On July 25, 2014, the House of Representatives passed the version of cell phone unlocking legislation adopted ten days earlier by the Senate. President Obama promptly announced that he would sign the legislation, bringing at least a short-term resolution to a controversy that had burst into the public eye early in 2013. The underlying issue, however, has much deeper roots, stretching back to the enactment of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998. Moreover, the legislation only temporarily permits consumers to unlock their cell phones to access other mobile networks. In 2015, the Librarian of Congress will determine whether to renew this permission for another three years. A permanent solution to this problem appears precluded by the free trade agreements to which the United States is a party. This paper examines the legal background of this matter.
I would like to draw your attention to a copyright case in Colombia in which biology student Diego Gomez is facing criminal charges after sharing a Master Thesis written by another Colombian biologist (without asking for permission) in 2011 on the Internet. We believe this case is evidence of exaggerated criminal copyright laws, and also evidence of the need to rethink the way that science circulates. I can give more information to those of you that might be interested.
[Krista Cox, Association of Research Libraries, Link (CC-BY)] The written testimony of four of the five witnesses speaking at the July 15, 2014 House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Moral Rights, Termination Rights, Resale Royalty and Copyright Term, address the issue of copyright term. Notably, none of these witnesses suggest that the current term be extended further and Professor of Law Michael Carroll argues that the current term of protection is too long. Although the other witnesses did not propose extension of copyright, it should be noted that Rick Carnes, President of the Songwriters Guild of America, asserts that the current copyright term in the United States is appropriate and should not be shortened.
[Cross posted from Creative Commons-USA, Link, (CC-BY)] Chairman Coble, Ranking Member Nadler, Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Conyers, and members of the Subcommittee, my name is Michael Carroll, and I am a member of the faculty at American University Washington College of Law, where I direct the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property and serve as the Public Lead for Creative Commons USA. Creative Commons USA is the United States’ project that works under the terms of an agreement with Creative Commons, Inc., a global non-profit corporation headquartered in California. Creative Commons has agreements with projects in more than 70 countries through which the local project is authorized to represent Creative Commons at the national level. Creative Commons and Creative Commons USA have some experiences and legal tools that are relevant to the topics of today’s hearing.
The Intellectual Property section of the American Bar Association has called on Congress to craft new legislation to fight infringement by “Predatory Foreign Websites” (PFW). In a white paper titled A Call for Action for Online Piracy and Counterfeiting Legislation, the group makes a number of recommendations, including the creation of a private right of action allowing rightholders to seek civil remedies. Specific civil remedies should include: “(1) injunctions directing financial payment processors to freeze the assets of PFWs and to cease doing business with such websites; (2) injunctions preventing online advertisers from paying PFWs or from displaying further ads on those websites; (3) injunctions requiring search engines to remove PFWs from paid, sponsored links; (4) injunctions requiring website hosts to cease hosting PFWs;
The WILMap is a detailed English-language resource comprised of case law, statutes, and proposed laws related to intermediary liability worldwide. The WILMap allows visitors to the CIS website to select information on countries of interest through a graphical user interface.
[Mary-Jane Matsolo, Treatment Action Campaign, Link (CC-BY-SA)] Over 70 organisations globally have called on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to urgently finalise South Africa’s National Intellectual Property (IP) Policy in an open letter delivered today. You can find a PDF of the open letter below. The Fix the Patent Law campaign thanks all signatories for their support for improving access to medicines in South Africa!
[Press release, government of Hong Kong, Link] The Government will introduce the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014 into the Legislative Council (LegCo) on June 18 to update Hong Kong’s copyright regime and ensure that it keeps pace with technological and overseas developments.
The Bill also provides a number of copyright exceptions to facilitate reasonable uses of copyright works.
[UPDATE: the draft bill is published - Copyright Amendments Bill 2014.]
Xinhua reports that the Chinese government has released a draft amendment to its copyright law for public comment. The amendment would raise penalties from 100,000 yuan (16,025 USD) to 250,000 yuan (40,063 USD), and would give law enforcement greater powers to seize illicit goods. It is seeking comments on the legislation until July 5.
Source: Xinhua English. “China mulls increased copyright infringement penalties.“
[Naomi Korn, CILIP, Link (CC-BY-SA)] 20 years of hard work by our sector has resulted, at last, in the recognition that copyright laws are out of kilter with the digital age and many of the activities taking place across our libraries, archives, museums and educational establishments, need to be supported by fit for purpose exceptions. This will create legal certainty and achieve a better balance between creators rights and user needs, and in doing this make copyright itself stronger.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has signed legislation to allow free access to scientific and academic works made possible by public funding. According to the President’s statement, the legislation will “create the National Repository of Open Access to Scientific Information Resources, Technology and Innovation, Quality and Social and Cultural Interest, which will be available for the whole society.” [this is a Google translation]
Derechos Digitales and AccessNow have launched RedLatAm, a new website that describes the changing landscape of digital rights in Latin America. It includes country-by-country information on laws and legislation concerning intellectual property, personal data protection, network neutrality, and computer crime.
The report (in Spanish) is available at https://redlatam.org/es