As the Trans Pacific Partnership creeps toward an end game (which appears far off) it may be worth spending more time discussing positive proposals for amending the proposal in various ways. I have previously written on ideas for positive proposals from the perspective of the non-U.S. parties, both in the form of a short list of proposals and in a longer jointly-written article. This note focuses on copyright proposals for the TPP that should be of interest to U.S. negotiators in order to bring their proposal in line with their expressed policy goals as well as with recent copyright reform proposals discussed in Congress and by the Librarian of Congress.
[Posted to MichaelGeist.ca, (CC-BY)] Months after the Supreme Court of Canada delivered a stinging defeat to Access Copyright by ruling for an expansive approach to fair dealing and the government passed copyright reforms that further expanded the scope of fair dealing, the copyright collective responded yesterday with what amounts to a desperate declaration of war against fair dealing. In the aftermath of the court decisions and legislative reforms, a consensus emerged within the Canadian education community on the scope of fair dealing. The fair dealing policies used guidance from the Supreme Court to establish clear limits on copying and eliminate claims that the law was now a free-for-all. In developing those fair dealing policies, however, many institutions no longer saw much value in the Access Copyright licence.
Tobacco giant, Philip-Morris, brought actions this year under investor-State arbitration mechanisms in investment treaties to challenge laws limiting (in Uruguay) or prohibiting (in Australia) the display of its trademarks in tobacco packaging. This has caused the Australian government to take a strong stance against any investor-State arbitration provisions in free trade agreements (FTAs), including exemptions from the proposed investor-state settlement provisions of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), currently being negotiated. However, a closer look reveals a broad collection of older treaties that do not contain exceptions in modern treaties that could have avoided this situation. As a multinational-enterprise, Philip-Morris has attempted to evade these exceptions by going through subsidiaries to bring claims under more favorable treaties. This reveals that Australia’s new stance against investor-State arbitration may do nothing to prevent similar claims being brought in the future.
On July 6, 2012, China’s National Copyright Administration published a Second Draft for a new (third) revision (Chinese version) to the Copyright Law for the People’s Republic of China 《中华人民共和国著作权法》. Once adopted, this will become the Third Revision to the Copyright Law since it was originally enacted in 1990. Changes in the Second Draft from the First Draft published March 31, 2012 (Original Chinese / English translation by China Copyright and Media) represent a move to a more American system, including both an “open list” of exceptions to exclusive rights and a pseudo-“three step test” to which these exceptions must conform. I have also translated the Chapter on The Limitations to Rights from the Second Draft (highlighting the differences between the two recent drafts).
Fernando Quirós reports in the Tico Times that President Chinchilla of Costa Rica has signed a decree to protect photocopying of textbooks.
A new law was recently passed to bring the nation into compliance with the Central American Free Trade Agreement. Law 8,039 included criminal sanctions for IP crimes, as well as an exception for copying for academic uses. However, student groups were concerned that the exception would not apply to the for-profit copy shops that surround most universities – where most students buy low priced copies of texts. A bill that would strike the criminal provisions of Law 8,309 was passed by the legislature, then vetoed by President Chinchilla. Student groups held demonstrations protesting the veto, and some legislators suggested trying to override it. To end the dispute, the president issued an executive order to clarify that the exception for academic copies does apply to copies made at for-profit copy shops.
Yesterday, in a situation a similar to Colombia’s rushed passage of “Ley Lleras 2,” the Panamanian Congress sprinted to finalization of an incredibly unbalanced copyright bill — Bill no. 510, “On Copyright and Related Rights.” The bill is meant to bring the country into compliance with its trade obligations under the US-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement. The legislation now awaits the Presidents signature, which appears all but certain to happen soon, perhaps today. Over the past week, there has been increasing attention to the provisions of the bill giving financial incentives to enforcement agents from fines collected for copyright infringements on the internet. This note describes three substantive issues showing the bill’s marked imbalance: lack of protection for transient electronic copies on the internet; a shift from an “open” to a “closed list” system of limitations and exceptions; and a requirement that all limitations and exceptions for users of copyrighted content be interpreted “strictly.”
We appreciate having had the opportunity to meet recently with members of the Administration regarding the position the United States has taken concerning limitations and exceptions in copyright law as part of the Intellectual Property chapter of the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). We write to follow up by expressing our views on language the United States could propose that we believe would help it answer some of the criticisms that the U.S. position is insufficiently attentive to the public interest.
In an unprecedented action the Colombian Copyright Office opened a consultation process for citizen participation on the instrument for limitations and exceptions to copyright for the visually impaired that is currently in discussions at WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (see the WIPO working document, in Spanish).
The Colombian’s Copyright Office’s mechanism is far from perfect, moreover, the institution’s terrible web page does not help to promote citizen participation.
[repost from La Quadrature du Net] Now that the ACTA treaty has been rejected by the European Parliament, a period opens during which it will be possible to push for a new regulatory and policy framework adapted to the digital era. Many citizens and MEPs support the idea of reforming copyright in order to make possible for all to draw the benefits of the digital environment, engage into creative and expressive activities and share in their results. In the coming months and years, the key questions will be: What are the real challenges that this reform should address? How can we address them?
[Reposted from CIS-India.org] There are some welcome provisions in the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2012, and some worrisome provisions. Pranesh Prakash examines five positive changes, four negative ones, and notes the several missed opportunities. The larger concern, though, is that many important issues have not been addressed by these amendments, and how copyright policy is made without evidence and often out of touch with contemporary realities of the digital era.
The Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2012 has been passed by both Houses of Parliament, and will become law as soon as the President gives her assent and it is published in the Gazette of India. While we celebrate the passage of some progressive amendments to the Copyright Act, 1957 — including an excellent exception for persons with disabilities — we must keep in mind that there are some regressive amendments as well. In this blog post, I will try to highlight those provisions of the amendment that have not received much public attention (unlike the issue of lyricists’ and composers’ ‘right to royalty’).
This overview of copyright flexibilities in Israel consists of two parts. First, answers to a questionnaire on the state of copyright law, copyright flexibilities, and the current political context of copyright, which were provided by Michael Birnhack and Niva Elkin-Koren. The questionnaire was given to participants at a meeting on Limitations and Exceptions to Copyright hosted by IViR and PIJIP last December. The authors reviewed their answers before this overview was uploaded.
Second, a list of the limitations and exceptions to copyright in Israel’s laws, conducted by PIJIP fellow Marcela Palacio Puerta is presented. It is part of a larger project to map flexibilities in copyright law, and input is appreciated. Please send comments, corrections, or suggestions to email@example.com.