Joint Submission to the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Access to Medicines

[Sean Flynn, Cynthia Ho, David Levine, Gabriel Levitt, Heesob Nam, Alina Ng, and Andrew Rens] This statement calls on the High-Level Panel to promote policy coherence in the international intellectual property, human rights and global health system in part through a strong articulation and examination of the implications of the human rights duty to interpret and implement all legislation to promote the right to health and corresponding rights to access needed medicines. The submission describes why such a mandate – from the lens of international economic theory – would lead to the conclusion that states must make maximum use of routine compulsory licensing programs for pharmaceuticals to rectify intellectual property and health concerns. It then articulates how adoption of the interpretive rule should justify and motivate specific government actions – including minimizing the scope of patent rights and maximizing the use of routine compulsory licensing – that would help reduce the incoherence between rights of inventors, international human rights laws, trade rules, and public health objectives. Click here for more.

Fairness Confirmed: Copyright Board Deals Another Blow to Access Copyright

[Michael Geist] In the aftermath of the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2012 copyright pentalogy that strongly affirmed the importance of user’s rights and the need for a broad, liberal interpretation for fair dealing, Access Copyright insisted that the decisions did not mean what they said. While educational groups developed reasonable fair dealing guidelines based on the decisions (along with earlier decisions such as the CCH case and the inclusion of education within the fair dealing purposes in 2012 reforms), Access Copyright argued that the copying required its licence and that fair dealing guidelines based on general percentages could not be used. Click here for more.

Why Do We Want Fair Use in Australia?

[Australian Digital Alliance]  This week is Fair Use Week/Fair Dealing Week, and initiative started by the Association of Research Libraries which celebrates the importance of flexible exceptions to copyright systems around the world. So it seems like the perfect time to look again at the fair use debate in Australia. A few years ago the Australian Law Review Committee (ALRC) recommended that Australia adopt a fair use exception to replace its current fair dealing exceptions, as well as a number of other exceptions in our Copyright Act. The Productivity Commission is in the process of considering this recommendation, along with other potential changes to Australia’s IP system, and is due to report in August. But what exactly was the ALRC recommending? Click here for more.

See also:  Numerous posts, videos and more on fair use and fair dealing at

African Journal of Information and Communication Call for Submissions for Thematic Issue on Knowledge Governance for Development

[AJIC, Link Centre, University of Witwatersrand] The African Journal of Information and Communication (AJIC) invites submissions to its Issue 19, 2016, which will be a thematic issue focusing on matters of “Knowledge Governance for Development”. AJIC is a peer-reviewed, open access journal published under a Creative Commons (CC BY 4.0) licence by the LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg. Submissions should touch on an element or elements of knowledge governance (e.g., knowledge creation, access, use, sharing, transfer, management, appropriation) in relation to socio-economic development in Africa, and/or elsewhere in the developing world with relevance to Africa, through focus on one or more of the following: … Click here for more.

Brazil Launches Public Consultation on Copyright in the Digital Environment

[Mariana Giorgetti Valente and Jonas Coelho Marchezan] Last Monday, February 15, the Brazilian Ministry of Culture launched a new public consultation (PT) about copyright. This time, the intention is to promote a discussion about the Regulatory Instruction (PT) that aims to regulate the collection and distribution of royalties for copyrighted works in the digital environment. … The Regulatory Instruction under debate establishes a general system through which associations can become eligible for collecting and distributing royalties related to all sorts of works in the digital environment. Click here for more.

Sneaky Change to the TPP Drastically Extends Criminal Penalties

[Jeremy Malcolm] When the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was first released in November last year, it included provisions dictating the kinds of penalties that should be available in cases of copyright infringement. Amongst those provisions, the following footnote allowed countries some flexibility in applying criminal procedures and penalties to cases of willful copyright infringement on a commercial scale… Click here for more.

Copyright and Trademark Enforcement Provisions in Trade Enforcement and Trade Facilitation Act of 2015

[Mike Palmedo] Last week, President Obama signed the Trade Enforcement and Trade Facilitation Act of 2015 into law. It made news primarily due to the provisions allowing Customs to block entry of goods made by slave labor, but readers of this blog might also be interested in the section on trademark and copyright enforcement. The bill requires customs officers to share information with rightholders upon suspicion that an import is infringing, it allows the seizure of anti-circumvention tools, and it sets up a new IPR “Coordination Center” within Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  There are also coordination, reporting and training requirements. Click here for more.

Patent Challenge Hearing on Gilead Hepatitis C Drug Sofosbuvir Starts in India

[Médecins Sans Frontières]  In proceedings that could have major implications for millions of people waiting for affordable access to a life-saving hepatitis C drug, the Indian Patent office this week will begin hearings to determine whether US pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences deserves a patent for sofosbuvir, a hepatitis C drug for which the company currently charges US$1,000 per pill in the US. Today’s hearings are in relation to a ‘patent opposition’ filed by lawyers from the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK) in November 2013 together with the Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+).  In it, lawyers argued that sofosbuvir was “old science,” and did not meet the standard needed for patenting in India. Click here for more.