Flexibility in the TPP Statutory Damages Provision

[Jonathan Band] During the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, many concerns were voiced about how TPP would mandate adoption of U.S. style statutory damages. Under the U.S. Copyright Act, a court can award damages of up to $30,000 per work infringed, which can be ratcheted up to $150,000 per work infringed in cases of willful infringement. Scholars have found that statutory damages in the U.S. have discouraged investment in innovative technologies while incentivizing the emergence of copyright trolls. So how bad is the statutory damages provision in the final TPP agreement? Click here for more.

This article is part of an IP-Watch and Infojustice.org series analyzing the Trans Pacific Partnership intellectual property provisions by leading experts around the world.  The series will publish weekly through the first quarter of 2016. For other articles in the series, click here.

WTO Members Approve TRIPS Non-Violation Extension, Debate E-commerce Language

[International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development] WTO negotiators have agreed to extend a moratorium on “non-violation and situation” complaints under the organisation’s intellectual property rules for an additional two years, forwarding the planned decision to the global trade body’s upcoming ministerial conference for adoption. The news comes as WTO members continue discussing the extension of another moratorium on customs duties on electronic commerce, as well as a decision regarding next steps for an ongoing, related e-commerce work programme. These are also being eyed as outcomes for the ministerial, scheduled for 15-18 December in Nairobi, Kenya. Click here for more.

Securing User Rights in Education – Reflections from Our Policy Debate

[Alek Tarkowski] How to secure user rights in education? This was the question we asked during a policy debate organised by Communia and hosted by MEP Michał Boni in the European Parliament on the 17th of November. Panelists, politicians and stakeholders participating in this debate discussed two approaches: the creation and use of Open Educational Resources (OER), and a progressive copyright reform for education. While these issues are usually presented separately, as Communia we see them as two aspects of a single effort to ensure user rights in education. Click here for more.

Supreme Court Opens Door for Pirate Site Blockades in Germany

[Ernesto] The German Supreme Court has opened the door for ISP blockades of copyright infringing sites. In a landmark decision the court ruled that ISPs can be required to block websites if copyright holders fail to identify their operators or hosting providers. Domain name blocking has become one of the entertainment industries’ go-to methods for reducing online copyright infringement. Click here for more.

TPP Article 14.17 & Free Software: No Harm, No Foul

[Software Freedom Law Center] The first official public release of the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement (known universally as the TPP) on November 5, 2015 generated much heated speculation… early commentary on the TPP draft included much speculation that one provision in the draft’s chapter on electronic commerce might have serious negative consequences for free software and open source licensing, distribution, or government acquisition. Some lay readers marched immediately to the conclusion that, in less than 200 words ostensibly about something else, the negotiators had (a) abolished free licensing; (b) prohibited governments from acquiring, supporting or preferring free software; or (c) had interfered with the enforcement of free licenses. Click here for more.

IFLA Joins Coalition to Demand Better Regulation Principles in EU Copyright Review Process

[International Federation of Library Associations] Today IFLA joined a wide coalition of stakeholders representing civil society, news publishers, libraries, consumers and the digital industry in expressing concern regarding the European Commission’s approach in consulting on copyright matters. We urge the European Parliament to uphold its position and to defend the rights of all EU citizens, associations and businesses to engage in an open and transparent debate.  Click here for more.

WHO Bulletin publishes Access to Medicine Foundation’s Latest Research: How Big Pharma Addresses Access to Hepatitis C Drugs

… An estimated 185 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C. The vast majority live in low- and middle-income countries, and as many as 500,000 people die of this disease each year. Thanks to a new generation of hepatitis C drugs, however, we now have the first real possibility of controlling this epidemic. Treatment is now much more effective, faster and easier to take. In May 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO ) added six of these drugs to the WHO Essential Medicines List, sending an important signal about their importance and the need for them to be made widely available. There has been considerable debate about whether the companies that own these hepatitis drugs are doing enough to make them accessible and affordable for the people who need them. The Access to Medicine Foundation has addressed this knowledge gap in its most recent research, which was published by the Bulletin of the World Health Organization. It comprises the first review of the activities being undertaken by the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies to ensure the accessibility of their hepatitis C drugs. Click here for the full post on the ATM Index webpage.