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.
Whatever one thinks about the rest of the Google Book business, I think it’s important to focus on the digitization of public domain books by both Google and the Open Content Alliance and to use these efforts as the basis for conceiving of the Digital Public Domain as a more robust version of the traditional public domain.
Here’s the gist of the argument:
[Universidad de Plermo Centro de Estudios en Libertad de Expresión y Acceso a la Información, Link] This new document, produced by CELE’s Freedom of Expression on the Internet Initiative (iLEI), takes on a theoretic discussion that has yet to be sufficiently discussed. In general, it discusses tensions between copyright and Internet users’ freedom of expression.
This document argues that copyright is also a development yielding from the freedom of expression. On this premise, the article argues that the tension is actually between two types of expression:
As Trade Ministers meet for their TPP meeting in Singapore this week, additional leaks have been posted by Wikileaks and the Huffington Post showing different countries’ positions on a number of different issues (including but not limited to IP). Zach Carter describes the documents in his Huffington Post piece: “One memo, which was heavily redacted before being provided to HuffPost, was written ahead of a new round of talks in Singapore this week. Read the full text of what HuffPost received here. (Note: Ellipses indicate redacted text. Text in brackets has been added by a third party.) Another document, a chart outlining different country positions on the text, dates from early November, before the round of negotiations in Salt Lake City, Utah. View the chart here. HuffPost was unable to determine which of the 11 non-U.S. nations involved in the talks was responsible for the memo.” The chart lists where countries stood in November on 18 separate issues in the IP chapter, relating to patents, copyrights, trademarks, geographical indications, and enforcement.
Still more recommendations from the 2013 Global Congress Research Survey, focusing on methodology, communications, and social movement issues. This is Part 5 of 5 (for now).
If you’d like to submit a couple paragraphs about research priorities, you can do so here. We’d be happy to publish Part 6, 7, etc.. A last thanks to all who played.