Association for Progressive Communications: Draft Provisions for Amendment of the South Africa 1978 Copyright Act

[Emilar Vushe, Andrew Rens, and Anriette Esterhuysen] Executive Summary: South Africans should be able to make fair use of copyright materials. Fair use is important for technological innovation, reverse engineering, education and access to knowledge. Contracts and anti-circumvention rules should not be allowed to prevent South Africans from making fair use of copyright materials. South Africans should be able to bulk import copyright works including textbooks legitimately purchased outside South Africa. Click here for more.

Dizzy Yet? The Spin on Investor State Dispute Settlement Just Doesn’t Stop

[Celeste Drake] Recently the United States Trade Representative released a memo to reporters with Q&A’s on Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). ISDS is a mechanism by which foreign investors can challenge national governments, alleging that the government violated their investor rights. These rights include the right to be fairly compensated for expropriated property and to non-discriminatory treatment, but also the right to a “minimum standard of treatment,” which includes “fair and equitable treatment” and “full protection and security” and the right to be free from “performance requirements.” Click here for more.

US Ambassador Confirmed Patent Linkage Under Korea-US FTA Includes Biologics – and US Seeks the Same in TPP

[Heesob Nam] One of the controversies in implementing the KorUS FTA is whether biological products are subject to the patent linkage obligation of the KorUS FTA. The debate was provoked by the Korean government’s proposal which applies the patent linkage to biologics. But it is unclear if the FTA text imposes such an obligation. Click here for more.

Crucial Role of the Library, and the Book Famine for the Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled

[Caroline Ncube] Tomorrow will see the launch of the 2015 South African Library Week with the theme connect @ your library.  The value of reading for people of all ages is indisputable, as is the crucial role libraries play in making books available.  But, as we prepare to celebrate the value of books and the role of libraries, let’s spare a thought for those who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled (VIPs). There is general agreement that books are limited and expensive for sighted people, particularly those who are economically disadvantaged. Imagine how much more so they are for VIPs.  The World Blind Union rightly says that they experience a book famine. Click here for more.

Copyright and the Value of the Public Domain: An Empirical Assessment

[Kris Erickson, Paul Heald, Fabian Homberg, Martin Kretschmer, and Dinusha Mendis] The purpose of this research study is 1) to map the size of the public domain and frequency of its use; 2) analyse the role of public domain works in value creation for UK businesses; 3) assist creators and entrepreneurs to identify business models that benefit from the public domain. In addition to these outputs, the intellectual contribution of this project was to arrive at a sufficiently precise definition of the public domain to permit measurement of its value, and secondly, to critically appraise theories of creativity and innovation that explain how value might be generated from non-exclusive use of ideas and works available to all. Click here for more.

UNITAID NGO Delegation Expresses Strong Support for LDC Pharmaceutical Extension Request at WTO TRIPS Council

[Brook Baker] The NGO delegation to the Board of UNITAID offers its strong support for the proposal of WTO least developed country Members to extend the transition period for enforcing protections for pharmaceutical related patents and clinical data “for as long as the WTO member remains a least developed country.”  The proposal, IP/C/W/605, was offered by Bangladesh on behalf of LDCs at the 24-25 February 2015 meeting of the WTO TRIPS Council and will be taken forward at its next 1 June 2015 meeting.  Click here for more.

The Complexity Dialectic: A Case Study From Copyright Law

[Jonathan Band] Both political parties have begun to focus greater attention on the growing income inequality in the United States. While there probably are many factors contributing to the inequality, one factor has received relatively little attention: the nature of the U.S. political system encourages increasingly complex regulatory frameworks, which benefit those with more resources to navigate those frameworks. As the frameworks get more complex, the advantage of those with resources increases. Click here for more.

Copyright Policy and the Right to Science and Culture

[Theresa Hackett]  On 11 March 2015, the United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights presented her report ‘Copyright Policy and the Right to Science and Culture’ at the 28th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The thematic report examines copyright law and policy from the standpoint of the right to science and culture, recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 27) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Article 15), as well as in regional human rights conventions and national constitutions. Click here for more.

Congressional Progressive Caucus – “Principles for Trade: A Model for Global Progress”

Earlier this month the Progressive Congressional Caucused released principles for guiding trade negotiations intended to “create a net increase of good American jobs, spur more balanced trade between partners, and improve governance, public health, and environmental protections around the world.”  The full Principles for Trade are here (PDF).  The section titled “Secure Affordable Access to Essential Medicines and Services” follows. Click here for more.

Fair Use/Fair Dealing Handbook: Updated March 10 to include UK Fair Dealing amendments

[Jonathan Band] More than 40 countries with over one-third of the world’s population have fair use or fair dealing provisions in their copyright laws. These countries are in all regions of the world and at all levels of development. The broad diffusion of fair use and fair dealing indicates that there is no basis for preventing the more widespread adoption of these doctrines, with the benefits their flexibility brings to authors, publishers, consumers, technology companies, libraries, museums, educational institutions, and governments. Click here for more.