility. Wary of the unsupportive legal environment, some CHIs have adopted a policy of accepting works for their collections only if the copyright owner of the work signs a release permitting the CHI to digitise the work for its objectives. This new policy creates a gate-keeping role which cannot be justified by cultural heritage theories and reinforces the need for urgent solutions to the orphan works problem. This chapter describes and critiques recent initiatives which are intended to...

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As We Celebrate Nigeria’s Ratification of the WCT, WPPT, The Beijing Treaty and Marrakesh Treaty…

[Desmond Oriakhogba, reposted from University of Cape Town IP Unit, Link] On 4 October 2017, Nigeria deposited during the 57th meeting of the WIPO general assembly in Geneva four ratification instruments concerning the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) of 1996, the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) of 1996; the WIPO Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances of 2012 (Beijing Treaty); and the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled of 2013 (Marrakesh Treaty) with the WIPO. The ratification instruments were signed by the President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria (President Muhammadu Buhari) on 24 August 2017. Consequently, Nigeria has now accepted and undertaken to respect and implement the obligations under these treaties. However, the treaties do not have any force of law within the Nigerian territory unless domesticated (s12 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999) either by an enforcement and domestication Act or by including its provisions in the Copyright Act, Cap C20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 through an amendment. This piece argues that as we celebrate the ratification of the treaties, there is, however, a great need to pause and ponder on the effect of implementing ‘the standards stipulated in the treaties’ in Nigeria. What impact will the standards in the treaties have on creativity, innovation and access to information for...

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10th Annual International Open Access Week Shines Spotlight on Increasing the Impact of Research & Scholarship

[Nick Shockey, SPARC, Link (CC-BY)] Hundreds of events will take place across the globe to highlight the power of Open Access to increase the impact of scientific and scholarly research during the 10th annual International Open Access Week taking place from October 23-29, 2017. This year’s theme of “Open in Order to…” is meant to move the discussion beyond talking about openness itself and instead focus on what openness enables—in an individual discipline, at a particular institution, or in a specific context; then to take action to realize these benefits. The theme also recognizes the diverse contexts and communities within which the shift to Open Access is occurring and encourages specific discussion that will be most effective locally. “Since Open Access Week first began, we’ve made significant progress in building global awareness of the benefits of opening up access to research and scholarship. Around the world, institutions and individuals are increasingly embracing the use of “Open” as an enabling strategy,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC, which created Open Access Week and works to broaden support for Open Access to scholarly research. “Whether your mission is to tackle critical problems like climate change or ending poverty or to capitalize on the enormous opportunities that having the world’s knowledge at your fingertips presents, Open Access practices and policies can help you speed up progress towards achieving your goals—and that’s a very powerful, very appealing prospect.” Open Access—the free,...

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TRIPS Council: Fears That Non-Violation Complaints Could Undercut Flexibilities In IP Trade Rules

[Catherine Saez, IP Watch, Link (CC-BY-NC-SA)] World Trade Organization committee members this week were asked to recommend to the upcoming ministerial conference whether to lift or indefinitely prolong a moratorium shielding intellectual property from complaints between members not involving a breach of a WTO agreement. Short of a consensus, the intellectual property committee will have to reconvene next month to try to find agreement. Separately, a two-year extension was granted to countries not yet having ratified the public health amendment to WTO IP rules. The WTO Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) met on 19-20 October. At least two developed countries held their position that the moratorium should be lifted, but a range of developing countries feared reprisals for IP-related actions if this were the case, arguing it would “upset the delicate balance” in the TRIPS agreement. The same scenario as in 2015 was repeated this year as WTO members could not agree on whether non-violation complaints could be brought under IP rules (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 23 November 2015). A repeatedly renewed moratorium currently prevents such complaints from including IP rights. Non-violation complaints allow a country to take another country to the WTO Dispute Settlement Body even if no WTO agreement has been violated, on allegations of deprivation of an expected benefit because of that country’s action. The TRIPS Council was mandated by a decision [pdf] taken at the...

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Department Repeats Mistakes of Others In Bid to Alter Copyright Law

[Andrew Rens] The parliamentary portfolio committee on trade and industry is debating a bill to amend the 1978 Copyright Act. The bill, which originated with the Department of Trade and Industry, is intended to give legacy industries such as publishing and civil society institutions such as libraries at least some of the concession they have sought for years, sometimes decades. While the issues at stake are clearly of paramount national importance and not always easy to resolve, the resulting bill is a backward-looking amalgam of provisions poorly aligned with the National Development Plan. Click here for the full op-ed on the Business Day...

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EIFL Marrakesh Guide Launches in Spanish

Electronic Information for Libraries press release, Link (CC- BY) EIFL is delighted to announce that our popular library guide to the Marrakesh Treaty for persons with print disabilities is now available in Spanish, bringing to eight the total number of languages for the guide. The Marrakesh Treaty, which entered into force in September 2016 with respect to those countries that have ratified the treaty, gives organizations like libraries the right to reproduce printed works in accessible formats like braille and audio, and to exchange these works across national borders. EIFL has been a strong advocate for ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty and its implementation into national law. The new translation of ‘The Marrakesh Treaty: an EIFL Guide for Libraries’ is a useful resource for Spanish-speaking librarians supporting ratification and national implementation of the Treaty. The guide provides a straightforward introduction to the Treaty and its key provisions, and concrete recommendations for implementation in order to maximize accessible reading materials available through libraries. In addition to the new Spanish version, EIFL has published the guide in Arabic, English, French, Lithuanian, Nepali, Russian and Serbian. EIFL would like to thank the translator for the Spanish version, Virginia Inés Simón, Project Manager at the Ibero-American Network of Experts on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Argentina. Visit EIFL Resources to download The Marrakesh Treaty: an EIFL Guide for Libraries (Spanish). BACKGROUND Read about EIFL’s work advocating for the...

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The European Parliament Should Be Talking About DRM, Right Now!

[Teresa Nobre, Communia Association, Link (CC-0)] The European Union is currently discussing a reform of its copyright system, including making mandatory certain copyright exceptions, in order to introduce a balance into the system. However, no one, except Julia Reda, is paying any attention to one of the biggest obstacles to the enforcement of copyright exceptions in the digital age: technological protection measures (TPM), including digital rights management (DRM). In this blogpost we will present the reasons why the European Parliament should not lose this opportunity to discuss a reform of the EU anti-circumvention rules. No balance between anti-circumvention prohibitions and users rights The InfoSoc Directive incorporates rules regarding the protection of TPM in articles 6 and 7, which do not adequately take into account users rights created by copyright exceptions and limitations. First, Member States are only obliged to guarantee that users can access and use a TPM-protected work in relation to a closed-list of “privileged exceptions”. Beneficiaries of the remaining exceptions are not able to exercise their rights when a work is protected by TPM. Second, only certain privileged users—those who already have legal access to the work—have the right to require the technical means to benefit from the selected exceptions. Finally, the rules that are aimed to protect users do not apply to on-demand online services. According to the European Parliament’s 2015 impact assessment study, the EU anti-circumvention...

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CopyCamp 2017 – Summary

[Reposted from https://copycamp.pl/en/ (CC-BY)]  The 6th CopyCamp took place in Warsaw on September 28th and 29th under the title „the Internet of Copyrighted Things”. This year we gathered 60 guests from 21 countries who shared their expertise during presentations and workshops with those who joined us in Kino Praha or watched our live streaming on YouTube. We listened to stories touching on real-life issues in culture, science, education, medicine and agriculture. And it was a great success! In the post-conference survey, our participants evaluated the conference with an average grade of 5,15 (with 6 being the maximum grade). Among our special guests was Ms. Julia Reda, Member of the European Parliament and a representative of the Pirate Party. In her speech about the current copyright reform, Ms. Reda complemented some of its parts, but also expressed her deepest concern about the proposal of “linking tax” and the filtering obligation. Apparently, many decision makers wrongly believe that these proposals will only result in benefits for authors and other rightholders. They thus pay little attention to users and activists who raise alarm that implementing such ideas would destroy the internet. One of such negative examples that she mentioned is that the filtering obligation will actually lead to the raise of market power of platforms that already have big databases of information about works and their rightholders. EU citizens and entrepreneurs will...

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Creative Commons USA Statement on the Affordable College Textbook Act

[Ethan Senack, Creative Commons USA, Link (CC-BY)] Today, Senators Durbin, Franken, and King, in conjunction with Representatives Polis and Sinema, introduced the Affordable College Textbook Act to the 115th Congress. In summary, the Affordable College Textbook Act provides funding for institutions of higher education to develop, adapt, and adopt openly-licensed educational resources that “either reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use, reuse, modification, and sharing with others.” As the cost of higher education increases, more and more students struggle to meet the financial demands necessary to pursue their education. Books and learning materials in particular pose an outsized barrier to student success – costing families hundreds of dollars every year, often out-of-pocket. This legislation attempts to address the skyrocketing cost of textbooks, leveraging federal resources to break the current monopoly that big publishers hold over the market. Per a joint press release from the sponsor’s offices, “the Affordable College Textbook Act: Creates a grant program to support pilot programs at colleges and universities to create and expand the use of open textbooks with priority for those programs that will achieve the highest savings for students; Ensures that any open textbooks or educational materials created using program funds will be freely and easily accessible to the public; Requires entities who receive funds to complete a report on the...

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Modernisation of the EU Copyright Rules Position Statement of the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

[Reto Hilty and Valentina Moscon] On 14 September 2016 the European Commission published a package of proposals aimed at the modernisation of copyright within the digital single market.  This copyright package is of particular interest to the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, which has been committed since its founding in 1966 to the analysis and development of intellectual property and competition law on the basis of established scientific principles. The Institute has responded to all of the proposals included in the copyright package in a Position Statement. It includes several parts and chapters examining whether the suggested provisions are adequate for reaching their intended objectives. In response to certain critical evaluations, a number of alternatives have been suggested. Each part and chapter has been published on the Institute’s website in the course of recent months. These have been brought together in the present e-book. Full eBook on...

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EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement Would Harm User Rights and the Commons

[Timothy Vollmer, Creative Commons, Link (CC-BY)] Today Creative Commons published a policy analysis covering several copyright-related issues presented in the draft intellectual property chapter of EU-Mercosur free trade agreement. We examine issues that would be detrimental to the public domain, creativity and sharing, and user rights in the digital age. The policy paper is also available in Spanish and Portuguese.  The European Union (EU) and the Latin American sub-regional bloc consisting of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay (Mercosur) have been negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) since 2000. The EU-Mercosur FTA is expansive, addressing trade in industrial and agricultural goods, potential changes to rules governing small- and medium-sized businesses as well as government procurement, and intellectual property provisions such as copyrights and patents. The EU-Mercosur FTA negotiations continue during a time when several of the affected countries—including Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and even the EU—are involved in a review of their own copyright rules. Only a few chapters of the draft EU-Mercosur FTA have been made available for public inspection. In November 2016 the EU released a draft of the chapter dealing with intellectual property, which is the most recent publicly available version. Civil society organisations and the public are typically excluded from participating in—or even observing—the negotiation meetings. The EU-Mercosur FTA negotiations take place in an environment where an increasing level of copyright policy is being constructed through multilateral trade agreements. There are several current negotiations...

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DNDi Welcomes Malaysia’s Move to Secure Access to More Affordable Treatments for Hepatitis C

[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. [Click here for the press release in Bahasa] “The government of Malaysia has been unable to provide access to affordable treatment regimens because of the very high price of sofosbuvir in Malaysia,” said YB Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam, the Minister of Health, Malaysia. “To ensure scale-up of our hepatitis C treatment programme, the government wishes to purchase generic sofosbuvir at the lowest possible price and make it available in the public health system throughout the country.” The non-profit research and development organization Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) has been running clinical trials in Malaysia, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Egyptian drug manufacturer Pharco Pharmaceuticals, to test a pan-genotypic treatment combining sofosbuvir with the drug candidate ravidasvir. The clinical trial is ongoing in six hospitals with Clinical Research Malaysia, a non-profit entity owned by the Ministry of Health. Pharco has agreed to set the price of the combination treatment at $300 per 12-week course once ravidasvir is registered. Currently a full...

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International Coalition Joins Together to Halt Potentially Harmful Copyright Reform

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.   This letter has the backing of a coalition comprised of: CESAER, COAR, The Commons Network, Communia Association, Creative Commons, C4C, EBLIDA, EIFL, EUA, Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU, IFLA, LIBER, RLUK, Science Europe, and SPARC Europe. See the open letter below. JOIN US SPARC Europe, together with the rest of the coalition, is inviting others to join us in reaching out to EU lawmakers. Here’s how you can help: Add your name to the open letter, and share it with your networks and other organisations. Your name and the title of your affiliated organisation will be added to the letter, both on this page, and on the live Google document version. (We will continue to...

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USTR Launches Review Of IP In Thailand After Reported Improvements On Enforcement

[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.” USTR in its 2017 Special 301 report had placed Thailand on the higher level “priority watch list,” but indicated willingness to review the status if Thailand made progress on the issues raised by USTR in the report. “The Trump Administration has been closely engaging with Thailand on improving IP protection and enforcement,” USTR said in a release. “In recent months, Thailand has taken steps to improve enforcement against pirated and counterfeit goods, including enhanced coordination among enforcement agencies and a sustained focus on investigations and raids.” It also said that in August, Thailand acceded to the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks, managed by the World Intellectual Property Organization, “making it easier for U.S. companies to file for...

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EU “Copyright Reform” Threatens Freedom of Information, Open Access and Open Science

[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. Frankenstein reproduction right With the original objective of “protecting equality, press and informed news”, the proposed “publishers right”, or “ancilliary copyright” could very well turn into an unbounded and unrestricted ‘frankenstein reproduction right’ that goes far beyond existing copyright’s “orginality requirements”. The proposed “reproduction right” is radically different from existing copyright law where the originality requirement prevents the appropriation of facts, ideas and non-original expression which are usually not considered to be protected by copyright. Many amendments on the table today before the Legal Affairs Committee aim at prohibiting the use of even the smallest bit or snippet of any text, image or sound from a press article, from public information or from an academic text without the prior permission of the publisher. The negative impact on access to information, access to knowledge and scientific scholarship could be devastating....

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Legal Affairs Should Ignore CULT’s Retrograde Changes to Text- and Data-Mining Exception

[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. Slight change to ‘scientific research’ definition is pointless In Amendment 3 to Recital 5, CULT notes that the term “scientific research” should be understood as referring “both to the natural sciences and the human sciences”. This change might be interpreted as beneficial to humanities and social science researchers who wish to be able to leverage the TDM exception in their work, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. We’ve argued consistently that any constraint on the purpose for which TDM may be conducted would decrease the potential impact of interesting and useful TDM activities, such as for journalism-related investigations, market research, innovation-related developments or other types of activities not strictly...

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