Legal Experts Analyze Controversial U.S. Intellectual Property Treaty Released Wednesday: Concerns Still Loom

The European Commission released on Wednesday the first public draft of a controversial intellectual property treaty that legal experts still fear could radically change the way content on the Internet is distributed. Known as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), the U.S. has been negotiating the proposed treaty with several other countries, including the E.C., Japan, and Canada, with unusual secrecy.

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Some Recent Indian Product Patents on Antiretrovirals

CC License - photo by rodrigo senna

At a recent meeting between trade officials and health activists, it was suggested that access to essential medicines is not threatened by patents in India, because there are no product patents on HIV drugs in there. As US trade officials are well aware, India has introduced the product patent regime with an amendment to its patent law and enacted the Patents (Amendment) Act, 2005 to in order to implement its TRIPS obligations.

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Statement of PIJIP Assoc. Dir. Sean Flynn on the Release of the ACTA Negotiating Text

Although there appear to have been some positive changes from New Zealand, many of the most controversial provisions remain in ACTA. The text merely allows instead of requires three strikes. But it appears on the road to require notice and take down. The provision creates a safe harbor from suit for ISPs if they have a policy for "disabling access" to pirated material and adopting a policy dealing with unauthorized "transmission of materials protected by copyright." If the ISPs choose not to do so, they could face legal liability.

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ACTA Negotiating Text is Released

The EU has released the negotiating text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The text is available here: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2010/april/tradoc_146029.pdf As of yet, is not clear when the next negotiation meeting will be. Two separate country officials have stated off the record that it is likely to be after the week of June 7, one said "late June" and one indicated that the week of June 28th is possible.

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Groups Call for Human Rights Review of U.S. Medicine Policy

In a report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council over the weekend, PIJIP joined with HIV treatment advocacy organizations Health Global Access Project (HealthGAP) and the European Community Advisory Board to call for a human rights review of U.S. trade policy on access to medicines. The submission explains that the United States has been using trade agreements, foreign aid, technical assistance and diplomatic pressure to promote intellectual property rights at the expense of human rights.

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ACTA text to be released April 21

The ACTA negotiators released a joint statement indicating that text will be released, without negotiating positions indicated (as was the case in the recently leaked text), on April 21. Unfortunately, it does not release the precise date of the next round, saying only that it will be in "June" and in "Switzerland." A previous leaked document suggested the next round during the week of June 7 in Geneva. The negotiators claim to be on target for completion in 2010.

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PIJIP, AU Center for Social Media, and the Association of Research Libraries to Prepare a Code of Best Practices for Fair Use

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has provided a grant for the development of a code of best practices in fair use for academic and research libraries. The project will operate between April 2010 and March 2013. It is based on prior codes of best practice for fair use in other fields prepared by professors Peter Jaszi and Patricia Aufderheide.

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GAO questions piracy loss data

The GAO has published a new report, "Intellectual Property: Observations on Efforts to Quantify the Economic Effects of Counterfeit and Pirated Goods." It contains a lot of the usual claims about effects on profits, consumers, health and safety and even organized crime. But it contains some interesting counter-currents as well, including a whole section titled “Certain Stakeholders May Experience Positive Economic Effects of Counterfeiting and Piracy” and another exlpaining that "Lack of Data Hinders Efforts to Quantify Impacts of Counterfeiting and Piracy."

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American University Offers Prizes and Scholarships to Study Public Interest Intellectual Property: Funding from Google and UNDP Supports Public Interest Focus

PIJIP will offer new prizes and scholarships to support the study of the impacts of the globalization of IP law on public interests. Through a fund created by a gift from Google, we are sponsoring a call for papers and prize fund for public interest analysis of the “enforcement agenda” in international IP law. We also are please to offer a UNDP-funded tuition discount for individuals from developing countries to study International IP and Access to Medicines.

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ISHTIP Call for Papers onthe Geography of Intellectual Property

Following our first successful meeting in June 2009 at Bocconi University in Milan on "The Construction of Immateriality," the second ISHTIP workshop, to be held September 24-26, 2010 at AU Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C. will consider "Geographies of Intellectual Property." Up to ten papers/works in progress will be accepted; they will circulate in advance and will receive intensive discussion at the workshop.

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