Report on Workshop: Copyright Users Rights and the Clearance Culture in South African Filmmaking

[South African Screen Federation] Friends of the SASFED were invited to a workshop on Copyright Users Rights and the Clearance Culture in South African Filmmaking on August 18… The workshop followed, and reported back on, research by the partner organisations on documentary filmmaker views and perceptions on the rights of filmmakers to reuse and transform material in their filmmaking without licensing restrictions. The research showed that such practices are common and often thought to be illegal, but are likely fully within filmmaker user rights. This workshop featured a roundtable discussion with the researchers on the outcomes of that research, as well as some of the possible actions that could be taken supported by it, including taking positions in the announced revision of the Copyright Act and the production of best practices statements by filmmaker organisations. Click here for more.

World Blind Union Letter to All Governments on International Literacy Day: International Literacy – support the Marrakesh Treaty

[World Blind Union]  In June 2013 governments put aside their differences and agreed an historic, ground-breaking treaty to help us end the “book famine” in which just a few percent of books are available in formats we can read. This Treaty must be ratified by at least 20 countries come into force, so that we can actually benefit from it. An un-ratified treaty is just a piece of paper. Below is our plea to all the world’s governments to finish the job they started in Marrakech, and allow us to start the job of getting books to people who so badly need them.  Click here for the full letter on the WBU site.

Ecuador Takes One Step Forward for Health, and One Step Back – Issues New Compulsory Licenses; Signs Harmful Trade Agreement with the EU

[Luz Marina Umbasia and Peter Maybarduk]  In July, Ecuador issued four compulsory licenses for medicines targeting cancer and arthritis treatment and immunological reception to kidney transplant. These licenses authorize cost-cutting generic competition with patented medicines, in exchange for royalty payments to the patent holders. Compulsory licensing is a crucial tool to expand access to medicines that are prohibitively expensive or whose costs place enormous burdens on budgets for health systems.  Ecuador has again demonstrated international leadership by exercising its health rights. Click here for more.

International Chamber of Commerce: Trade Secret Law Should Be Harmonized, Included in TPP

[Mike Palmedo] As Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiators began last week’s round of talks in Hanoi, the International Chamber of Commerce issued a white paper urging the inclusion of strong trade secret provisions in the agreement. “Trade Secrets: Tools for Innovation and Collaboration” argues that trade secret theft has been growing since the 1990s, both within countries and across borders. Stronger protection is needed in order for businesses to operate within today’s systems of collaborative innovation and cross-border development.  The report recommends harmonization of trade secret laws around a specific criteria (much of which is based on current Swedish law). Click here for more.

The Fandom Problem: A Precarious Intersection of Fanfiction and Copyright

[Kate Romanenkova] Abstract:  …The fandom problem — the existence of a growing body of derivative works based on copyrighted content — is only a problem if the derivative work right reserved to authors by the 1976 Copyright Act continues to exist in its current state. To be rid of the fandom problem, some have argued that an exception should be made specifically for fan works under the fair use doctrine. Such an exception seems unlikely, however, given the malleable nature of the doctrine. The better solution to the fandom problem is to revise the derivative work right to exclude fan works and similar creative content from the category of infringing. Allowing people to produce creative work based on ideas of others without fear of a lawsuit would encourage creativity and “promote the progress of…[the] arts,” as envisioned by the writers of the Constitution. Click here for the full paper on SSRN.