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Infojustice Roundup - March 17, 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014

Egypt & Tunisia’s New Constitutions Recognize Knowledge Economy & Intellectual Property Rights

[Ahmed Abdel Latif] Last January, Egypt and Tunisia enacted new constitutions in the context of the political changes they have been witnessing since the 2011 revolutions that overthrew the Mubarak and Ben Ali regimes. … the two constitutions contain clauses which give high priority to building a knowledge economy and which provide for the protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs), at the constitutional level, for the first time in the history of these countries. Click here for more.

Challenges for the Enforcement of Copyright in the Online World: Time for a New Approach

[Christophe Geiger] In order to fight mass-scale copyright infringements on the Internet, numerous legislative initiatives have recently been proposed or adopted with the aim to improve the enforcement of copyright in the online world. This article evaluates the relevance of these enforcement strategies in the context of the unauthorised uses of copyrighted works by means of peer-to-peer file sharing or streaming. Click here for more.

Cross Regional Statement by Egypt at the Human Rights Council: Towards a Human Rights Approach to Intellectual Property

[Ahmed Abdel Latif] The cross regional statement below (Towards a Human Rights Approach to Intellectual Property) was delivered today – 14th March 2014 – by Egypt, on behalf of 90 countries, at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. It states that: “International relevant organizations in the field of intellectual property should take fully into account the existing State obligations under international human rights instruments in conducting their activities, and to perform regular human rights impact assessments of intellectual property systems, including on access to medicines and intellectual property.” Click here for more.

Open Education Week: A Focus on Latin America

[Carolina Botero] On Thursday, March 14 Fundación Karisma, in collaboration with UNESCO and Creative Commons will launch the report “Public Expenditure On Education in Latin America: Can It Serve the Paris Open Educational Resources Declaration’s Purposes?” “Human rights are not left at the door when we enter the online world.” This is the premise on which we embark on a new research project related to one of the fundamental rights under threat in a networked society: access to knowledge. Click here for more.

Open Educational Resources Expand Access to Higher Education in the United States

[Michael Carroll] Leaders in the Obama Administration, in state governments, and in corporate America have acknowledged the urgency of increasing access to higher education in the United States – particularly through community colleges. These leaders also recognize the importance of improving completion rates and educational outcomes for those who enroll. As we come to the close of Open Education Week, it is now time for these leaders to focus attention, energy and resources on the most immediate opportunity to make progress toward these goals while also freeing up billions of dollars that can be redirected toward this progress. Make textbooks available to students for free or at very low marginal cost. Click here for more.

See also: Mike Palmedo, Tidewater Community College Associate Degree Using All OER Curriculum – Results After One Year. (Link)

Brazilian Civil Society Demands a Response from the Government in Relation to the Contract for ARV Drug Atazanavir

[Associação Brasileira Interdisciplinar de AIDS] The recently announced license agreement for the patent of the anti-aids drug atazanavir, signed between the U.S. company Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) and the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), is a warning for Brazil. In November 2011, an agreement for the same purpose (patent license) was signed between BMS and the Brazilian public laboratory Farmanguinhos, but with very different terms. Click here for more.

In Search of the Least-Bad Threshold for Differential Treatment for TPP Obligations on Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines

[Mike Palmedo] USTR’s differential treatment proposal would exempt countries that do not meet the “high income” classification as defined by the World Bank – currently $12,616 GNI per capita – from three (not all) of the [TRIPS Plus provisions affecting access to generics].... if one is to consider a threshold above which countries would be bound by TRIPS-Plus obligations; one ought to consider other options. Why? Because the World Bank “high income” classification is a poor indicator of a country’s ability to pay higher prices for brand name medicines. Click here for more.

The Cell Phone Unlocking Saga

[Jonathan Band] On March 4, 2013, the White House announced that it disagreed with the decision of the Librarian of Congress not to allow consumers to unlock their cell phones to access other mobile networks. The White House took this position in response to a “We The People” petition that gained over 114,000 signatures. With legislation to address this issue pending in Congress, the five largest mobile carriers on December 12, 2013, adopted a voluntary commitment to allow cell phone unlocking after the expiration of a service contract. While this voluntary commitment provides some benefit to consumers, a comprehensive legislative solution may be precluded by the free trade agreements to which the United States is a party. Click here for more.

Minister Bob Davies: Finalize the IP Policy Before Elections & Give Us Better Access to Medicines

[Treatment Action Campaign] Marching to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and SECTION27 led 1,000 health activists to demand the finalisation of a National Intellectual Property (IP) Policy before the general elections, to provide South Africans better access to the drugs they need through legislative reforms. Click here for more.

From Book Famine to Book Banquet: Ghana Gets Ready to Ratify WIPO Treaty for the Visually Impaired

[Electronic Information for Libraries] Only between 1-7% of books worldwide are published in formats accessible to blind people such as Braille, large print, audio, DAISY Inaugural meeting of Ghana stakeholder group, Accra. Credit: Judy Friend (Digital Accessible Information System). The aim of the Marrakesh Treaty, that creates an international legal framework to enable the cross-border sharing of accessible materials, is to alleviate the “book famine” for people who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled. Adopted in 2013 by Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Ghana was in the first group of countries to show political support by signing the Treaty. Click here for more.

US-India Trade Ties Worsen, Amid Claims of Protectionism

[International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, Link] US-India trade ties have continued to worsen in recent weeks, with Indian Trade Minister Anand Sharma accusing Washington this week of “high and unacceptable protectionism.” The remarks from New Delhi’s top trade official comes after months fraught with tension, with the two sides openly sparring on topics ranging from renewable energy policies to patent protections. Click here for more.

PIJIP Will Webcast Two Events this Week:

  • Mar 20: Tenth Annual IP/Gender: Gender and the Regulation of Traditional Knowledge (Link)
  • Mar 21: Second Annual Cherry Blossom Symposium – Traditional Knowledge: IP and Federal Policy (Link)

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