Creative Commons’ 2017 State of the Commons

[Creative Commons] …In previous editions of SOTC, we’ve focused our efforts on measuring and reporting quantitative data—for instance, the total number of openly-licensed works online, the percentage of CC licenses used across various fields, and the volume of CC-licensed works that are available to the public through the many online sharing platforms where our legal tools are prevalent. That data is still here, but this year we’ve gone further: CC’s new organizational strategy is focused on increasing the vibrancy and usability of the commons (not just its breadth and volume), so we’re focusing on the stories and people behind the creativity in the commons as well. Full report at

Protecting and Promoting Open Copyright User Rights in International Law

[Sean Flynn] There is increasing attention in international trade and copyright forums to the question of how international law should protect and promote copyright user rights. I presented the following options at this year’s Creative Commons Global Summit as examples of provisions that (at least partially) promote the organization’s mission of promoting “nothing less than realizing the full potential of the Internet — universal access to research and education, full participation in culture — to drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity.” Existing models included in trade and other international agreements primarily serve two ends – (1) protecting rights of countries to enact “fair use” rights, e.g. from the challenge that such exceptions could be held to violate the Berne “3-step test” as not being sufficiently tailored to “specific” cases, and (2) affirmatively promoting user rights in copyrights systems, either through broad mandates to achieve “balance” or through mandatory exceptions for some categories of use. Click here for more.

Post-TPP Special 301 Report Shows How Little Has Changed

[Jeremy Malcolm] Last Friday the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released the 2017 edition of its Special 301 Report [PDF], which the USTR issues each year to “name and shame” other countries that the U.S. claims should be doing more to protect and enforce their copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. Most of these demands exceed those countries’ legal obligations, which makes the Special 301 Report an instrument of political rhetoric, rather than a document with any international legal status. Click here for more.

I-MAK Challenges Validity of Remaining Hepatitis C Drug Patent in China

[I-MAK] In a move that could strike down barriers to treatment for the exploding hepatitis C epidemic that kills 700,000 people every year, attorneys and scientists from the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK) filed a legal challenge against Gilead’s remaining patent for the hepatitis C medicine sofosbuvir in China. Branded as Sovaldi, this patent covers the sofosbuvir base compound and is founded on previously published techniques, and does not meet the legal criteria for a patent. This new filing follows another legal challenge filed by I-MAK in 2015, which helped result in a rejection in June 2015 by China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) on the other critical patent application on sofosbuvir. SIPO found that this patent, covering the prodrug that activates the otherwise inactive base compound in the body, did not deserve a patent under the law. Click here for more.

The Global Battle Over Copyright Reform: Developing the Rule of Law in the Chinese Business Context

[Shruti Rana] Abstract: Nations and businesses around the globe have been battling over copyright protection laws, with industrialized nations pressuring developing nations to adopt “Western-style” copyright regimes. These battles are escalating as copyright piracy grows, while developing nations struggle to formulate reforms that will protect their own intellectual property as well as that of industrialized nations. China is at the cutting edge of these debates. Over the last several years, and most recently in 2015, China has released transformative new proposals to reform its copyright laws. This Article—believed to be the first scholarly comparative analysis of China’s reforms—critiques China’s new proposals. Click here for more.