The “Data Producer’s Right”: Unwelcome Guest in the House of IP

[Bernt Hugenholtz] With the growth of the ‘data-driven economy’ and the rise of ‘Big Data’ have come calls for the introduction of a novel property right in data. Apparently in response to demands from the German automotive industry, the European Commission has in its 2017 Communication on ‘Building a European data economy’ advanced the idea of creating a ‘data producer’s right’ that would protect industrial data against the world. As explained in the Staff Working Paper that accompanies the Communication, this new right would create a transferable property right in “non-personal or anonymised machine-generated data”. It would encompass “the exclusive right to utilise certain data, including the right to licence its usage. This would include a set of rights enforceable against any party independent of contractual relations thus preventing further use of data by third parties who have no right to use the data, including the right to claim damages for unauthorised access to and use of data.” Click here for more.

Malaysia Inclusion In Gilead Voluntary Licence – A Product Of Compulsory Licence Pressure

[Fifa Rahman]  Gilead’s announcement today that they would include four middle-income countries (Malaysia, Thailand, Belarus, Ukraine) in their sofosbuvir voluntary licence was a welcome surprise, and will enable millions access to their highly effective, but exorbitantly priced, drug. The decision to include these countries, however, no doubt is a response to increasing pressure from within these countries to either issue a compulsory licence (CL) or a government use licence (GUL), invalidate the sofosbuvir patents, or block data exclusivity for the drug. Click here for more.

How Licenses Give Access, But Can Also Take It Away

[International Federation of Library Associations] The way libraries acquire content is in transition. With a growing share of digital material in library collections, licences are a fact of life. However, and as many in the library world have already experienced, while licenses give access to knowledge, they can also restrict it. IFLA’s Advisory Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters has therefore commissioned a literature review on the use of licensing in library context, and the limitations this creates to access to knowledge. The study, written by Svetlana Yakovleva and released today, looks through the available research, from theoretical analyses to practical survey work on libraries’ experience of licensing. It identifies the main limitations associated with copyright licenses in the library context, sets out how they impact both access and use of digital content, and provides examples. Click here for more.

Pence Lauds Chile FTA But Nudges For Better IP Compliance

[Alex Lawson] Vice President Mike Pence offered mostly kind words for the U.S. free trade agreement with Chile on Wednesday but also said that Santiago could improve its compliance with the pact’s intellectual property provisions…. Among the main concerns of the U.S. business community is Chile’s lack of enforcement regarding efforts to get around encryptions and other technological protection measures, or TPMs, according to the [Special 301] report. …Elsewhere in the report, the U.S. dinged Chile for its patent system, particularly with regard to pharmaceutical products. Click here for the full story on Law 360.

Copyright Easements

[Jason Mazzone] Abstract: When authors assign the copyright in their work to publishers, some productive uses of the work are impeded. The author loses opportunities to use or to authorize others to use the work unless the publisher consents; the publisher does not permit all uses of the work that the author would like or that would benefit a consuming audience. Copyright easements can solve the problem. Under a system of copyright easements, an easement holder would have designated rights in a creative work that would permit uses of the work that would ordinarily require permission of the copyright owner. If the author later assigns the copyright to a publisher, the copyright is held subject to the rights of the easement holder. The easement thus ties the author’s own hands: the author can no longer assign an unfettered copyright — and the publisher can no longer ask for it — because of the existence of the easement holder’s interests in the work. Click here for more.