Postponed Africa IP Forum Scheduled for February 2013
[Caroline Ncube] The African IP forum which was scheduled for April 2012 and was postponed in response to contested calls for a more balanced program and representation of views, has now been scheduled for the last week of February in 2013. Details for speakers have not yet been released but the program is available. Click here for more.
Industry and Civil Society Comments for the Special 301 Review
[Mike Palmedo] The U.S. Trade Representative has posted the comments it has received for the 2013 Special 301 Review. In all, USTR received 30 comments from American or multinational firms and trade associations; seven from civil society groups or coalitions of civil society groups; two from foreign business, and one from an individual. Foreign governments have extra time to submit their comments, though the Panamanian submission is already posted. The civil society submissions were from Public Knowledge, Consumers International, Health GAP, Public Citizen, Knowledge Ecology International, and the Karisma Foundation. Additionally, a joint submission drafted by PIJIP staff and faculty was signed by eleven civil society groups and individuals. Click here for more.
Indian NGO Letter to Ministry of Commerce: “Making Public Libraries Accessible to People with Disabilities”
[Letter from 20 Indian Civil Society Organizations] We, the organizations representing persons with disabilities listed at the end of this document would like to bring to your attention for your urgent remedial action on the barriers faced by persons with disabilities in accessing public libraries in the country. As you are aware, India has approximately 150 million persons with disabilities who have the inalienable fundamental right to life as enshrined in the Constitution including the right to seek knowledge and education. Public libraries play a critical role in creating an enabling environment for citizens to gain knowledge, information and education. This is particularly true in the case of persons with disabilities who have limited access to purchase books through mainstream shops due to various barriers including lack of physical access to shops, lack of availability of books in accessible formats like Braille, etc. Click here for more.
The EU Commission’s Outrageous Attempt to Avoid Copyright Reform
[Reposted from La Quadrature du Net, CC-BY-SA] Brussels, 4 Feb 2013 — Today starts “Licences for Europe”, an initiative by the European Commission to discuss the issues of today’s copyright regime. Instead of planning for a broad reform that would break away with full-on repression of cultural practices based on sharing and remixing, the Commission is setting up a parody of a debate. 75% of the participants to the working-group concerning “users” are affiliated with the industry1 and the themes and objectives are defined so as to ensure that the industry has its way and that nothing will change. Through this initiative, the EU Commission shows its contempt of the many citizens who participated in defeating ACTA and are still mobilized against repressive policies. Click here for more.
WTO, WIPO, WHO Joint Report on Health, IP, and Trade
[Mike Palmedo] The World Trade Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization, and World Health Organization jointly released a new report: “Promoting Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation: Intersections between public health, intellectual property and trade.” The report discusses a number of issues that may be of interest to readers of this blog, including the link between medicine prices and the human right to health; the policy framework surrounding innovation for new medicines; the failure of market based innovation models to spur R&D for neglected diseases; ways that countries can utilize flexibilities in TRIPS to maximize access to medicines; and the role of TRIPS-Plus trade agreements in reducing these flexibilities. Click here for more.
South Korea Inks Copyright Protection Deal With Vietnam
[Maricel Estavillo for Intellectual Property Watch] South Korea, has signed an agreement with Vietnam for stronger collaboration in the area of copyright protection… A copy of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the fields of copyright and related rights was posted on the official website of Vietnam’s Copyright Office on 7 February. “The purpose of this MoU is to establish a collaborative relation between the parties in the fields of copyright and related rights, to encourage mutual cooperation in order to protect the rights of authors and the neighbouring rights, and to promote fair use of works and to endeavor to improve and develop the culture and creative industries between the two countries,” reads the agreement. Click here for the full story on IP Watch.