The negotiating parties to the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) announced today that they have reached an agreement on a broad international regulatory harmonization agreement that will bind the U.S. to a new set of international minimum standards on intellectual property and other issues. It is now clear that the TPP will be worse on both process and substance for public interest concerns than the last plurilateral intellectual property agreement that the U.S. negotiated — the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). What is notable about ACTA is that it failed. The EU Parliament overwhelmingly rejected it, and it was never submitted to Congress. And thus, as we consider the consideration of the TPP in Congress and other parliaments, ACTA is a useful reference point.
The monkey selfie is back. Again. This time in an improbable lawsuit for copyright infringement filed by an improbable plaintiff, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), on behalf of the improbable photographer—an Indonesian crested Macaque named, according to the complaint, Naruto.
The backstory is that Naruto was minding his own business on the wildlife reserve where he lives when he happened upon an unattended camera belonging to the wildlife photographer David Slater. Intrigued by his discovery, Naruto grabbed the camera and snapped a few photos, including the now famous shot (reproduced at left) of his handsome, grinning face. The photo’s inaugural turn in the global press and as an Internet meme was back in 2011, when Slater first released the shots of Naruto to the media along with the story of their surprising origin. Caters News Agency published a full-body shot (also reproduced at left) with a caption asserting that it owned copyright in the photo, introducing two legal questions: Are these photos subject to copyright? If so, who owns the copyright in them?
EDUin, a non-profit organization based in Prague worked with the Czech organization of civic education teachers to address the current migrant crisis. Students in schools were asking questions and wanted to understand what was going on. Why are so many people on the run? What is the difference between a refugee and a migrant? What is the difference between migration, emigration and immigration?
[Cross posted from Public Citizen, Link] In December 2013, Gilead received FDA approval for the first in a new generation of hepatitis C treatments. By all accounts, these treatments represent a cure for patients living with hepatitis C. Since the December release, Gilead’s pricing of its hepatitis C products as well as insurers’ efforts to hold down costs by restricting access to treatment have ignited a vigorous debate in the U.S. about the price of pharmaceuticals and access to medicines.
Sean Flynn is the Associate Director of the American University Washington College of Law Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property
A new leak of text from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement contains new language — not included in any other trade agreement – clarifying application of trade law disciplines on drug pricing programs in the U.S.
Two previous agreements — with Korea and with Australia — contained restrictions on drug pricing programs, but were often thought not apply to any U.S. program. The texts of those agreements left any U.S. application ambiguous. But new language in the TPP leak makes clear the application of disciplines to “The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), with respect to CMS’s role in making Medicare national coverage determinations.”
[Cross posted from sarabannerman.blogspot.ca] 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.
Senators Blumenthal, Brown, Baldwin, and Udall introduced today a trade negotiation transparency bill that would require that all formal U.S. proposals for trade agreement restrictions on domestic regulations be posted on a website. This is a common sense policy that should be broadly supported. The bill would require policies similar to the transparency policies currently followed by the European Union and by intergovernmental organizations that set similar minimum regulatory standards. But it would be a major change in the current process for trade negotiations followed by the U.S. Trade Representative, which are infamously secretive (See today’s Financial Times).
The Senate and House Reports on the Trade Promotion Authority bills working through Congress include important, albeit limited, steps toward endorsing balanced intellectual property norms in trade policy.
The Senate report, released today, states:
In preparation for my role in warming up for Noam Chomsky on WORTFM Madison Wisconsin today, I put together this FAQ on the TPP ISDS leak and intellectual property policy concerns. As with all our posts, this is a CC-By product — please feel free to use or adapt for other purposes with attribution.
What is the core concern with ISDS?
The 2015 Special 301 Report continues a trend, beginning last year, of scrubbing a lot of language that long graced previous reports threatening other countries about WTO TRIPS and other international treaty violations. (See Special 301, A Historical Primer). This could be seen as an acknowledgment that such threats violate the World Trade Organization dispute settlement understanding. The WTO clearly states:
This presentation is in the IP room. But my message is for the IP team to be talking to the ISDS folks next door. The reason is that there is an increasingly urgent need revise the EU and US ISDS templates to protect IP policy decisions from the ISDS chapters of trade agreements. Both the US and EU have been tinkering with their models of late. But both revised models fail to ensure a key domestic sovereignty protection that has been the core of international IP law for 130 years – the exclusive use of state-to-state dispute resolution for enforcement of international IP commitments.
I released a statement earlier today opining that the today’s leak of the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) chapter proposed for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement (available at https://wikileaks.org/tpp-investment/WikiLeaks-TPP-Investment-Chapter.pdf) would give new rights to private companies to challenge limitations and exceptions to copyrights, patents, and other intellectual property rights in unaccountable international arbitration forums. This note gives further background and analysis supporting that statement.