Monthly Archives: May 2011

UK Copyright Law: “current system has failed to “keep pace” with the fast-moving digital economy”

This was one of the messages included in the Guardian.co.uk news item, “Vince Cable to back copyright law reform”.  The article talked a lot about what was going to be said ahead of a review of the UK copyright system due to be published this week.  http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ipreview

“Chaired by Professor Ian Hargreaves and assisted by a panel of experts… It aims to identify barriers to growth within the IP framework, which consists of the rules and regulations covering how IP is created, used and protected …

…The IP Review team has published a call for evidence that seeks information on how well the current IP system serves to help promote entrepreneurialism, economic growth, social and commercial innovation.”

According to the Guardian article it is expected the report will “call for a loosening and simplification of some aspects of copyright law.”  We will have to wait and see what details are included when the report is published shortly.  It is encouraging that this report acknowledges the barriers to research efforts.  The Guardian said:

“The minister is expected to say that “one of Hargreaves’s great contributions has been to show the importance of copyright in less obvious contexts. He describes how academic work on malaria – which seeks to draw on previous research through a process known as data mining – is being stymied by copyright and contract restrictions.””

UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food. De Schutter begins a new term

Earlier this month it was announced that the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Oliver De Schutter, begins a new term.  To accompany this announcement he delivered a message drawing conclusions from his first term, and looking forward.

“Prof. Olivier De Schutter officially begins a new term as UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food. The UN Human Rights Council renewed his mandate for the next 3 years”

Read the full item “New mandate: message from Olivier De Schutter

 “…the 2007-2008 scenario is playing out again. Last summer, prices on international markets soared again, and the increase continued for eight months. According to the World Bank, global food prices are now 36% above their 2010 levels and remain extremely volatile, close to their 2008 peak. Poor consumers are severely hurt. Due to their political marginalization and their lack of bargaining power, most small-scale farmers are not benefiting from the current price spike. And the wages of agricultural workers are not rising suddenly because the prices of commodities increase.”

IPR systems around the world; report from the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR)

I first saw this item via the AgIP news agency.  It’s aggregated from the Office of the United States Trade Representative: “USTR Releases Annual Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Rights

The annual report looks into how well trading partners protect IPRs.  To compile the report the US Trade Representative office reviewed 77 trading partners.  Of particular interest view the following section online:

SECTION I. DEVELOPMENTS IN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS PROTECTION AND ENFORCEMENT

It includes details of action plans and initiatives that the US govt is undertaking in order to strengthen IPR regimes in countries they trade with, including capacity building efforts.

The Vatican, blogging & copyright

I was reading about a recent meeting of bloggers in Rome, organised by the Vatican.  The post from Techdirt:  “Could The Ultimate Legacy Organization – The Vatican – Be Out In Front On Copyright?” reports that:

“Italian blogger and author Mattia Marasco highlighted the importance of attribution, but said that copyright is “an old model,” when it comes to new media…

…The Vatican also announced an upcoming News.va website, which will make extensive use of social media and apparently use a non-commercial Creative Commons license”

In a Pontifical Council for Social Communications blog post about the event (which is unfortunately available only in Italian) there was mention of the importance not just of communication, but also of interaction. Listening and responding to feedback and responses to gauge how the message has been received.   Social media tools are perfect for this approach. 

For those involved in public sector communication, it would be well worth watching how the Vatican embraces new media, and how it deals with copyrights.  They have, after all, a very long history of communicating content!

GI infringement case in India: “Darjeeling”

Results an infringement case in India involving the GI “Darjeeling”.  This post appeared on SpicyIP last month, “Breaking News: Darjeeling still lounges in Kolkata, says HC” – this week they updated the post bringing copy of the decision. “Darjeeling for Two in Kolkata

By way of an update on the “Darjeeling” Geographical Indications (GI) case we reported on some days ago, we have uploaded a copy of the decision on our site. This is a very interesting decision, not just because it is the first ever by an Indian court on the infringement of a registered GI; but also because it may have significant implications on the protection of GI rights in the country in the times to come.”

A detailed report on the decision is in the post.  They summed up saying:

“The decision was categorical in stating that the word “Darjeeling” could not be exclusively claimed by the Tea Board despite its GI and TM registrations. Crucially, the court held, “Even for a case of passing-off, the use of “Darjeeling” by a person other than the plaintiff can be complained of if the word or the geographical indication has any nexus with the product with which it is exclusively associated upon the registration.”

This raises an obvious interesting but unanswered question: what defines “nexus” as referred to by the Judge above? What degree of similarity will convince a judge to offer a different decision on passing off?”

OA’ (OA Prime): bringing OA resources to low connectivity areas

“Horses for courses” was my take-home message after reading this month’s newsletter from Peter Suber.  It certainly pays to allow room for pragmatism.  SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #157

“Imagine a body of literature that is OA in every respect except that it’s offline.  It’s still digital, free of charge, and allows unrestricted use, but it’s on a thumb drive rather than a network.  If you had that thumb drive in your pocket or plugged into your machine, you’d have free *offline* access rather than free *online* access to that literature.  If OA literature must be online, then this isn’t OA.  But it’s interesting enough to name and discuss in its own right.  Let’s call it OA Prime (OA’).”

Suber then goes on to list x10 advantages and disadvantages of offline OA.  One that I wanted to highlight here is:

“You won’t always have stable or adequate connectivity.  You may be in an undeveloped region of the world or an underdeveloped region of the developed world.  Offline access can be your deliverance. 

Since 2000, WiderNet and the eGranary Digital Library have been delivering OA’ on CDs and other physical media to bandwidth-poor parts of the world where OA itself would be impractical or useless. http://www.widernet.org/eGranary/ …

eGranary is far from obsolete or out of business.  It recently delivered 2 TB of OA’ literature and software to institutions in Zambia, and installed an OA’ library in Liberia running on a 12 volt battery.”

Very interesting initiative from Iowa University! 

The eGranary Digital Library – also known as “The Internet in a Box” – provides millions of digital educational resources to institutions lacking adequate Internet access. Through a process of garnering permissions, copying Web sites, and delivering them to intranet Web servers INSIDE our partner institutions in developing countries and other places aroung the globe, we deliver millions of multimedia documents that can be instantly accessed by patrons over their local area networks at no cost.

To read the whole newsletter visit: SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #157