Help Decide the Global Congress 2015 Dates
[Pranesh Prakash] As you might know, the fourth Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest will be happening in New Delhi, India, over three days in December 2015. We have a bit less than a year to go now, and we want your help in deciding the precise dates of the congress. The congress will have tracks on copyright & user rights, patents, traditional knowledge, openness, and enforcement, and will have ‘two decades of the TRIPS agreement’ and ‘three decades of the free software movement’ as two of its underlying currents. If you are potentially attending next year, please go through this Doodle poll, and let us know what dates — between December 13 and December 23, 2015 — would work best for you. Click here for the poll.
AFL-CIO, AARP, GPhA, Doctors Without Borders, and Oxfam Letter to Obama on TPP and Access to Medicine
The organizations signing this letter want to express our deep concerns regarding some of the provisions under negotiation in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). These provisions could seriously impact access to affordable medicines by delaying generic competition as well as impacting governments’ ability to advance public health policies in the U.S and around the world. While we have different perspectives and interests, we are united by our shared concerns regarding access to affordable medicines and the need to ensure competition in the pharmaceutical market in the U.S. and abroad. Click here for the full letter (PDF).
Access to Knowledge As Human Rights
[Carolina Botero] Access to knowledge was the topic that Karisma Foundation presented during the thematic hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on the impact of Internet on defense and exercise of human rights. The hearing was held in Washington, during the 153rd Session, on October 28, 2014. Access to knowledge, as a human right closely linked to freedom of expression, is a complex and broad topic. However, the focus of the presentation was about the tension intensified with the popularization of Internet between the legal copyright system and the right of Latin American societies to access to knowledge and information for ensuring social development. Click here for more.
EU Trade Secrets Directive Threat to Health, Environment, Free Speech and Worker Mobility
[Joint Statement by 15 NGOs] We strongly oppose the hasty push by the European Commission and Council for a new European Union (EU) directive on trade secrets[i] because it contains: An unreasonably broad definition of “trade secrets” that enables almost anything within a company to be deemed as such; Overly-broad protection for companies, which could sue anyone who “unlawfully acquires, uses or discloses” their so-called “trade secrets”; and Inadequate safeguards that will not ensure that EU consumers, journalists, whistleblowers, researchers and workers have reliable access to important data that is in the public interest. Click here for more.
Open Access Policy Announced by Two Departments within India’s Ministry of Science and Technology
[Mike Palmedo] Two departments within India’s Ministry of Science and Technology, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) have released a new Open Access Policy. Under the new policy, researchers who receive funding or use resources from from these departments can still publish in any journals they wish, but they will need to deposit copies of the final papers and supporting data in institutional repositories where the information can be accessed by the public. Click here for more.
David and Project Goliath
[Jonathan Band] The name the Motion Picture Association of America used for its anti-Google campaign—“Project Goliath”—may be more self-revelatory than the MPAA expected. It has been widely reported that the hacked Sony Pictures emails reveal that in early 2014, MPAA launched Project Goliath, a policy initiative to develop legal tools to block access to websites that facilitate infringement. The effort to develop such legal tools at the federal level failed spectacularly with the SOPA/PIPA debacle, so Project Goliath attempted to enlist the support of state attorneys general. Click here for more.
Senator Elizabeth Warren fights the White House over the Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership
[Matthew Rimmer] In his visit to the G20 in Brisbane, President Barack Obama sought to promote his ambitious Pacific Rim trade agreement — the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He told an audience at the University of Queensland: “We’ll keep leading the effort to realize the Trans-Pacific Partnership to lower barriers, open markets, export goods, and create good jobs for our people. But with the 12 countries of the TPP making up nearly 40 percent of the global economy, this is also about something bigger. It is our chance to put in place new, high standards for trade in the 21st century that uphold our values. So, for example, we are pushing new standards in this trade agreement, requiring countries that participate to protect their workers better and to protect the environment better, and protect intellectual property that unleashes innovation, and baseline standards to ensure transparency and rule of law.” Click here for more.