[South Centre News Service, Link] The South Centre calls on WTO Members to Respect the Legitimacy of the Use of TRIPS Flexibilities for Public Health in light of new threats of unilateral trade measures by the United States against India over its Intellectual Property Laws and Regulations
[Cross posted from Digital Rights-LAC, Link (CC-BY)] After years demanding stronger public sector response to copyright infringement, IP industries have now shifted to the strategy of forcing governments to assume the role of facilitators in agreements between private parties. In Brazil, this tendency is clearly noticeable in industry demands related to copyright enforcement in the digital environment within the National Council on Combating Piracy (CNCP, Conselho Nacional de Combate à Pirataria).
[Ayesha Jacub, South African Civil Society Information Service, Link, (CC-BY)] Private profit versus public interest: the distinction may seem binary and simplistic but the divergence between big pharma and public health interests are increasing in polarity. Big pharma, like most big actors on the international trade scene have their interests firmly secured through lobbies touting big money, slanting legislation in their favour. With international trade legislation having direct effects on health issues in nation states, is the South African government doing enough to safeguard the health of its citizens?
[Paul Keller, Communia, Link] With the EU consultation on a review of the European Copyright rules still ongoing (the new extended deadline is the 5th of March) it is nice to see that some other countries are apparently making progress with their national copyright reform agendas. One of the most interesting bits of news is coming out of Australia.
The Australian Law Reform Commission has just published its report on Copyright and the Digital Economy. At the centerpiece of this report we find the recommendation to replace the existing system of purpose-based exceptions with a flexible fair use style exception. The proposal, on which the 1709 Blog has a very useful summary, combines a fair use clause with a number of illustrative purposes that aims at providing legal certainty for specific types of uses:
[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.
[Australian Digital Alliance, Link (CC-BY)] It has been a big week for Australian Copyright. On Thursday the Attorney-General, the Hon George Brandis QC, tabled the long-anticipated final report from the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) Copyright and the Digital Economy inquiry. This inquiry was charged with determining if copyright exceptions and limitations were working in the digital age. The conclusion was that reform was needed. The ALRC recommended:
[Official Release, Link] The ALRC was asked to consider whether the current exceptions and statutory licences in the Copyright Act are adequate and appropriate in the digital era.
The Report, tabled on 13 February 2014, is the result of an 18-month Inquiry during which the ALRC produced two consultation documents, undertook 109 consultations and received 870 submissions.
The Report contains 30 recommendations for reform. The key recommendation is for the introduction of a fair use exception to Australian copyright law.
[Lotti Rutter, TAC, Link (CC-BY-SA)] This updated research paper from the Treatment Action Campaign seeks to respond with reasoned analysis to a number of inaccurate claims that have been made by the pharmaceutical industry particularly in light of the PharmaGate scandal. The evidence highlights how South Africa’s current intellectual property system allows exploitation by foreign companies whilst impeding access to medicines and the growth of our local industry. Additionally, the paper demonstrates that there is little evidence to back up industry claims that the adoption of public health safeguards in South Africa will undermine the development of future medicines.
[Reposted from Digital Rights LAC, Link, (CC-BY-SA)] At Digital Rights LAC we wanted to ask different specialists in the region about their personal appraisals on digital rights issues. This is the case of Carolina Botero from Colombia. We asked her what the main achievements were regarding the “exceptions and limitations to copyright” and what direction these discussions took in 2013. Here is her reply.
Bearing in mind that Colombia is anticipating a copyright reform, essentially to fulfill the commitments of the FTA with the USA (ie commercial interests of the holders), 2013 was, however, an interesting year for the “positive agenda” that the country’s Karisma Foundation is pushing, which has exceptions at its central axis, which are understood as guarantees of fundamental rights and not as favors for the holders.
[Lotti Rutter, Treatment Action Campaign, Link (CC-BY] Achieving the National Strategic Plan (NSP) objectives depends on the effective use of the national health budget. But is there sufficient emphasis on value for money in the health sector at a time when South Africa is struggling to meet its targets of placing 80% of eligible patients on ART and reducing TB deaths by 50%? Or is money being wasted lining the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry that manipulates the system to make ever-increasing levels of profit?
Mariana Giorgetti Valente (@mrnvlnt)
Pedro Nicoletti Mizukami (@p_mizukami)
Creative Commons Brazil, Link, (CC-BY-SA)
Center for Technology and Society @ FGV Law School, Rio
While open licensing can be a powerful strategy to correct some of the many distortions produced by an unbalanced copyright system, there’s only so much that can be accomplished without a major overhaul of copyright law.
[Tim Vollmer, Creative Commons, Link (CC-BY)] Both the U.S. House of Representative and Senate have passed the 2014 omnibus appropriations legislation (2.9 MB PDF). President Obama is expected to sign the bill shortly.
What’s so special about this legislation? Federal agencies with research budgets of at least $100 million per year will be required provide the public with free online access to scholarly articles generated with federal funds no later than 12 months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The agencies affected by the public access provision of the appropriations bill include the Department of Labor, Department of Education, and Department of Health and Human Services (which includes research-intensive sub-agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).