Global Congress IV: December, 2015, New Delhi, India

[Anubha Sinha]  We are pleased to announce that the Centre for Internet and Society will be hosting the fourth edition of the Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest at New Delhi, India, tentatively in the first two weeks of December, 2015. This post seeks your participation and invites your queries and suggestions for the event. Click here for more.

The End of the Cell Phone Unlocking Saga?

[Jonathan Band] On July 25, 2014, the House of Representatives passed the version of cell phone unlocking legislation adopted ten days earlier by the Senate. President Obama promptly announced that he would sign the legislation, bringing at least a short-term resolution to a controversy that had burst into the public eye early in 2013. The underlying issue, however, has much deeper roots, stretching back to the enactment of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998. Moreover, the legislation only temporarily permits consumers to unlock their cell phones to access other mobile networks. In 2015, the Librarian of Congress will determine whether to renew this permission for another three years. A permanent solution to this problem appears precluded by the free trade agreements to which the United States is a party. This paper examines the legal background of this matter. Click here for more.

World Hepatitis Day: TAC Joins Organisations Calling for Improved Access to HepB Vaccines & Medicines

[Lotti Rutter] On World Hepatitis Day, 26 organisations and individuals from around the world have called on the South African Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to address the public health threat of hepatitis, by implementing hepatitis B immunisation at birth, and reforming national patent laws to promote access to more affordable hepatitis therapies.  Click here for more.

What do free trade agreements have to do with your ability listen to music online? A lot more than you would expect…

[Tyler Snell] A growing pernicious trend that is greatly affecting digital policy around the world is called “policy laundering” – the use of secretive international trade agreements to pressure countries to commit to restrictive or overly broad laws that would not ordinarily pass a transparent, democratic process… Copyright law, which is not an actual trade issue, has been a particular target of these private international trade negotiations. Click here for more.

European Ombudsman Asks Council and Commission to Publish More TTIP Documents

[European Ombudsman press release] The European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, has called on the Council of the European Union to publish the EU negotiating directives for the on-going Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations with the US. She has also proposed to the European Commission a range of practical measures to enable timely public access to TTIP documents, and to details of meetings with stakeholders. She has opened investigations involving both institutions. Click here for more.

Inventing Around Copyright

[Dan Burk] Abstract: Patent law has long harbored the concept of “inventing around,” under which competitors to a patent holder may be expected, and even encouraged, to design their technologies so as to skirt the boundaries defined by patent claims. It has become increasingly clear that, for better or for worse, copyright also fosters inventing around. Copyright is not based on written claims, but because copyright links exclusive rights to technological actions such as reproduction, distribution, or transmission, the language of the copyright statute, and judicial readings of the statute, create boundaries around which potential infringers may technologically navigate. For example, the Aereo case recently decided by the Supreme Court involves technology that was explicitly designed to conform to non-infringing definitions of private transmission found in previous court decisions. But in copyright, unlike patent, there has been little analysis of the tendency to foster alternative technological development. In this paper I draw upon previous analyses of inventing around in patent law to assess the benefits and detriments of inventing around in copyright. Click here for the full paper on SSRN.

UK Adopts Private Copying Exception As Some Rightholders Mull Legal Action

[Dugie Standeford] A new United Kingdom copyright exception for private copying cleared Parliament on 29 July and will become law in October. The change brought cheers from high-tech and digital rights groups. UK Music, however, said the new regulation will hurt creators and that it is considering legal action. The measure, announced in March (IPW, European Policy, 31 March 2014) also updates exceptions for parody and quotation. Click here for the full story on IP Watch.