Evolution of the Copyright Exceptions and Limitations Provision in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

[Jonathan Band] The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement contains an important provision concerning achieving balance in the copyright systems of the twelve countries party to that free trade agreement. This provision was not present in the early draft of the agreement. Then, in July 2012, the United States proposed language that formed the basis of the text of the provision. This language subsequently was strengthened over the next three years to its final form. This paper recounts the evolution of this provision. Because of the lack of transparency of the TPP negotiations, it is difficult to reconstruct a precise timeline of when specific language was proposed, who proposed it, and why. However, a combination of leaked drafts and public statements provides evidence of the provision’s trajectory. Click here for more.

Ethics, Evolved: An International Perspective on Copying in the Networked Age

[PIJIP] On November 3, the AU School of Communications Faculty Forum, and the AU Washington College of Law Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property will host a talk by Professor Aram Sinnreich in which he will present his paper “Ethics, Evolved: An International Perspective on Copying in the Networked Age.” Professor Sinnreich will discuss his research using quantitative and qualitative survey data collected from thousands of adult Internet users across a range of nations between 2006-2015 to examine the diffusion, adoption, prevailing attitudes, and ethical frameworks surrounding “configurable” cultural practices such as mashups, remixes and memes. Click here for more.

UN Special Rapporteur Presents Report on the Impact of Patent Law on the Right to Science and Culture

[UN Special Rapporteur] On October 26, 2015, Farida Shaheed, United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, presents her report on patents and access to culture to the General Assembly. In the report, the Special Rapporteur addresses the implications of patent policy for the human right to science and culture. She reaffirms the distinction to be made between intellectual property rights and human rights, emphasizing that the right to the protection of the moral and material interests of authors does not necessarily coincide with the prevailing approach to intellectual property law. Click here for more.

Letter from 76 NGOs and Seven Professors to USTR Asking the U.S. to Publish TTIP Negotiating Proposals

[Joint letter] As U.S. organizations and academics interested in issues related to good governance and transparency, we write to urge you to match the level of openness embarked upon by your counterpart from the European Union and make publicly available U.S. proposals for trade and investment agreements currently under negotiation, in particular, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (known as the “TTIP”). We believe that the public release of U.S. and European Union (EU) proposals must be a step toward achieving full transparency, which would be achieved by releasing consolidated draft texts after each negotiating round. Click here for more.

More Evidence From Germany: Ancillary Copyright Still Not Working

[Paul Keller] Over the last month the German publishers who are pushing for ancillary copyright for press publishers on the EU level have encountered two more setbacks in their attempts to turn the ancillary rights that they have in Germany into actual revenue. First the Bundeskartellamt (the German competition authority) rejected claims made by the publishers that Google has acted in violation of competition rules by removing from its search results text snippets from publishers who have not granted them a royalty-free license. Google had started removing such snippets after the introduction of the ancillary copyright for press publishers to avoid having to pay for displaying the snippets. Click here for more.

Senators Seek Copyright Review to Provide Clarity for Consumers

[Office of Sen. Grassely] In order to help the public navigate a world in which software makes virtually everything function, from refrigerators to tractors, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) joined together Thursday to request the Copyright Office undertake a comprehensive study of the role copyright law plays in defining how software-enabled products can be used. Click here for more.

How Trade Agreements Harm Open Access and Open Source

[Jeremy Malcolm]  Open access isn’t explicitly covered in any of the secretive trade negotiations that are currently underway, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Trade In Services Agreement (TISA). But that doesn’t mean that they won’t have a negative impact on those seeking to publish or use open access materials. First, online publishers sometimes apply TPM (Technological Protection Measures, which implement DRM) to works that have been published under open access licences, or place such works behind paywalls, thereby frustrating the intention of the author that the works should be made freely available. In both cases, circumventing the TPM or paywall block, in order to gain access to the work as the author intended, can be a civil or criminal offense. Click here for more.