Category: Domestic Legislation

Captured Copyright Law

A new book by Brink Lindsey and Steven Teles, The Captured Economy, contains important insights on how the U.S. copyright system impedes economic growth and promotes income inequality in America. Lindsey, vice president of the Niskanen Center, describes himself as a libertarian. Teles, a professor of political science at Johns Hopkins University, describes himself as a liberal. Their basic thesis is that powerful corporations and professionals use government regulation to eliminate competition and increase their wealth, thereby promoting inequality and slowing economic growth. Intellectual property law is one of their case studies.

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Educators Ask for a Better Copyright

[Communia Association] Today COMMUNIA sent a joint letter to all MEPs working on copyright reform. The letter is an urgent request to improve the education exception in the proposal for a Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market. It is supported by 35 organisations representing schools, libraries, universities and non-formal education, and also individual educators and information specialists.

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Keeping Up With International Approaches: South African Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Educational Activities

[Charlene Musiza]  The 35th session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) took place at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) at the end of last year. Comprising of all members of WIPO, the SCCR analyses matters relating to the substantive law or harmonisation of copyright and related rights, and formulates recommendations.  Current issues the SCCR is addressing include the protection of broadcasts and broadcasting organisations as well as copyright limitations and exceptions. With regard to limitations and exceptions the focus is now on three areas: educational activities, libraries and archives and disabled persons. At the 35th session of the SCCR, UCT’s Professor Caroline Ncube presented, together with Professor Blake Reid from the University of Colorado, an important scoping study concerning access to copyrighted works by persons with disabilities.

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USTR Notorious Markets: Online Ads Still Funding IP Infringement; Alibaba Fires Back About Report

[William New] The Office of the United States Trade Representative today released its annual list of the worst outlaw online and physical markets around the world, citing a range of major sources of problems in every part of the world. The list this year highlights new technologies, identifies online advertising as a large revenue source for counterfeiters, and includes Chinese online market Taobao, owned by internet giant Alibaba, for the second year in a row, leading the company to claim bias and politics are at play.

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Cisco Systems v. Arista and the Scenes a Faire Doctrine

The Cisco Systems v. Arista case has gotten very little attention among the information justice community who generally care about freedom to reuse unprotectable elements in copyrighted works. The case and the issues it raises deserve more visibility, as I expressed in a brief I wrote in support of Arista. Cisco charged Arista with infringement for its reuse of 509 command-line interface (CLI) terms, along with some additional elements of the Cisco user interface, which engineers use to configure their ethernet switching technologies.

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2018 Creative Commons Global Summit: Call for Proposals

[Creative Commons] The Call for Proposals for the Creative Commons Global Summit is now open! The deadline for submissions is January 23, 2018 at 11:59PM in the submitter’s timezone. The Creative Commons Global Summit (CC Summit) is an annual conference that celebrates the culture of sharing, providing a space for open communities to collectively grow a vibrant, usable commons, powered by collaboration and gratitude.

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Mercosur-EU Free Trade Agreement: A Bad Deal for the Public Domain

[Jorge Gemetto, Communia Association, Link, (CC-0)] … A few weeks ago, Greenpeace Netherlands leaked a new draft of the Mercosur-EU FTA, apparently from July 2017, which includes the IP chapter. This new draft of the IP chapter shows the huge number of areas where there is a lack of agreement between Mercosur and the European Union. In the section devoted to copyright, the consolidated text (meaning those areas agreed upon by both parties) is only a small fraction. The rest consists of proposals and counterproposals from both parties. It is easy to see that, while the interest of the European Union is to increase the terms and scope of IP protection, as well as to impose new penalties on infringement, Mercosur countries seek to avoid higher IP standards, incorporate mandatory limitations and exceptions to copyright, and favor the identification and protection of the public domain.

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Copyright and Creative Incentives: What We Know (and Don’t)

[Christopher Jon Sprigman] Abstract: The dominant justification for copyright in the United States is consequentialist. Without copyright, it is claimed, copyists will compete away the profits from new artistic and literary creativity, thereby suppressing incentives to create new artistic and literary works in the first place. This is a sensible theory. But is it true? On that question, we have little evidence.

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What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2018? Under the Law That Existed Until 1978 . . . Works from 1961

[Duke University Center for the Study of the Public Domain Link (CC-BY-SA)] Current US law extends copyright for 70 years after the date of the author’s death, and corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years after publication. But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years—an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years. Under those laws, works published in 1961 would enter the public domain on January 1, 2018, where they would be “free as the air to common use.” Under current copyright law, we’ll have to wait until 2057

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Trade Secrets and Innovation: Evidence from the ‘Inevitable Disclosure’ Doctrine

[Paper by Andrea Contigiani, Iwan Barankay and David H. Hsu] Abstract: Does heightened employer-friendly trade secrecy protection help or hinder innovation? By examining U.S. state-level legal adoption of a doctrine allowing employers to curtail inventor mobility if the employee would “inevitably disclose” trade secrets, we investigate the impact of a shifting trade secrecy regime on individual-level patenting outcomes…

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The defense of education at the World Intellectual Property Organization

[Teresa Nobre, Communia Association, Link (CC-0)] As we reported last month, Communia attended the 35th session of WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), which took place from 13 – 17 November in Geneva. The SCCR has a mandate to discuss limitations and exceptions to copyright, including for educational purposes. While Communia supports efforts to reach minimum international standards of exceptions and limitations to copyright in all the different areas that are currently under discussion (libraries, museums, archives, persons with disabilities, and education), our role there is specifically to support the dialogue on educational exceptions.

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MSF challenges Gilead’s patent application for hepatitis C combination treatment in China, to bring down prices

[MSF] The international medical humanitarian organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has filed a legal patent challenge in China against US pharmaceutical corporation Gilead’s patent application for the combination of two crucial oral hepatitis C medicines, sofosbuvir and velpatasvir. This combination is the first direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatment to be registered for use against all genotypes of the disease. Rejection of patents for this combination would pave the way towards the availability of affordable generic versions of this treatment that millions of people need in China and around the world.

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Multiple News Agencies Confirm: Press Publishers Right Will Be Used to Limit Freedom to Link

[Communia Association, (CC-0)] Within the new industry, news agencies fill the role of the objective gathers of facts. Agencies like DPA, AFP or ANP collect information and make them available to publishing companies who sometimes publish the information as is, but mostly use the information that they get from the agencies as an ingredient for their own reporting. Journalists rely on news agencies to confirm the accuracy of information they use in their reporting.

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The Impact of Copyright Exceptions for Researchers on Scholarly Output

Abstract: Surveys of scholars in the science and health fields have identified high journal prices to be one of many impediments to the writing and publishing of new works. One possible solution to this problem is the expansion of copyright exceptions that allow unauthorized access to copyrighted works for the purpose of conducting further research. This paper tests the link between copyright exceptions for researchers and the publishing output of health and science scholars at the country-subject level, using data on change in copyright law from the PIJIP Copyright User Rights database.

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Copyright Reversion to Authors (and the Rosetta Effect): An Empirical Study of Reappearing Books

[Paper by Paul Heald] This study compares the availability of books whose copyrights are eligible for statutory reversion under US law with books whose copyrights are still exercised by the original publisher. It finds that 17 USC § 203, which permits reversion to authors in year 35 after publication, and 17 USC § 304, which permits reversion 56 years after publication, significantly increase in-print status for important classes of books.

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