A draft report by the Australian Productivity Commission (APC) concludes that the current copyright law fails to properly balance the interests of copyright holders and users. It warns that “Australia’s copyright arrangements are weighed too heavily in favour of copyright owners, to the detriment of the long-term interests of both consumers and intermediate users.” The APC makes recommends changes to the law to address the imbalance, including “the introduction of a broad, principles-based fair use exception.” This follows the 2013 Australian Law Reform Commission report on Copyright in the Digital Economy, which also recommended that Australia amend its copyright law to include fair use.
Intellectual property scholars and researchers from prominent universities in the U.S., Canada and Australia have released a submission to the Australian Productivity Commission strongly criticizing a report by PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PWC) on the economics of fair use (PWC Report).”
According to the Academics’ Submission:
The diffuse and forward-looking benefits of open exceptions like fair use may be hard to measure, but they are no less real. The PWC’s evaluation of the costs and benefits of fair use are not real. It is full of imagined horror stories that are unlikely to take place in fact.
Abstract: It has been nearly twenty years since section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act established the so-called notice and takedown process. Despite its importance to copyright holders, online service providers, and Internet speakers, very little empirical research has been done on how effective section 512 is for addressing copyright infringement, spurring online service provider development, or providing due process for notice targets.
This report includes three studies that draw back the curtain on notice and takedown:
[Paul Keller, Communia Assoc., Link (CC-0)] We spend a lot of effort pointing out that additional copyright, like rights for specific groups of rights holders, are a problematic concept that has potential to cause a lot of damage to the Public Domain. Most of our coverage has focused on efforts to establish an ancillary copyright for press publishers. We have seen the introduction of such rights first in Germany and then in Spain in recent years, and in both cases the legislators have failed to reach their objective. Especially in In Spain the newly introduced rights have caused so much collateral damage that the news publishers themselves (who were supposed to be the beneficiary) have come out against the concept of an ancillary copyright.
Last week, President Obama signed the Trade Enforcement and Trade Facilitation Act of 2015 into law. It made news primarily due to the provisions allowing Customs to block entry of goods made by slave labor, but readers of this blog might also be interested in the section on trademark and copyright enforcement. The bill requires customs officers to share information with rightholders upon suspicion that an import is infringing, it allows the seizure of anti-circumvention tools, and it sets up a new IPR “Coordination Center” within Immigration and Customs Enforcement. There are also coordination, reporting and training requirements.
[Australian Digital Alliance, Link (CC-BY)] This week is Fair Use Week/Fair Dealing Week, and initiative started by the Association of Research Libraries which celebrates the importance of flexible exceptions to copyright systems around the world.
So it seems like the perfect time to look again at the fair use debate in Australia. A few years ago the Australian Law Review Committee (ALRC) recommended that Australia adopt a fair use exception to replace its current fair dealing exceptions, as well as a number of other exceptions in our Copyright Act. The Productivity Commission is in the process of considering this recommendation, along with other potential changes to Australia’s IP system, and is due to report in August.
But what exactly was the ALRC recommending?
[Kate Ribet, MSF/Fix the Patent Laws, Link (CC-BY-SA)] Leading up to World Cancer Day (4 February 2016), the Fix the Patent Laws coalition released a short video highlighting how shortcomings in South Africa’s patent laws contribute to barriers to access for critical breast cancer medicine trastuzumab. The Fix the Patent Laws coalition is a coalition of 18 patient groups, including the Cancer Alliance, and Alliance members: the Cancer Association of Southern Africa and People Living with Cancer.
Watch the video here.
This briefing document provides background on trastuzumab and patent-related barriers to access.
Dugie Standeford for IP-Watch, Link (CC-BY-NC-SA)
The Nigerian government has continued to make progress toward new copyright legislation in recent weeks, but efforts appear to have become less transparent, as the results of a public comment period that ended weeks ago have not been made available and as of press time the draft copy of the bill was no longer available on the Copyright Commission website.
PIJIP Professors Carroll, Jaszi, and Flynn have submitted comments to the Nigerian Copyright Commission, which has posted a Draft Copyright Bill (2015) for public review. The release is part of its Project on the Reform of the Nigerian Copyright System, started in 2012 to “the promotion of a knowledge based and innovation driven economy for Nigeria and enhance the interests of Nigeria’s core cultural industries” and bring the country into compliance with trade obligations (among other objectives).
[Cross posted from Medium] Published by the Australian Government on the 20th March 2014, the independent “Pharmaceutical Patents Review Report” recommends to shorten and reduce patent term extensions, to address the problems of evergreening and data protection, and to reverse Australia’s passive approach to the negotiation of intellectual property and international trade. The report emphasizes the need for Australia to protect its public health interests in the negotiation of the “Trans-Pacific Partnership.”
This week, the secrecy surrounding an independent Australian report on patent law and pharmaceutical drugs has been lifted, and the work has been published to great acclaim.
[Gisela Pérez de Acha and Pepe Flores, Digital Rights LAC, Link (CC-BY)] On November 6 2015, the Mexican Ministry of Economy made public the Spanish version of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), allowing a wider view about the effects that the chapter regarding intellectual property will have on Mexican legislation and how human rights on the digital environment will be affected. One thing is sure: Mexico has a lot more to lose that it has to win with the made agreements.
TPP’s final draft has confirmed what was previewed on the leaks made by WikiLeaks: the agreement will promote negative changes on copyrights, access to culture or intermediary liability. This implies that local legislation must align to TPP’s dispositions, which in turn will bring significant impact on rights. In Mexico’s case, the consequences on the matter of intellectual property will be devastating, promoting a scheme based on restrictions and sanctions out of proportion.
[Electronic Information for Libraries, Link (CC-BY)] The new Polish Copyright Act [link in Polish] enters into force on 20th November 2015 bringing library services in Poland into the twenty-first century.
Major new provisions enabling digitization for socially beneficial purposes, such as education and preservation of cultural heritage, are the centrepiece for libraries of the new law. The law also implements a European Directive enabling the use of orphan works (in-copyright works where the copyright holder cannot be identified or found to obtain permission), and an EU Memorandum of Understanding on the use of works that are no longer commercially available. In addition, the introduction of public lending right is limited to works in public libraries.