Final Text of Copyright Amendment Bill to Be Put Before Parliament this Month

[Charlie Fripp] After a series of public consultations and written submissions, South Africa’s somewhat controversial Copyright Amendment Bill will be put before parliament this month. The Bill has been both praised and criticised by activists at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as its effects are potentially far-reaching… The Bill aims to overhaul the copyright law in South Africa, but perhaps the most controversial aspect of it centre around orphan works and the duration of copyright for creators. Click here for more.

New Research Commissioned by [UK] IPO Shows Fall in Online Infringement and Steep Rise in Consumer Use of Streaming

[UK Intellectual Property Office] The meteoric rise of streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix may be having a chilling effect on illegal copyright infringement according to new research. Kantar Media’s Online Copyright Infringement Tracker, commissioned by the UK Intellectual Property Office, has shown that over half (52%) of internet users consuming content online now use streaming services. While downloading content is becoming comparatively less popular (39%). Respondents who stream cited convenience and cost as two of the main reasons for doing so. Click here for more.

Open Letter to the Co-Chairs of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines

[CIMUN, Ifarma, Foundation, and Misión Salud] … It is important for us to offer for your consideration, and for the consideration of the UN Secretary-General and UN Member States, a brief report on the specific situation we are currently facing in Colombia with regard to access to affordable medicines. This situation reflects both the urgent need for global governmental action that favors the human right to health as well as the need for strategies to address the pressure interests preventing governments and civil society from increasing access to affordable medicines using well-recognized and established legal flexibilities. Click here for more.

IBM Files Patent Application for Method to Stop Printing of Copyrighted Material

[Gene Quinn and Benjamin Joe] This May, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published an IBM patent application that would protect a method to prevent printers from printing copyrighted material. U.S. Patent Application 20160132897, which is titled Copyright Infringement Prevention, would protect a method involving computer processors that identify potential copyrighted material in a file for printing. To do this, the computer sorts through the file for text, images, and formatting that would notify the computer that the file it is holding is copyrighted. Images such as ISBN numbers will be run through the system and after completing its scan, will determine whether the file is printable or not. Click here for more on

Is it time for authors to leave SSRN?

[Authors Alliance] It now appears that SSRN is taking up restrictive and hostile positions against authors’ ability to decide when and how to share their work. Reports are surfacing that, without notice, SSRN is removing author-posted documents following SSRN’s own, opaque determination that the author must have transferred copyright, the publisher had not consented to the posting, or where the author has opted to use a non-commercial Creative Commons license. One author, Andrew Selbst, reported that SSRN refused his post even though the article’s credits reflected his retained copyright. Click here for more.

Private Patents and Public Health: Changing Intellectual Property Rules for Access to Medicines

[Ellen ‘t Hoen] … Strict patent regimes interfere with widespread access to medicines by creating monopolies that maintain medicines prices well beyond the reach of those who need them. The magnitude of the AIDS crisis in the late nineties brought this to the public’s attention when millions of people in developing countries died from an illness for which medicines existed, but were not available or affordable. Faced with an unprecedented health crisis—8,000 people dying daily—the public health community launched an unprecedented global effort that eventually resulted in the large-scale availability of quality generic HIV medicines and a steady scale-up in access to those medicines. This has allowed nearly 13 million people to lead longer, healthier lives. However, trends in international intellectual property law could impact many of the policy tools used to scale up HIV treatment. Click here for more.