Abstract: In 2015, Spain’s new copyright law entered into effect including many new provisions including one that requires Universities to pay Collecting Societies for using manuals and textbooks made available online in virtual campuses. This license cannot be waived and means that Universities have to pay even for works released under free licenses, such as Creative Commons, and for works already in the public domain. This weakens the protection offered by limits such as the one in favor of educational uses (art. 32 of the Spanish copyright act) and also reduces the public domain as it establishes unalienable licenses for content no longer in copyright.
Creative Commons USA and over 100 other groups have sent a letter to President Obama urging a policy to ensure that “educational materials created with federal funds… are made available to the public as Open Educational Resources to freely use, share, and build upon” through the use of open licenses. The letter further notes that “the global standard for public copyright licensing for copyrighted content is Creative Commons. Existing U.S. Government grant programs including the TAACCCT and First in the World Programs mentioned above, use the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). Releasing materials under a standard license, such as CC-BY, allows for increased reuse and compatibility between materials produced by different institutions, including private charitable foundations and other national governments.”
[Timothy Vollmer, Creative Commons, Link, (CC-BY)] Today Creative Commons and 22 other organizations published a letter urging the publishing giant Elsevier to alter its newly revised policy regarding the sharing and hosting of academic articles so that it better supports access to scholarly research.
Elsevier’s new policy, announced 30 April 2015, is detrimental to article authors as well as those seeking access to these research papers.
I am writing to urge you to use your authority as Secretary of Veterans Affairs to break the patents on Hepatitis C medications for the treatment of veterans suffering with the disease.
Last December, as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I held a hearing about the high price of Hepatitis C drugs and the impact of those high prices on access to treatment for veterans. At the time, I raised concerns that the price of these new Hepatitis C drugs, specifically Sovaldi, which is manufactured by Gilead Sciences, even when discounted, would preclude veterans from accessing these life-changing drugs.
[Cross posted from the CCUSA blog, Link (CC-BY)] In all my time with Creative Commons, I’ve come to see that support comes from people across a wide spectrum of creators. For some, the Creative Commons licenses and their related icons provide the vocabulary and the solidarity around the sharing that they would engage in over the Internet even if the licenses did not exist. For others, the licenses are needed to free users from copyright constraints that would otherwise inhibit or prohibit uses that the creator wants to promote.
[Yale Global Health Partnership press release] Just last week, worldwide leaders came together in Geneva, Switzerland at the World Health Organization to begin to develop a five-year strategy to combat Hepatitis C. The disease, which affects 185 million people worldwide – five times as many people as HIV, predominantly in low-and middle-income countries – has been called a silent epidemic. Now, a new report by Yale’s Global Health Partnership (GHJP), the Treatment Action Group (TAG) and the Initiative for Medicines, Access and Knowledge (I-MAK) warns that global efforts to extend treatment to millions is in peril unless key obstacles to access are confronted immediately… strategies used with other diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS, to extend treatments to millions who need it has largely depended on getting less expensive, generic versions of these drugs on the market, by pressuring companies to allow other manufacturers to produce their drugs.
[Reposted from the Medicines Patent Pool, Link, (CC-BY-NC-ND)] The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) announced a licence today with MSD, known as Merck in the United States and Canada, for paediatric formulations of raltegravir, a key medicine approved for children living with HIV four weeks of age and older. With the new licence, generic manufacturers and other companies based anywhere in the world can develop, manufacture and sell low cost, paediatric versions of raltegravir in countries with the highest burden of disease, where 98 percent of children with HIV in the developing world live.
[Cross-posted from Afro-Leo, Link (CC-BY)] A report entitled ‘Copyright policy and the right to science and culture’ authored by the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Farida Shaheed has been released (download it here, ref A/HRC/28/57 ).
The document summary reads: “In the present report, the Special Rapporteur examines copyright law and policy from the perspective of the right to science and culture, emphasizing both the need for protection of authorship and expanding opportunities for participation in cultural life. Recalling that protection of authorship differs from copyright protection, the Special Rapporteur proposes several tools to advance the human rights interests of authors. The Special Rapporteur also proposes to expand copyright exceptions and limitations to empower new creativity, enhance rewards to authors, increase educational opportunities, preserve space for non-commercial culture and promote inclusion and access to cultural works. An equally important recommendation is to promote cultural and scientific participation by encouraging the use of open licences, such as those offered by Creative Commons.”
[Updated Jan 5] The U.S. International Trade Commission has released its report on Indian trade, investment and industrial policies, including but not limited to intellectual property rights. The full report is here and the the press release is here.
The report was based on “a survey of U.S. companies doing business in India; a quantitative analysis of the effects on the U.S. economy; and qualitative research, including a hearing and fieldwork, to produce case studies and examples that help illustrate effects of the policies on particular companies or industries.”
[Lawyers Collective press release, Link] In a momentous decision that would have wide-ranging implication for access to medicines, the Supreme Court of India refused to entertain Bayer’s appeal to set aside the compulsory license (CL) on Sorafenib (Nexavar). The Supreme Court’s dismissal of Bayer’s Special Leave Petition against the Bombay High Court’s decision upholding of the CL concludes the legal proceedings on the first ever CL issued in India.
[Creative Commons, Link (CC-BY)] At its heart, Creative Commons is a simple idea. It’s the idea that when people share their creativity and knowledge with each other, amazing things can happen.
It’s not a new idea. People have been adapting and building on each other’s work for centuries. Musicians sample beats from each other’s music. Artists create entirely new works from other people’s images. Teachers borrow each other’s activities and lesson plans. Scientists build off of each other’s results to make new discoveries.
[Luz Marina Umbasia and Peter Maybarduk, Link to PDF] In July, Ecuador issued four compulsory licenses for medicines targeting cancer and arthritis treatment and immunological reception to kidney transplant. These licenses authorize cost-cutting generic competition with patented medicines, in exchange for royalty payments to the patent holders. Compulsory licensing is a crucial tool to expand access to medicines that are prohibitively expensive or whose costs place enormous burdens on budgets for health systems. Ecuador has again demonstrated international leadership by exercising its health rights.