WTO Forum Signals Shift to E-Commerce Agenda

[Sean Flynn] Reports from the WTO Public Forum held last week highlights a notable shift in the World Trade Organization toward an E-Commerce Agenda. The issue appears likely to be addressed substantively in the 2017 Ministerial Conference. Through then, the organization is likely to be increasingly discussing the form and objectives of a possible negotiation on the topic. The WTO has had an explicit E-Commerce agenda since 1998. But the issue is receiving substantially increased attention in the WTO now. Click here for more.

See also: Sean Flynn. Public Participation in the WTO E-Commerce Discussion. Link.

Open Letter to the European Commission – On the Importance of Preserving the Consistency and Integrity of the EU Acquis Relating to Content Monitoring within the Information Society

[Joint letter signed by 25 European legal academics] …the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market in its Article 13 requires providers of intermediary services which consist in the storage and provision to the public of access to large amounts of works or other subject-matter uploaded by their users to put in place measures to “prevent the availability on their services of works or other subject-matter identified by rightholders” such as the use of “effective content recognition technologies.” In other words, Article 13 of the proposal imposes a general monitoring obligation upon a great number of providers of intermediary services. Click here for more.

United Nations Report Calls for Open Access to Research to Improve Global Health

[Tim Vollmer, Creative Commons] Last month the United Nations released a report with recommendations on how to improve innovation and access to health technologies. The panel’s charge called for it to “recommend solutions for remedying the policy incoherence between the justifiable rights of inventors, international human rights law, trade rules and public health in the context of health technologies.” Of particular interest are the panel’s suggestions for managing intellectual property generated from publicly-funded research. Click here for more.

Movie Piracy and Displaced Sales in Europe: Evidence from Six Countries

[Benedikt Herz and Kamil Kiljański] Abstract: This paper presents estimates of lost movie sales due to unpaid movie consumption. We are the first to provide estimates that are recent, representative of the internet-using population, and cover multiple countries. Based on an online questionnaire with almost 30,000 respondents, we document that one unpaid (first) viewing of a movie displaces about 0.37 units of paid viewings. Using a back-of-the-envelope calculation, we show that this implies that unpaid movie viewings reduced movie sales in Europe by about 4.4% during the sample period. Lost sales differ substantially by country: they are in the range of 1.65% for Germany and 10.4% for Spain. We also find that 94% of lost sales are due to unpaid viewings by a small group of only 20% of consumers. Our findings have important implications for copyright policy. Click here for more.

Software Industry Claims Chinese Patent Law TRIPS Non-Compliant Due to Public Interest Grounds for Compulsory Licenses

[Mike Palmedo] Last week, the USTR-led inter-agency Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) held a hearing on China’s compliance with WTO obligations, to inform its upcoming report to Congress on the matter. Comments submitted by Carl Schonander of the Software & Information Industry Association incorrectly claim Chinese patent law contains compulsory licensing provisions that do not comply with the TRIPS Agreement because compulsory licenses are intended for use in “national emergencies or other circumstances of extreme urgency.” Similar misreadings TRIPS Article 31 have come up (and been put down) in the IP and access to medicines debate, but this is the first time I’ve seen it regarding software. Click here for more.