Dec 172015

sean at podiumThe Chairs of the User Rights Track of the 2015 Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest adopted the following final plenary statement:

Through the past four Global Congresses we have re-energized a movement, created and shared evidence, and set common agendas for the infusion of public interest objectives into intellectual property policy making. We recommend that the Steering Committee for the Congress strongly consider seeking to host the next Global Congress in Geneva, Switzerland. Continue reading »

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Dec 112015

sean at podiumStatement of Sean Flynn, Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property

Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights: Thirty-First Session December 7-11, 2015 (Geneva, Switzerland)

Thank you for recognizing me on the issue of promoting limitations and exceptions for educational purposes, potentially within the discussions underway on the needs of libraries.  Continue reading »

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Dec 112015

healthgap logoU.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Hearing, Dec. 8, 2015
Written Submission from Health GAP (Also available as a PDF)

In its issue analysis paper, the Committee on Ways and Means posed three basic questions about the Trans Pacific Partnership and its impacts on access to medicines: 1) Does the current TPP text provide an appropriate balance between the need to incentivize innovation and to provide access to affordable medicines for patients in developing countries, like the balance struck under the May 10 Agreement of 2007?  2)Does the current TPP text either require changes to existing U.S. health or intellectual property laws, or prevent the United States from making reasonable changes to those laws?  3)What period of exclusivity is provided for biologic medicines, and is the period sufficient to incentivize the production of new biologic medicines in the future while also ensuring access to affordable medicines?

This submission from Health Global Access Project (GAP) discusses each of these issues and includes a chart analyzing relevant textual provisions and their impact on access to medicines. Continue reading »

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Dec 092015

effbig[Maira Sutton, EFF, Link (CC-BY)] The Internet is a diverse ecosystem of private and public stakeholders. By excluding a large sector of communities—like security researchers, artists, libraries, and user rights groups—trade negotiators skewed the priorities of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) towards major tech companies and copyright industries that have a strong interest in maintaining and expanding their monopolies of digital services and content. Negotiated in secret for several years with overwhelming influence from powerful multinational corporate interests, it’s no wonder that its provisions do little to nothing to protect our rights online or our autonomy over our own devices. For example, everything in the TPP that increases corporate rights and interests is binding, whereas every provision that is meant to protect the public interest is non-binding and is susceptible to get bulldozed by efforts to protect corporations. Continue reading »

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Nov 232015

Annemarie-BridyThis article is part of an IP-Watch and series analyzing the Trans Pacific Partnership intellectual property provisions by leading experts around the world.  The series will publish weekly through the first quarter of 2016.

Section J of the TPP’s IP chapter, on ISP safe harbors, looks a lot like Section 512 of the DMCA, but the two frameworks differ in some important respects that could negatively impact the global environment for user speech online. This post offers a comparison of Section J and Section 512 with a focus on the rights of users and the status of user expression in the TPP’s intermediary safe harbor provisions. Continue reading »

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Nov 052015
booklist - stephanie vacher cc-by-nc-nd

Photo: Stephanie Vacer (CC-BY-NC-ND)

[Reposted from, Link (CC-BY)] The New Zealand government posted the official Trans Pacific Partnership text today after years secret negotiations and occasional leaks of the text. It is an enormous deal with dozens of side letters between countries – Canada alone has eight side letters on intellectual property with seven TPP countries – that will require considerable study.

From a copyright perspective, the TPP IP chapter leaked soon after the deal was concluded and the chapter looks largely consistent with that document. There is a notable change involving the Internet provider and host takedown rules, however. Continue reading »

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Oct 052015

sean at podiumThe 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.  Continue reading »

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Oct 052015

monkey-combinedThe 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? Continue reading »

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Sep 242015

cc-logo[Jan Gondol, Creative Commons Blog, Link (CC-BY)]  In the midst of the European migrant crisis, the Czech Republic is showing the power of open educational resources (OER).

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? Continue reading »

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Aug 052015

public citizen[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. Continue reading »

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Jun 102015

sean at podiumFor immediate release

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.”  Continue reading »

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Who Should Own Big Data?

 Posted by on June 3, 2015  1 Response »
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 »

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