Author: REPOST

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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The “Data Producer’s Right”: Unwelcome Guest in the House of IP

[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.” Inspiring the call for protecting industrial data is the fear – common to other recent policy initiatives – that valuable European assets are being misappropriated by large American companies. The specter of Google ‘stealing’ European news has already led to an ongoing EU initiative towards a neighbouring right for news publishers, following comparable rules previously introduced in Germany and Spain. The sui generis database producer’s right introduced in Europe in 1996...

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