The civil law tradition was one of the obstacles when civil societies and lawmakers tried to introduce flexible and open-ended fair use exceptions into the Korean Copyright Act (“KCA”) in 2005 and 2009. According to opposers, the fair use doctrine, developed under the rules of equity in common law countries such as the U.S., did not fit with the Korean civil law system.
[michaelgeist.ca, Link (CC-BY)] Last week, I appeared before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage as part of its study on the future of media. The committee has heard from dozens of witnesses and one of the surprising themes has been the emphasis on copyright reform as a potential solution to the newspaper industry’s woes. My opening remarks, which are posted below, warn against the reforms, including the prospect of new taxes on Internet services or linking as a source of revenue for the industry. Instead, I point to several potential policies including an ad-free online CBC, sales taxes for digital services, and non-profit funding models for investigative journalism.
Abstract: The nearly twenty-year history of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s safe harbor provisions has been marked by criticism from content owners, online service providers, and end users. Content owners complain about the cost of monitoring online content and sending take-down notices. Online service providers complain about the cost of receiving and processing the notices. And end users complain about their legitimate use of copyrighted works being subject to DMCA take-down. Colleges and universities have been at the forefront of this controversy;
Joint submission authored by Yousuf Vawda, Andrew Rens, Andrew Rens, Brook Baker, Tobias Schonwetter, and Achal Prabhala; and co-submitted by 44 other academics, experts, scholars and advocates. The full submission is available here as a printable PDF.
The introduction follows.
The Department of Trade and Industry’s (the dti) Intellectual Property Consultative Framework (the Framework) identifies the intersection between intellectual property (IP) and public health as a priority area that requires immediate domestic review. Thus, the focus of this submission is on this priority area.
Catherine Tomlinson, Yuan Qiong Hu, Julia Hill and Claire Waterhouse
Fix the Patent Laws Campaign
Full Text (PDF)
In this report, we present nine case studies that demonstrate how systemic shortcomings in South Africa’s patent laws negatively impact on access to medicines to treat a wide range of diseases in both the public and private sectors.
The case studies illustrate how a flawed system can allow pharmaceutical companies to prolong their monopoly periods in South Africa for years – and sometimes even decades – after their patent protections have expired in other parts of the world, to the detriment of millions of patients.
We write as a group of international intellectual property academics and experts in response to the request for comments on Colombia’s recently released copyright law amendment bill, Proyecto de ley Por la cual se modifica la Ley 23 de 1982 y se adiciona la legislación nacional en materia de derecho de autor y derechos conexos.
We understand that the bill is intended to implement the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. Other countries – including Singapore and Korea – have successfully used Free Trade Agreement implementing processes to adopt exceptions specifically modeled on the U.S. “fair use” exception. The general approach associated with the term “fair use” is to include an exception to copyright that is general, open and flexible, as those terms are defined below. The particulars of how such an approach may be implemented can differ from country to country. Both civil and common law systems increasingly embrace such exceptions in their law. Colombia can and should consider including one in its revision.
Timothy Vollmer, Creative Commons, Link (CC-BY)
Today Creative Commons, CC Colombia, and over a dozen other CC affiliates and partners sent a letter to the Colombian government calling for user-friendly copyright reform. Colombia’s copyright law is being re-opened to come into compliance with the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.
We believe that this is a timely opportunity to introduce positive changes to copyright that will support users and the public, such as adopting a flexible use exception like fair use. Our community looks forward to providing ideas and feedback during the reform process.
Joint statement by Fundación Grupo Efecto Positivo and the ABIA Grupo de Trabalho sobre Propriedade Intelectual
Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, September 15th, 2016 – The United Nation’s High Level Panel (UN HLP) on Access to Medicines released yesterday its final report. The Panel was mandated in November 2015 by UN’s Secretary-General Mr. Ban-Ki Moon to find solutions for the “incoherence” between human rights and public health and rules on intellectual property that hinders innovation and access to medicines. Although the recommendations of the report could have been stronger, it clearly recommends the use of pro public health safeguards to promote the human right to health. The report describes some of the challenges faced by countries to make use of those safeguards, however it fails on addressing the responsibility of pharmaceutical companies.
International Federation of Library Associations, Link (CC-BY)
The signing of the Treaty of Marrakesh in 2013 was a first step towards providing access to knowledge for some of the most vulnerable in society. It offers a response to the book famine that people with print disabilities have long faced. However, IFLA is concerned that when ratifying the Treaty, some countries risk introducing new barriers to access. This is completely contrary to the spirit of Marrakesh.
Abstract: This Article shows how the substantive balance of copyright law has been overshadowed online by the system of intermediary safe harbors enacted as part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) in 1998. The Internet safe harbors and the system of notice-and-takedown fundamentally changed the incentives of platforms, users, and rightsholders in relation to claims of copyright infringement. These different incentives interact to yield a functional balance of copyright online that diverges markedly from the experience of copyright law in traditional media environments. This article also explores a second divergence: the DMCA’s safe harbor system is being superseded by private agreements between rightsholders and large commercial Internet platforms made in the shadow of those safe harbors. These agreements relate to automatic copyright filtering systems, such as YouTube’s Content ID, that not only return platforms to their gatekeeping role, but encode that role in algorithms and software.
Singapore Ministry of Law (Link)
Consultation Period: 23 Aug 2016 to 24 Oct 2016
Copyright is a form of intellectual property right which gives creators and producers of creative works the right to control specific uses of their works for a limited period of time.
A good copyright regime balances between providing exclusive rights as an incentive to create and disseminate new creative works, and providing appropriate access to those works for the benefit of other creators and society at large. This balance encourages the creation and dissemination of knowledge and ultimately contributes to the larger drive to foster innovation.
The New Zealand Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade has posted draft legislation to bring its law into compliance with the Trans Pacific Partnership, as well comments on the legislation, all of which are available here. The following excerpt from the comments submitted by Google New Zealand focuses on the importance of a “flexible and dynamic” copyright exception.
Google believes that in order to promote innovation and creativity, New Zealand should adopt copyright exceptions that allow the market, new technologies and new creativity to evolve. New Zealand needs not only technologically neutral copyright protections, but also dynamic, technology neutral exceptions that allow new, legitimate uses of copyright and services to evolve as technology evolves.