[Charlie Fripp, htxt.africa, Link (CC-BY-NC-SA)] After a series of public consultations and written submissions, South Africa’s somewhat controversial Copyright Amendment Bill will be put before parliament this month. The Bill has been both praised and criticised by activists at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as its effects are potentially far-reaching. Minister Rob Davies in the Department of Trade and Industry made the announcement through a Government Gazette, published on 5th July.
The European Union has published its report on the 12th round of Transatlantic Trade and Investment (TTIP) negotiations, held in Brussels Februiary 22-26. The full document is available here. The section reporting on the intellectual property negotiation (pp. 15-16) follows:
3.5 Intellectual property rights, including Geographical Indications
Given the efficiency of the respective systems, the EU’s intention in this area of negotiations is not to strive towards harmonisation but to identify issues of common interest where we can address divergences. The latest discussions continued to explore what elements a TTIP IPR chapter could include.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”) is a massive new trade agreement recently negotiated between the US and a host of countries including Australia, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Singapore, and Chile. The TPP’s IP Chapter (PDF) includes a series of provisions that address rightsholder abuse. While the agreement’s acknowledgment of abuse is salutary, and the protections it affords to users are real, these provisions rely largely on the discretion of judicial or administrative authorities, making the agreement’s protections for users less certain than protection for rightsholders.
Cross posted form ARL Policy Notes, Link (CC-BY)
On October 5, 2015, the twelve trade ministers of the TPP negotiating parties (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States) announced that they had come to an agreement on the large regional trade agreement that had been under negotiations for the past five years.
While the agreement has been criticized for a number of reasons, it is important to recognize the areas where the agreement has improved from the initial proposals made by the United States in February 2011. Civil society, technology companies and academics have participated throughout the negotiating process to improve the language of the final text and many of these efforts are reflected in the agreement.
[Electronic Information for Libraries, Link, (CC-BY))] On 3-4 September 2015, EIFL co-organized the first seminar in Nepal dedicated to library copyright issues, in cooperation with our partners, the Nepal Library and Information Consortium (NeLIC). The sub-regional seminar provided an introduction to copyright and the copyright system, as well as library provisions in the copyright law of Nepal and other countries. It focused on three important areas: the Marrakesh Treaty for persons with print disabilities, the development of open educational resources (OERs), and long-term preservation of knowledge.
We write in response to your request for public comments on South Africa’s planned copyright legislation reform. We’re grateful for the chance to make a contribution in support of this extraordinary effort on the part of the Department of Trade and Industry to modernize South African copyright law and – in so doing – to make South Africa an international leader in the field at a critical moment in its history.
Abstract: Copyright, originally conceived as a tool to protect the author and to provide incentives to create for the benefit of society, is nowadays more and more perceived as a mechanism to the advantage of “large, impersonal and unlovable corporations”. The inherent social dimension of copyright law has progressively been lost of sight by policy makers to the benefit of strictly individualistic, even egotistic conceptions. In the recent discourse on the strengthening of legal means of protection, copyright is more frequently presented as an investment-protection mechanism than a vehicle of cultural and social progress.
The South African government has introduced a draft Cybercrimes & Cybersecurity Bill for public comment. The Bill states that anyone who “sells, offers for download, distributes, or otherwise makes available” copyrighted works “by means of a computer network or an electronic communications network” will be guilty of an offense. Penalties include fines or up to three years imprisonment.
A workshop of academics and stakeholders on Internet Rights, Cultural Development and Balancing Features in South African Copyright Reform commended South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for its public release of a Copyright Amendment Bill that would expand and clarify many user rights in the Copyright Act. The general message from the stakeholders at the meeting to DTI was that the reform bill succeeds in addressing many of the most pressing issues for copyright reform today, putting in place a good structure through which the details of the provisions can be analyzed and improved.
[Linda Daniels, IP Watch, Link (CC-BY-NC-SA)] A conference here this week elicited a robust debate amongst intellectual property stakeholders in South Africa about the objectives of the far-reaching draft Copyright Amendment Bill.
The Internet Rights, Cultural Development and Balancing Features in South African Copyright Reform conference was held on 11 August in Pretoria.
Civil society project organized by IFLA, Link (CC-BY)
Over 50 organisations have signed The Hague Declaration on Knowledge Discovery in the Digital Age (www.thehaguedeclaration.com), which calls for immediate changes to intellectual property (IP) law and the removal of other barriers preventing widened and more equal access to data.
[Cross posted from brandonbutler.info] In a recent listicle on Medium, the Canadian writer John Degen, executive director of the Writers’ Union of Canada, described what he characterized as “5 Seriously Dumb Myths About Copyright the Media Should Stop Repeating.” Of course, Degen’s post takes aim at the usual straw man, a mythical “free culture” movement that hates all copyrights and wants them abolished. As a result, he ignores the complexity of the debate over copyright’s genuine costs and the real contributions of scholars who have shown the harm that unrestrained copyright can do.