Aug 292017

[Originally posted in The Conversation, Link (CC-BY-SA)] . As the new school year approaches, Canadian universities are grappling with the Federal Court of Canada’s recent copyright decision against York University.

The court ruled that York could not rely on its fair dealing policy and per-use licensing to copy works as a part of course packs, but must pay millions of dollars in licensing fees to Access Copyright, which sells blanket copyright licenses to organizations. Continue reading »

Nov 072016

SaraBannerman[Originally posted on] Does intellectual property have a role in sustainable development?  Of course it does!  But the World Intellectual Property Organization, a UN agency, seems uncertain as to whether it has a role to play in implementing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As I note in a draft book chapter, WIPO’s preliminary analysis of the ways in which its work supported SDGs viewed most of WIPO’s work as contributing to SDG 9, the building of infrastructure and industrialization, as well as goal 8, that of economic growth. Continue reading »

Jun 032015

SaraBannerman[Cross posted from] Big data has a lot to offer, from curing disease to fostering economic development to fostering transparency.  At the same time, from government mass surveillance to data leaks, the misuses of big data seem as pervasive as its uses.

Who owns big data?  What rights do–and should–its owners have over what is done with it? Two different answers to this question have been posed.  The first would allow free use of big data for non-profit scientific research.  The second would release IP control of big data for commercial research also. Continue reading »

Jun 132013

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On Monday June 17, a diplomatic conference will be held to negotiate a treaty/international instrument that would allow accessible-format works to be exported from country to country.  Intended to address the problem that currently only 5% of copyright works are currently available in accessible format.  Copyright law in many countries currently prohibits the export of copyright works, including accessible-format works.   This creates a situation where works must be separately converted to accessible formats in each country, or where separate permissions must be requested for each country to create or export the works, inhibiting the flow of accessible-format works around the world. Continue reading »


WIPO Treaty for the Visually Impaired Flounders

 Posted by on May 14, 2013  Comments Off on WIPO Treaty for the Visually Impaired Flounders
May 142013

bannerman 151x142As negotiators at WIPO prepare for a June 17-22 diplomatic conference in Marrakesh to create a new international instrument/treaty for the benefit of the visually impaired.  The treaty is intended, by its proponents, to make copyright works more accessible to the visually impaired.  It is currently estimated that only 5% of works are available in a accessible format.  Stevie Wonder and other key activists have been proponents of the treaty. Continue reading »

Feb 042013

bannerman-200pxThe Intergovernmental Committee on Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Cultural Expressions, and Genetic Resources (IGC) meets this week at WIPO.  The Committee is working on negotiating a new treaty or soft law instrument on Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Cultural Expressions, and Genetic Resources.  This week’s work will focus on genetic resources, with future meetings this year on traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions. The meeting begins today with a half day panel of indigenous and local communities – the IGC’s traditional way of beginning each meeting – in an effort to include indigenous and local communities in their work. Continue reading »

Feb 202012

There is a danger that, in Canada’s quest to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), Canada may cede whatever leadership it has gained in the field of progressive copyright provisions. Canada’s Bill C-11, the proposed “Copyright Modernization Act”, includes provisions that would allow people who are blind and print disabled to circumvent Technological Protection Measures(TPMs) to access works (s. 41.16). These provisions, while they have been criticized as not going far enough, at the same time could put Canada on the map as being among the first to enact such provisions for the benefit of the blind and print disabled. Under the last leaked text of the American proposal for the TPP, these types of provisions would not be allowed as a permanent exception. Continue reading »