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Infojustice Roundup - October 7, 2013

Monday, October 07, 2013

Wikipedia's Economic Value

[Jonathan Band and Jonathan Gerafi] In the copyright policy debate, proponents of strong copyright protection tend to be dismissive of the quality of freely available content. In response to counter-examples such as open access scholarly publications and advertising-supported business models (e.g., newspaper websites and the over-the-air television broadcasts viewed by 50 million Americans), the strong copyright proponents center their attack on amateur content. In this narrative, YouTube is for cat videos and Wikipedia is a wildly unreliable source of information. Recent studies, however, indicate that the volunteer-written and -edited Wikipedia is no less reliable than professionally edited encyclopedias such as the Encyclopedia Britannica. Click here for more.

U.S. Department of Commerce to Host Meeting and Seek Comments on Recent "Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy" Report

The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that its Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) will hold a public meeting to discuss copyright policy issues raised in a recently released green paper, "Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy" (Green Paper). In addition to the meeting, the IPTF is soliciting public comments, both of which are part of the IPTF’s efforts to continue a dialogue on how to improve the current copyright framework for stakeholders, consumers, and national economic goals. The meeting will be held on October 30, 2013, in Washington, D.C. Click here for the full press release.

Blind Sidelined by Department of Trade and Industry

[Marcus Low] South Africa’s draft intellectual property policy fails to make any mention of the most progressive copyright treaty in years. Blind and visually impaired people will pay the price if this is not rectified in the final policy. On 28 June 2013, 51 countries lined up in Marrakesh, Morocco, to sign an historic treaty aimed at making more books available for blind and visually impaired people. South Africa was not one of them. Click here for more.

Leaders of Countries Negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership Meet at APEC Summit in Indonesia

Prime Ministers of most of the countries involved in the TPP negotiations are meeting on the side of the APEC summit in Bali, though President Obama sent Secretary of State John Kerry in his place. For more see:

  • Joint Civil Society Submission to the Australian Government on Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines in the TPP. (Link)
  • Matthew Rimmer. Will Obama Fast-Track the Trans-Pacific Partnership? (Link)
  • Mike Palmedo. Skepticism Rises that TPP Will Conclude by End of the Year; Little Progress Made on IP and Access to Medicines. (Link)
  • MSF. Governments in Trans-Pacific trade deal urged to reject political trade-offs harmful to access to medicines. (Link)

Under U.S. Pressure, Spain Passes New Copyright Law

[Ed Lang] Last month, Spain passed several amendments to its penal code providing for harsh punishments for copyright infringements on the Internet. The new amendments specifically target operators of websites who provide links to infringing content on other sites. Even if the operators do not profit directly from a file-sharing transaction, they still may be subject to a six year prison sentence for indirectly profiting from such transactions, for example, by deriving advertising revenue from the site. This result is part of an ongoing public and private pressure campaign from the United States government and American industry groups toward the Spanish Congreso de los Disputados to make their copyright laws more restrictive. Click here for more.

Italy: Draft Regulation on Copyright Protection on Electronic Communication Networks

[Article 19] ... the Draft Regulation contains some positive elements in terms of freedom of expression, particularly the exclusion of Internet users who download content on peer-to-peer networks from the scope of the Draft. It also puts emphasis on the promotion of legal content and education of consumers. At the same time, the Draft Regulation falls short of international standards on freedom of expression in key respects. We are especially concerned that the Draft Regulation provides for the blocking of entire websites, domain names or IP addresses. These measures are both ineffective and deeply inimical to free expression due to the high risks of over-blocking. We are also concerned that blocking powers would be entrusted to a regulator rather than the courts.Click here for more.

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