[Teresa Hackett, Electronic Information for Libraries, Link (CC-BY)] EIFL is participating in Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week, an annual celebration designed to highlight and promote the opportunities presented by fair use and fair dealing, celebrate success stories, and explain these doctrines. Over 40 countries around the world have fair use or fair dealing in their copyright laws. In this blog, Teresa Hackett, EIFL’s Copyright and Libraries Programme Manager, discusses the evolution of fair dealing in the copyright laws of five EIFL partner countries: Botswana, Ghana, Malawi, Lesotho, Myanmar and Uganda.
[Meera Nair, Fair Duty, Link (CC-BY-NC-SA)] Tomorrow marks the start of Fair Dealing Week in Canada. There is much to be proud of with the steady advance in the realm of exceptions, gained not by intemperate action but by deliberative thought on the part of the judiciary, the government, the Copyright Board, and, institutions and individuals across the country. A moment of celebration and pride is warranted. Yet, significant challenges remain. Educational institutions continue to be a favorite target with copyright owners. Those who take aim at fair dealing lack a cogent argument grounded in either legality or economics, and so must rely on hyperbole. The picture painted is that educational institutions steal from an industry which is on its deathbed, to the detriment of those individuals who carry the very soul of the nation.
[Reposted from Creative Commons, Link (CC-BY)] The “Safe harbor” provisions of the DMCA have been critical to build the internet as we know it today. Provisions like this one have given space to intermediaries providing platforms to host and transmit user-generated content without being held responsible for third party acts. The above is the legal reason explaining innovation on user-generated platforms and ways to communicate and, as a consequence, enhance rights such as freedom of expression.
[Anubha Sinha, CIS-India, Link (CC-BY)] The latest judgment in the matter of Super Cassettes v. Myspace is a landmark and progressive ruling, which strengthens the safe harbor immunity enjoyed by Internet intermediaries in India. It interprets the provisions of the IT Act, 2000 and the Copyright Act, 1957 to restore safe harbor immunity to intermediaries even in the case of copyright claims. It also relieves Myspace from pre-screening user-uploaded content, endeavouring to strike a balance between free speech and censorship. CIS was one of the intervenors in the case, and has been duly acknowledged in the judgment.
The Australian Government Productivity Commission has released its final report on ‘Intellectual Property Arrangements,’ which recommends a number of reforms to IP law, including changes to the law on patents, copyrights and enforcement.
Regarding copyright and related rights, the Australian Government Productivity Commission warns that the scope of works eligible protection is too broad and the term of protection is too long, forcing copyright users face higher costs. It recommends clarifying the law on geoblocking and allowing parallel trade in books in order to expand access to works. The report recommends “Introducing a system of user rights, including the (well-established) principles–based fair use exception.”
[Prashant Reddy for IPKat, Link (CC-BY)] Academic publishing houses, OUP and CUP have suffered yet another defeat in their litigation against Delhi University and a photocopy shop when a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court ruled against them in an appeal on December 9, 2016. The crux of the lawsuit was whether the practice of photocopying copyrighted material and compiling them in course-packs was copyright infringement under Indian law. Given that universities and students have been photocopying copyrighted material for several years without any restrictions, the lawsuit had provoked an angry backlash from students and academics – both of whom then organised themselves into an association and intervened in the case.
[Creative Commons blog, Link (CC-BY)] Below is an update from Creative Commons Indonesia, who recently worked with their national copyright office on proposed changes to law that will secure the ability of creators to use CC and other open licenses there.
In late 2014, Indonesia amended its copyright law to add several new provisions, including changes having to do with database rights, addressing copyright as an object in a collateral agreement, and making license recordation mandatory. The latter is something that could potentially be an issue with regard to the operation of Creative Commons licenses, as well as other open license in Indonesia.
[Jorge Gemetto, Creative Commons Uruguay, Link (CC-BY)] Last week, 14 people were convicted by an Uruguayan judge for the crime of making copies of educational resources. The defendants, owners of copy shops located near the University of the Republic (Universidad de la República) in Montevideo, have been sentenced to seven months in prison, although the judge has conditionally suspended the imprisonment. The case began in 2013, when a major police operation shuttered copy shops in the area surrounding the University, confiscated photocopy machines, and detained 32 people.
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.
The U.S. Copyright Office is requesting comments on Section 1201 of Title 17, which governs the circumvention of copyright protection systems. The deadline for submitting comments is October 27. There has been a previous round of comments associated with this study, and earlier comments are available here.
The Copyright Office’s federal register notice includes three specific areas of inquiry (though interested parties may address “any other pertinent issues” related to Section 1201).
[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.
Last week, the USTR-led inter-agency Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) held a hearing on China’s compliance with WTO obligations, to inform its upcoming report to Congress on the matter. Comments submitted by Carl Schonander of the Software & Information Industry Association incorrectly claim Chinese patent law contains compulsory licensing provisions that do not comply with the TRIPS Agreement because compulsory licenses are intended for use in “national emergencies or other circumstances of extreme urgency.” Similar misreadings TRIPS Article 31 have come up (and been put down) in the IP and access to medicines debate, but this is the first time I’ve seen it regarding software.