Jul 232014
 

j-aReaders of this blog may be interested in checking out the text of the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement, which was signed on July 8.  The intellectual property chapter contains many of the copyright, trademark, and enforcement provisions under debate in the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations.  It also contains provisions on plant varieties and geographical indications.  (Patents are included, but are not covered as extensively as other forms of IPR). Continue reading »

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Jul 142014
 

US-EUNGO coalition urges European Commission to exclude mechanism from TTIP

[Joint press release by eight civil society organizations, PDF]  BRUSSELS—Several European and American health NGOs publicly criticised the inclusion of investor-to-state-dispute-settlement (ISDS) in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) today, warning that it will undermine public health policies of European Union (EU) Member States and severely jeopardise access to affordable medicines and public health protection. Continue reading »

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Jul 132014
 

nair[Meera Nair, Fair Duty, Link (CC-BY)]  ]Last week, international negotiators met in Ottawa to further discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. With the usual shroud of secrecy, few details regarding agenda and outcomes were released for public consumption. Nevertheless, based on a leaked copy of the chapter relating to intellectual property, there is sufficient reason for concern with respect to copyright. As reported last week (see Electronic Frontier Foundation here, Michael Geist here, Public Knowledge here, and VICE here) Canada’s copyright regime is likely to be challenged on at least two fronts: Continue reading »

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Jul 112014
 

 TPP experts briefing in Ottawa, 7-9-2014[Jeremy Malcolm and Maira Sutton, EFF, Link (CC-BY)] Due to the unprecedented secrecy surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations taking place this week in Ottawa, there was no formal opportunity to engage with negotiators about the concerns that EFF and many others have expressed—over issues such as the extension of copyright protection by 20 years, and the delegation of ISPs as copyright police with the power to remove content and terminate accounts.

With the alternative of allowing this round of negotiations to proceed without any public input on these important issues (and bearing in mind the maxim “If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad…”), EFF and its partners in the Our Fair Deal coalition decided to hold a side event of our own next to the venue of the negotiations. TPP negotiators were invited to watch keynote talks by two of Canada’s top copyright experts. Continue reading »

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Jul 092014
 
Image:  EFF (CC-BY)

Image: EFF (CC-BY)

[Jeremy Malcolm and Maira Sutton, EFF, Link, (CC-BY)]  Today, EFF and its partners in the global Our Fair Deal coalition join together with an even more diverse international network of creators, innovators, start-ups, educators, libraries, archives and users to release two new open letters to negotiators of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The TPP, although characterized as a free trade agreement, is actually far broader in its intended scope. Amongst many changes to which it could require the twelve negotiating countries to agree are a slate of increased rights and privileges for copyright rights holders. Continue reading »

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Jul 062014
 

sean at podiumFannie Rascle — French journalist (@fannierascle) working for a website called novethic.fr, interviewed me today for an article about TTIP and transparency. Here are her questions and my answers.

European Union documents relating to TTIP could be made public after a European Court of Justice ruling yesterday : do you think it is an important decision ?

I am not an expert on that opinion. I read it to say that the Commission has to justify its decisions to not release documents related to international negotiations. I believe that the justification is weak for not having any method for a country to  share with its own citizens proposals to change international law. The making of law should be the most public of our governmental activities. Continue reading »

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Jun 302014
 

US-EULast week, the Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) hosted a panel on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and access to medicines at the Capitol building. Videos of presentations have been posted to YouTube by Knowledge Ecology International. This blog is a quick writeup of the panel (see also, my notes on the TACD panel on TTIP, access to knowledge and digital rights.) Continue reading »

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Jun 262014
 

tacd_th_198x80Yesterday the Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) held an event on Capitol Hill about the trade agreement currently under negotiation by the US and the EU – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Videos of presentations have been posted to YouTube by Knowledge Ecology International. This blog is a quick writeup of the first panel, which discussed the agreement’s potential impact on access to knowledge and digital rights. Continue reading »

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Jun 242014
 

EU flagThe Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue is holding a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Stakeholder Forum today, featuring a morning panel on investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS).  Health Action International’s Joel Lexchin asked  European Chief Negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero if the proposed ISDS rules would allow court rulings over intellectual property to be grounds for a dispute by a drug company against a government.  He noted that this issue has held up the completion of the EU’s trade agreement with Canada.   Continue reading »

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Jun 192014
 

mrABSTRACT:  Australia and South Korea have signed a new free trade agreement – the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA). Is it a fair trade fairytale? Or is it a dirty deal done dirt cheap? Or somewhere in between? It is hard to tell, given the initial secrecy of the negotiations, and the complexity of the texts of the agreement …

Recommendation 4: The intellectual property chapter of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement 2014 is controversial. The proposed regime is one-sided and unbalanced. The intellectual property chapter is focused upon providing longer and stronger intellectual property rights for intellectual property owners. There is a failure to properly consider other public interest objectives – such as access to knowledge, the progress of science and the useful arts, and the promotion of innovation and competition.

Click here for the full submission.

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Jun 132014
 

michael-geist[Post on michaelgeist.ca, Link, (CC-BY)]  Canada and South Korea announced agreement on a comprehensive trade agreement earlier today. The focus is understandably on tariff issues, but the agreement also contains a full chapter on intellectual property (note that the governments have only released summaries of the agreement, not the full text, which is still being drafted). The IP chapter is significant for what it does not include. Unlike many other trade deals – particularly those involving the U.S., European Union, and Australia – the Canada-South Korea deal is content to leave domestic intellectual property rules largely untouched. The approach is to reaffirm the importance of intellectual property and ensure that both countries meet their international obligations, but not to use trade agreements as a backdoor mechanism to increase IP protections. Continue reading »

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May 212014
 

USTR SealLast week, USTR announced that it was closing a “partially open” meeting of the Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Small and Minority Business.  No reason was given for the closing of the meeting. But this led an office in Congress to request the Congressional Research Service to find out just how many open meetings of the ITACs there have been. The answer:

Since 2004, there have been 13 “partially open” meetings of ITACS. Oddly, all but one of the open meetings were of the small and minority business committee. Continue reading »

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