Breakthrough in UK Copyright Law Reform Confirmed

[Naomi Korn]  20 years of hard work by our sector has resulted, at last, in the recognition that copyright laws are out of kilter with the digital age and many of the activities taking place across our libraries, archives, museums and educational establishments, need to be supported by fit for purpose exceptions. This will create legal certainty and achieve a better balance between creators rights and user needs, and in doing this make copyright itself stronger. Click here for more.

Special 301: Is It Effective?

[Gabriel Michael]  My previous post discussed how Special 301′s enforcement mechanism has rarely been used, and is even less likely to be used in the future. But the frequency with which an enforcement mechanism is used is not a measure of effectiveness. We don’t measure the effectiveness of criminal justice systems by the number of people in jail (at least, we shouldn’t). Perhaps Special 301 is effective in accomplishing its goals even without resort to its enforcement mechanism. Click here for more.

Trips-Plus Trade and Investment Agreements: Why More May Be Less for Economic Development

[Christine Haight Farley] Abstract: Conventional wisdom — but not empirical research — maintains that strong intellectual property (“IP”) rights trigger not only foreign direct investment, but also local innovation. Thus investors seek, and developing countries compete to offer, the highest levels of IP protections. But evaluating the level of IP protection in any given country has become increasingly complex. A proliferation of bilateral agreements, such as free trade agreements (“FTAs”) and bilateral investment treaties (“BITs”), intended to enhance the minimum standards set forth in The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (“TRIPS”), have created uncertainty about precisely what IP protections are available… Such uncertainty over legal rights is never conducive to investment. Click here for the full paper on SSRN.

Draft Amendments to China’s Copyright Law Would Raise Penalties, Increase Seizures

[Mike Palmedo] Xinhua reports that the Chinese government has released a draft amendment to its copyright law for public comment.  The amendment would raise penalties from 100,000 yuan (16,025 USD) to 250,000 yuan (40,063 USD), and would give law enforcement greater powers to seize illicit goods.  It is seeking comments on the legislation until July 5. Click here for more.

Libraries Can Digitise Books Without Consent, European Advocate General Says

[Monika Ermert] Libraries can digitise individual books in their collections without the consent of rights holders, the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice, Niilo Jääskinen, has written in his application in a case (C-117/13) pending at the Luxembourg Court. The digitisation and national legislation in the the European Union member states to allow for it would not contradict the EU copyright directive (2001/29/EC Art.5 3.n), the Advocate General wrote in the opinion in a case referred to the EU Court by the Federal Court of Justice of Germany. Click here for the full story on IP Watch.