Letter from 50 Legal Scholars to South African Government, re: Flexible Copyright Exceptions

[Joint Letter] We write in response to your request for public comments on South Africa’s planned copyright legislation reform. We are copyright scholars and experts from around the world who are interested in South Africa’s law reform process. Our interest arises both because of the leadership position of South Africa on the global stage and because we desire to be consumers of the products of culture and innovation that will be enabled by a properly balanced copyright system in your country. We write to urge South Africa to join and lead the emerging consensus among rapidly developing countries that inclusion of a generally applicable “flexible” copyright exception is a necessary component of modern copyright reform. Click here for more.

Open Education Week: Global Event Celebrates the Impact of Open Education on Teaching and Learning Worldwide

[Open Education Consortium press release]  The annual Open Education Week gets underway on Monday, March 9 with the theme The World Wants to Learn.  Open education encompasses resources, tools and practices that employ a framework of open sharing to improve educational access and effectiveness worldwide.  Open Education Week highlights open education efforts from around the world and provides an opportunity for educators, administrators, policy makers and learners to gain a greater understanding of open educational practices and impacts. Click here for more.

Colombian Constitutional Court Upholds Law No. 1680 of 2013, Safeguards the Right of the Blind to Works in Accessible Formats

[Luisa Fernanda Guzmán Mejía] Since its enactment, the Law No. 1680 of 2013 has been crucial for the recognition, respect and safeguard to the rights of the blind and low vision. Thanks to this Act, now they have free reading tools (such as Jaws screen reader software and Magic screen magnifier software), which enable autonomous and independent exercise of their rights. This standard has also made possible the substantial reduction of legal barriers responsible for the deficient supply of works in accessible formats already published, as it establishes an exception and limitation to copyright (Art. 12). Despite the importance of the Act for the effective inclusion and full participation for people who are blind and low vision in all aspects of life, it has been questioned before the Constitutional Court. Click here for more.

UNESCO Launches a New Publication on the Role of Internet Intermediaries

[UNESCO] “Fostering Freedom Online: the Role of Internet Intermediaries” is the title of a new title in the UNESCO Internet freedom series. With the rise of Internet intermediaries that play a mediating role on the internet between authors of content and audiences, UNESCO took a joint initiative, with the Open Society Foundations, the Internet Society, and Center for Global Communication Studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, to examine this recent historical phenomenon and how it impacts on freedom of expression and associated fundamental rights such as privacy. Click here for more.

The Author’s Place in the Future of Copyright

[Jane C. Ginsburg] Abstract: Two encroachments, one long-standing, the other a product of the digital era, cramp the author’s place in copyright today. First, most authors lack bargaining power; the real economic actors in the copyright system have long been the publishers and other exploiters to whom authors cede their rights. These actors may advance the figure of the author for the moral lustre it lends their appeals to lawmakers, but then may promptly despoil the creators of whatever increased protections they may have garnered. Click here for more.

In TPP, USTR Seeks To Boost Criminal Remedies Against IP Infringement

[William New] United States trade negotiators are seeking to set a “new regional standard” against intellectual property infringement in the Pacific region with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement under negotiation. And among the new tools it is seeking is to boost governments’ ability to criminalise IP infringement based on government information as well as that of rights holders, a US trade official said this week. Click here for the full story on IP Watch.