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Infojustice Roundup - May 6, 2013

Monday, May 06, 2013

US and EU Demand TRIPS-Plus Concession from Poorest Countries

[Sangeeta Shasikant] Developed countries, particularly the United States and the European Union, have offered a poor and impractical deal of an incredibly short extension of 5 years with restrictive conditions to least developed countries that are entitled to be exempted from implementing the WTO TRIPS Agreement. Particularly problematic is their demand that the LDCs agree to a “no-roll-back” clause, a TRIPS plus condition that will prevent LDCs from rolling back (i.e. providing a reduced degree of IP protection) their current laws, even if they adversely impact their development concerns. Click here for more.

South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry Reneges on IP Policy Commitments

[Posted on (Link)] On 24 April 2013, Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies stated that South Africa’s new intellectual property (IP) policy would not be released for public comment any time soon. This starkly contrasts with a number of promises in the past two years, by both the Minister and officials in the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), that the release of the DTI-drafted policy is imminent. South Africa’s patent laws do not include a number of provisions allowed for under international law that can facilitate access to medicines. In this regard we lag behind other developing countries, such as Brazil and India, in using legal safeguards in the interest of public health. Click here for more.

Statutory Damages: A Rarity in Copyright Laws Internationally, But for How Long?

[Pamela Samuelson, Phil Hill, and Tara Wheatland] Abstract: American copyright professionals may be so accustomed to the current domestic regime of statutory damages that it may come as a surprise to learn that very few countries in the world have anything comparable. Our survey of 177 World Intellectual Property Organization member states reveals that the United States is one of only 24 nations that has a statutory damage regime. Of these 24 countries, the vast majority have developing or emerging economies and are not known for having strong copyright industries. Click here for more.

The Copyright Pentalogy: How the Supreme Court of Canada Shook the Foundations of Canadian Copyright

[Michael Geist] Copyright cases typically only reach the Supreme Court of Canada once every few years, ensuring that each case is carefully parsed and analyzed. As readers of this blog know, on July 12, 2012, the Supreme Court issued rulings on five copyright cases in a single day, an unprecedented tally that shook the very foundations of copyright law in Canada. In fact, with the decisions coming just weeks after the Canadian government passed long-awaited copyright reform legislation, Canadian copyright law experienced a seismic shift that will take years to sort out. I am delighted to report that this week the University of Ottawa Press published The Copyright Pentalogy: How the Supreme Court of Canada Shook the Foundations of Canadian Copyright Law, an effort by many of Canada’s leading copyright scholars to begin the process of examining the long-term implications of the copyright pentalogy. Click here for more.

Legislation on Limitations and Exceptions to Copyright Under Debate in Colombia

[Marcela Palacia Puerta] The Colombian Parliament is debating Bill 001 of 2012. This Bill contains provisions regarding limitation and exceptions to Copyright Law. Last 16 of April the Bill passed the second debate in the House of Representatives. Now it is pending for debate in the Senate. This Bill contains six articles regarding limitations and exceptions. Article 1 mandates an exception for temporary copies made as part of a technological process in some specific circumstances. Article 2 mandates an exception in favor of people with sight or hearing disabilities. Article 3 mandates an exception in favor of libraries and archives allowing them to lend a work. Article 4 mandates an exception in favor of parody. Article 5 mandates an exception in favor of educational institutions allowing the public performance of a work under certain circumstances. Finally, Article 6 repeals all provisions contrary to the ones mandated by this Bill. Click here for more.

Pirate Site Blocking Legislation Approved By Norwegian Parliament

[Posted by Andy to TorrentFreak, (CC-BY-NC)] Norway has moved an important – some say unstoppable – step towards legislative change that will enable the aggressive tackling of online copyright infringement. Proposed amendments to the Copyright Act, which will make it easier for rightsholders to monitor file-sharers and have sites such as The Pirate Bay blocked at the ISP level, received broad support in parliament this week and look almost certain to be passed into law. Click here for the full story on TorrentFreak.

USTR Releases 2013 Special 301 Report

On May 1, the U.S. Trade Representative released the 2013 Special 301 Report, its annual identification of countries it claims deny "adequate or effective" protection of intellectual property or deny "fair and equitable market access for persons that rely on IPR protection." Ukraine was designated a "Priority Foreign Country" (the most serious designation, which triggers a formal process that can lead to sanctions). Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, and Venezuela were placed on the Priority Watch List. Barbados, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, Greece, Guatemala, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam were placed on the Watch List. The report also announced upcoming Out of Cycle Reviews of Spain and Ecuador. The report is below, along with civil society and industry statements:

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