USTR demands for hyper-secrecy in the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) continue to be a major block to continuing negotiations. The current issue under discussion is access to US proposals by EU member states — which are of course themselves sovereign countries. The member states are demanding access to the text of proposals that would constrain their domestic law making, as they ave had in all other EU trade agreements (e.g. the recent EU-Canada FTA). But Inside US Trade (2/28/2014) reports that USTR Froman has offered only that “he might be able to allow the European Commission to share the U.S. negotiating documents it receives if they were accessible only in a secure reading room.”
United States Trade Representative Froman announced yesterday that his agency will create a public interest trade advisory committee (PITAC) for academics and NGOs as part of the trade advisory committee structure. But instead of including public interest representatives within Industry Trade Advisory Committees, USTR has accepted the proposal of industry representatives to segregate non-industry views into a separate committee.
Srividhya Ragavan (University of Oklahoma College of Law), Brook Baker (Northeastern University School of Law), and Sean Flynn (American University Washington College of Law) submitted the following statement to the International Trade Commission (ITC) Investigation No. 332-543 on Trade, Investment, and Industrial Policies in India: Effects on the U.S. Economy. The ITC will hold a public hearing on this investigation on February 13, 2014.
[Cross posted from CCUSA, Link (CC-BY)] Much of what we hear about the globalization of copyright law around the world does not favor users. The dominant trend of lengthening terms, increasing criminalization and “deterrent” penalties and expanding third party liability has the intent and effect of privatizing more and more of the public domain. But one trend moves in the opposite the direction – the recent shift toward a global expansion of fair use.
The term “fair use” is often used to refer the specific limitation and exception to copyright contained in the US Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 107. But it has also come to have a broader meaning
Sean Flynn, American University Washington College of Law, 202-274-4157, firstname.lastname@example.org
Margot Kaminski, Yale Law School, email@example.com
David Levine, Elon University School of Law, 336-279-9298, firstname.lastname@example.org
The release of a Trade Promotion Authority bill yesterday, including provisions to increase Congressional oversight of the trade negotiation process, is a welcome sign that Congress may be preparing to increase its oversight over international trade, including trade laws that alter or restrict our domestic intellectual property laws. Unfortunately, the bill does not go far enough to ensure public transparency and participation, and does little to ensure that the products of such negotiations promote the public interest.
Researchers, scholars and policy specialists from over 40 countries drafted and endorsed a declaration of Fundamental Public Interest Principles for International Intellectual Property Negotiations that are starkly at odds with some trade agreement negotiations.
The Principles were adopted at the Third Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest which met in Cape Town, South Africa December 7-13, 2013. The principles are strongly critical of the process and presumed substance of the negotiation of intellectual property provisions in the ongoing Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
[Updated Dec 3, 2013]. USTR released a document describing several policy changes in its Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement proposals on provisions related to the prices of medicines. It is not known whether these changes are related to public pressure that has been mounting on USTR after the leaks of its positions on Wikileaks last week. But there have been reports of increased concern being expressed on Capital Hill and to the White House about the lack of transparency in the negotiating process since the leaks, perhaps prompting this new step towards explaining some of its most controversial positions in public. This note provides some preliminary analysis of what we learn from this new statement.
The Trans Pacific Partnership’s Intellectual Property chapter, as it leaked out to the public earlier this week, is 95 pages of restrictions on Congress’s authority to change U.S. intellectual property laws – none of which have been officially shared with the public or most Members of the U.S. Congress. The proposed agreement reads like a complex and highly specific domestic statute. And that itself is a problem. Good international intellectual property agreements embrace broad standards that leave large amounts of flexibility in how domestic laws meet those standards. Much of the U.S. TPP proposal is based on the specific wording of U.S. statutes — meaning that, if adopted, Congress would be violating international law if it chose to amend those statutes. In other areas it promotes policies that have never been adopted by Congress, and are frequently in conflict with current proposals to change our laws. Here is a brief list of some of the most controversial issues.
In the midst of the controversy surrounding the release of a Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) negotiating text on intellectual property by Wikileaks yesterday, over 80 law professors of intellectual property law and related disciplines have written to President Obama, Members of Congress and the United States Trade Representative calling for the creation of a public process to vet the TPP’S intellectual property proposals.
The letter specifically notes that “even in light of yesterday’s release by WikiLeaks,” public debate on the agreement’s proposals “beyond speculation would be impossible since there has not been any official release of text.”
Creative Commons, the global network of non-profit organizations best known for their promotion of standard-form copyright licenses that allow creators to voluntarily waive certain exclusive rights and share their content more easily with others, has thrown its weight into the global push to expand users rights in copyright reform. Last week, the organization, through Creative Commons Headquarters and blessed by its Board of Directors, released a statement endorsing “ongoing efforts to reform copyright law to strengthen users’ rights and expand the public domain.”
Economists and legal experts will join in a public discussion of the social and economic benefits of copyright users’ rights on September 26 from 2pm at American University Washington College of Law. The event will bring together top scholars in economics and law to discuss needs for empirical research on copyright users rights to inform law reform processes around the world. The first panel will review the empirical scholarship on the relationship between copyright limitations and exceptions and social and economic development and discuss new avenues for research that would improve our public understanding of the issue. The second part of the event will feature a roundtable discussion with regional copyright academics about the need for empirical evidence to promote balanced policy-making in regions where copyright reform initiatives are underway. The event will end with a keynote address by Sunil Abraham from the Center for Internet and Society on the relation between intellectual property flexibility and innovation in the telecommunications sector in India.
September 11, The Promise and the Peril of Intellectual Property Licensing for Indigenous Assets.
September 12, The Marrekesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled. Links to registration for the free and public events, as well as to webcast information, are included below.