On August 18, a group of South African and international legal experts will work with South African filmmakers to better understand their rights as users as well as creators under copyright law. The meeting will focus on actions filmmakers can take to use and expand user rights in South Africa that are necessary to fully enable the vibrant filmmaking industry that already exists, and to support emerging artists.
Fannie Rascle — French journalist (@fannierascle) working for a website called novethic.fr, interviewed me today for an article about TTIP and transparency. Here are her questions and my answers.
European Union documents relating to TTIP could be made public after a European Court of Justice ruling yesterday : do you think it is an important decision ?
I am not an expert on that opinion. I read it to say that the Commission has to justify its decisions to not release documents related to international negotiations. I believe that the justification is weak for not having any method for a country to share with its own citizens proposals to change international law. The making of law should be the most public of our governmental activities.
Last week, USTR announced that it was closing a “partially open” meeting of the Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Small and Minority Business. No reason was given for the closing of the meeting. But this led an office in Congress to request the Congressional Research Service to find out just how many open meetings of the ITACs there have been. The answer:
Since 2004, there have been 13 “partially open” meetings of ITACS. Oddly, all but one of the open meetings were of the small and minority business committee.
Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund has written an email responding to a letter from 220 civil society organizations demanding that the Global Fund abandon its “tiered-pricing” proposal.
“Thank you for your letter. Dialogue is healthy and we appreciate the opportunity to engage. Of course there has not been time to consult with other organizations, but because you mention the world health assembly, I thought it might be useful to send a rapid response from me alone.
We have greatly appreciated the constructive feedback and adjusted the language and approach to be clear that this effort is not about tiered pricing.
30 international intellectual property law professors from around the world filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court today in ABC v. Aereo. Aereo is being accused of being directly liable for copyright infringement by supplying equipment for a remote DVR service that allows consumers to record and play back free-to-air television programming. The brief responds to arguments made by IFPI et al and some other amici supporting ABC that international copyright law — including the Berne Convention, WIPO Copyright Treaty and several Free Trade Agreements — control the case. This brief argues that international law is not controlling, but rather leaves countries free to hold that Aereo’s equipment only facilitates private copying by consumers.
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) recently announced that it would not seek sanctions against Ukraine following its designation as a Priority Foreign Country in the Special 301 process last year. The notice states that the USTR sticks by its finding that “certain intellectual property rights (IPR) acts, policies, and practices of Ukraine are unreasonable and burden or restrict United States commerce and are thus actionable under section 301(b) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (Trade Act).” But it is not taking action “[i]n light of the current political situation in Ukraine.” There is another reason USTR is not taking any action – sanctioning Ukraine or any other World Trade Organization member under Special 301 would violate the WTO.
The USTR recently issued two notices seeking membership applications for its Trade Advisory Committee System. One notice seeks “Industry” advisors and another seeks those for a new “Public Interest” committee. Each notice announces that the Committees will be established “[p]ursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.).” The Committees also operate under Charters which state that the Committees will be operated “in accordance with the provisions of the FACA, . . . with the exceptions set forth in the Trade Act.” That last line, it turns out, is key. The Trade Act gives USTR broad authority to exempt the operation of these committees from FACA open government requirements, which USTR uses habitually. One positive reform of the system would be for USTR at its discretion — or for Congress through the force of law — to apply all of the provisions of FACA to USTR’s advisory committees — just as would apply if these committees were being consulted on rule making by any other federal agency.
[Reposted from Karisma.org.co, Link, (CC-BY-SA)] Como cada año la USTR (Oficina de Comercio del Gobierno de EE.UU) elabora su Informe Especial 301 que es simplemente una lista negra de los países piratas que ha sido ampliamente criticada como ilegítima pues es unilateral (desconoce los canales internacionales acordados en la Organización Mundial de Comercio para resolver conflictos de este tipo), resulta una afrenta a la soberanía de los países y en todo caso es el resultado de un procedimiento arbitrario.
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.
[Centrum Cyfrowe, Link (CC-BY)] Below we are publishing a joint, bi-monthly overview of the key developments in copyright reform in Poland-December and January 2014.
The project is conducted with the support of Open Society Foundations. Most of the links lead to content in Polish.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released the second edition of its Global Intellectual Property Index, a report which grades countries on the strength of their IP protection. This year’s index covers 25 countries, including all of the BRICS and most of the countries in the TPP negotiations. Countries are evaluated among 30 individual factors, which fall into one of six categories – Patents, Related Rights, and Limitations; Copyrights, Related Rights, and Limitations; Trademarks, Related Rights, and Limitations; Trade Secrets and Market Access; Enforcement; and Membership and Ratification of International Treaties. The full index is here, and the summary is here.