Our Colombian Colleagues Marcela Palacio Puera, Andres Izquierdo, and Carolina Botero have drawn our attention to the breaking news that the Colombian Constitutional Court has struck down the Free Trade Agreement Copyright implementation bill known as “Lley Lleras 2” on procedural grounds.
Second Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest
The second Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest was hosted by the Center for Technology and Society at Fundação Getulio Vargas on December 15-17 in Rio de Janeiro. The meeting opened with a day-long public plenary, followed by sessions and workshops where participants planned work public interest IPR advocacy for the coming year. The next Global Congress has been scheduled for December 9-13, 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Global Congress on Intellectual Property in the Public Interest
On December 15-17, the Center for Technology and Society at Fundação Getulio Vargas will host the second Global Congress in Rio de Janiero. The theme for this year’s Congress will be “Setting the positive agenda in motion,” and will have a special focus on developments and opportunities in the so-called “BRICS” group of emerging economies. To this end, the event will feature a number of keynote reflections and panels on progress toward and resistance to the positive agenda, structural changes in the field of public interest IP, and opportunities for progress in the coming year.
Unprecedented lockout of stakeholders from TPP negotiating venue
[Statement by Jane Kelsey, University of Auckland] The New Zealand government has imposed unprecedented restrictions on registered stakeholders as it hosts the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations in Auckland this week. “We turned up this morning and found we are locked out of the entire Sky City Convention Centre for all 10 days except the so-called stakeholder day on Friday,” according to Professor Jane Kelsey, who has attended six previous rounds.
Philippines Copyright Legislation Clears Conference Committee
[Mike Palmedo] Legislation making a number of changes to the Philippines’ Republic Act 8293 (the Intellectual Property Code) has cleared the conference committee. The law makes a number of changes aimed at strengthening IP protection, but it also adds a specific copyright exception for the visually impaired. Sen. Manny Villar, Chairman of the Committee on Trade and Commerce and the Senate bill’s sponsor, stressed that the stronger protection is need for copyright industries in the Philippines, which account for 5% of the country’s GDP.
25th Meeting of the WIPO SCCR: November 19-23
Today is the opening of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s 25th meeting of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights. The meeting will include discussions on limitations and exceptions for visually impaired persons/persons with print disabilities; libraries and archives; and educational and research institutions. There will also be discussion on the protection of broadcasting organizations. Meeting documents, and a webcast of the proceedings are available here.
U.S. and Thailand Indicate Thai Interest in TPP; Do Not Indicate Rumored Entry Into Negotiations
During Obama’s Sunday trip to Thailand, the countries announced they will “convene the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Joint Council, which serves as a foundation for economic cooperation in this partnership.” Earlier last week, the Bangkok Post had reported that the nations were scheduled to announce that Thailand had “agreed to join negotiations” for the TPP, raising alarm among advocates for access to medicine. Fourteen Thai civil society groups wrote an open letter to PM Shinawatra warning that if Thailand joined the TPP, “access to medicines and the national public health system will be disadvantaged…” Seven American civil society groups wrote a letter to President Obama “to ask that you drop any demands that Thailand or other countries facing major public health crises change their intellectual property rules at the cost of the health of their people.” Click here for more.
Nature Publishing Group to Allow Authors to License Their Work Under Creative Commons Attribution Licenses
Earlier this month the Nature Publishing Group announced a new policy allowing authors of articles published in all 19 of its journals to publish under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. Authors choosing to make their work available under a CC-BY license will pay a “premium” article processing charge, which Nature says will make up for income it typically earns on reprints. Click here for more.
Africa: Let’s Re-Examine AU Intellectual Property Stance
Innocent Mawire, the principal law officer on the secretariat of the inter-ministerial committee on intellectual property at Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs writes in the Zimbabwean Independent: “There is need to defer the adoption of the Pan African Intellectual Property Organisation (PAIPO) by the AU to allow further discussions on the proposed draft statute with a view to enriching it so that Africa, like other continents, can benefit from the knowledge economy that is driven by the Intellectual Property (IP) system. The adoption of the PAIPO statute in its current form will be a serious indictment on the part of African leaders as it would not result in any meaningful realisation in terms of economic growth while at the same time it would jeopardise the much advanced negotiating positions on IP matters by African states at the World Trade Organisation as well as at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).” Click here for the full story on AllAfrica.com
FFII Brief to European Court of Justice on ACTA Rejected
Though the European Parliament voted down the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement in the face of widespread opposition, the European Court of Justice is still tasked with determining whether the treaty is compatible with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The Foundation for a Free Internet Infrastructure submitted an amicus brief to the European Court of Justice arguing that ACTA is not compatible with the Charter, nor is it compatible with a number of other international human rights instruments. The Court rejected the brief on the grounds that it doesn’t accept briefs from third parties. Click here for more.
Republican Group Publishes Proposals for Copyright Reforms, Retracts Report the Following Day
Last Friday, the Republican Study Committee published a report by staffer Derek Khanna titled Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix It. The brief received immediate attention and was redacted the following day. Khanna argues in the brief that the current copyright regime provides excessive terms of protection, carries excessive penalties, and no longer encourages innovation, as intended by the Constitution. The brief suggests four reforms – reforming statutory damages, expanding fair use, punishing false copyright claims, and limiting the term of copyright to 12 years, with options for periodic renewals in return for increasing fees. Even after a series of term extensions, the maximum proposed term would be 46 years. Click here for more.
Examples of Resistance to Open Education Initiatives in the U.S.
[William Xu] Recent developments in open licensing and technology have taken the movement to a tipping point. “Open” has become the buzz word in many educational communities, and Open Textbooks especially has generated wide interest. Pilot programs have demonstrated tremendous cost savings potential compared to traditional textbooks. Entrepreneurs are investing more in innovative technologies, and in turn increasing the interactivity and distribution potential of open education platforms. These developments have led to what some call an “educational renaissance”, and has even prompted some states and the federal government to incorporate OER in to the public education system. The losers in this story are the publishing industry and their supporters, who have relied on a monopoly on copyrighted textbooks for profit. Their resistance to the flurry of OER efforts throughout the nation is perhaps the best illustration of the shifting landscape in education. Click here for more.
Philippine Senate Passes Legislation That Changes Fair Use Provisions in Copyright Law
[Mike Palmedo] Legislation to change the copyright law of the Philippines has passed the third reading in the Senate. The law was sponsored by Senator Manny Villar, who is quoted in the press saying that “It is high time that we genuinely adhere to the international principle of fair use to limit the use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the owner.” Villar also noted that the U.S.-based International Intellectual Property Alliance had asked for the Philippines to be placed on the Special 301 Priority Watch List. The bill amends the existing law’s language on fair use to specify that it applies to a “limited number of” copies.
Pakistan to Establish Intellectual Property Tribunals
[Hafiz Aziz ur Rehman] Pakistan is almost set to establish specialized Intellectual Property Tribunals which would exercise exclusive jurisdiction on intellectual property cases (patents, copyright, trademark, designs, Integrated Circuits and selected sections of Pakistan Penal Code dealing with trademark and counterfeiting). It means that when these tribunals become functional, all cases related to relevant sections of the Pakistan Penal Code will eventually transfer to the tribunals. It is important to note that under the WTO-TRIPS Agreement, Pakistan has no obligation to establish specialized IP courts and several developing countries (including India) do not have dedicated intellectual property courts.
U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Arguments in Kirtsaeng v. Wiley
The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled today to hear oral arguments in Kirtsaeng v. Wiley, a case which revisits the relationship between the Copyright Act’s limits on importation of a copyrighted work without permission and the first sale doctrine. Supap Kirtsaeng helped to finance his doctorate in mathematics by having friends and family send him copies of textbooks sold at a lower price in Thailand and then selling them in the United States. Although these books were lawfully purchased in Thailand, Kirtsaeng was sued by John Wiley & Sons for copyright infringement.
Open Access Week Begins Today
October 22-28 is Open Access Week, “a global event for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research.” Numerous resources, including promotional materials, FAQs, and a list of events related to Open Access week are available is available at openaccessweek.org. There will be a kickoff event co-hosted by the World Bank and the Scholarly Publishing Academic and Resources Coalition today at 4pm EST, which will be webcast.
PIJIP and Public Citizen Event October 16 – “IP, Trade and Development”
PIJIP and Public Citizen will co-host a multidisciplinary event that will bring together academics, civil society, and policy makers to 1) examine how intellectual property affects economic growth in countries at different levels of development, and 2) analyze the way the United States ratifies trade agreements through Executive Agreements. A recorded webcast will be available the day following the event. Panelists: Walter Park, Jerome Reichman, Michael Ryan, David Langdon, Joe Damond, Burcu Kilic, Rashmi Rangnath, Oona Hathaway, Rochelle Dreyfuss. Hashtag: #ipdev
Mexico and Canada Formally Join TPP Negotiations
Today, Canada announced it has formally joined the TPP negotiations. Yesterday, Mexico issued a press release announcing it had formally joined the TPP negotiations and will hold an intercessional on Nov 12-15. Last week, Barbara Weisel, head of the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations for USTR, held a civil society briefing on the state of the negotiations where she discussed these nations’ impending entry. Canada and Mexico will participate in all TPP activities between now and the next round in December, and will likely have bilateral meetings with the U.S. and others to “get up to speed” on specific issues. USTR received numerous comments in response to its Federal Register notice requesting comments on the countries’ entrance into the negotiations.