Monthly Archives: January 2012

IP4inno training: free online sessions

The European Commission project IP4inno is offering a series of free Virtual Classroom Lessons (VCLs) during February and March.

These virtual sessions are tasters for training that will take place later in the  year.  More materials are available on their website or by topic below:

Monday 20 February 14:00 – 15:00 CET
Module 6B – Selling the message: how to convince SMEs that IP matters

Monday 27 February 14:00 – 15:00 CET
Module 5C – Business strategies for enforcing patents

Monday 5 March 14:00 – 15:00 CET
Module 6A – IP in the ICT sector

Monday 12 March 14:00 – 15:00 CET
Module 6A – Biotechnology patents

Request for input; Demarcation and Food Security

A colleague from Moi University, Josam Musambayi contacted me recently with an outline for a paper he is writing on demarcation.  Whilst demarcation of land is not a topic we would normally cover on this blog, the issue may be of general interest to this community, and has legal implications.  

Does anyone have any suggestions or advice for Josam in his work?  You can download his draft paper here.  He says:

“uncontrolled subdivision of agricultural land …[could increase the] likelihood of food insecurity

..the purpose of my paper is to gather information for use by the planners and government policy makers, especially in Africa , on the food security situation… the population explosion in Africa is placing a huge demand on governments for food provision , climate change notwithstanding.  Contribution from scholars is welcome so that we can share this information with others.

Please contact Josam directly if you have any comments on this topic – his contact details are in the draft paper.

Online Piracy legislation: Wikipedia to go on strike over SOPA

The discussion of the US Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has been causing plenty of noise online.  Wikipedia is planning a strike this week – for 24 hours they are going to pull the plug on their site.  This will no doubt grab the attention of their estimated 25million daily visitors!

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia has (according to the Guardian):

  “been a persistent critic of Sopa, calling it “the worst internet legislation I have ever seen.””

This is one of many voices against the proposed legislation.  Last year the BBC reported:

“The founders of Google, Twitter and eBay have signed a strongly worded letter criticising controversial US legislation ahead of a debate in Congress… Sopa was introduced by Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, who said the legislation was designed to “stop the flow of revenue to rogue websites… that profit from selling pirated goods without any legal consequences”.”

Yesterday however, The Guardian reported that:

“Congress ready to drop Sopa vote after White House says it would not support legislation that threatens openness of internet”

Again from the Guardian:

“…while Sopa now looks severely damaged, Protect IP is still up for a vote on 24 January and there is widespread support among politicians for tighter control of the internet”

Of course there is support for this legislation.  Whilst it seems the voices against have been most successful in capturing media headlines, there are also compelling arguments in support of legislation (see video below).

What is clear is that striking a balance between infringement and fair use is very difficult to legislate for….  Fair Use is a concept that we often rely on in our work so it’s worth taking the time to exploring the wider issues.

Final comment from the Guardian:

…So far, the Sopa battle has been largely fought out in the tech, media, and business pages. All that could change Wednesday when Wikipedia goes dark.”

Read the official legal docs

Some background Q&As

High profile push for Open Access: George Monbiot – The Lairds of Learning

“Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist…” – harsh words from George Monboit (a writer for the Guardian).  Good to see such a high-profile piece pushing Open Access.  Of course as we know the devil is in the detail – but this article got people talking about this increasingly important subject!

See original item with full references: George Monbiot – The Lairds of Learning or as it appeared in the Guardian last year : Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist.

(Emphasis added) “Who are the most ruthless capitalists in the Western world?…  my vote goes not to the banks, the oil companies or the health insurers, but – wait for it – to academic publishers… Of all corporate scams, the racket they run is most urgently in need of referral to the competition authorities.”

“..the academic publishers get their articles, their peer reviewing (vetting by other researchers) and even much of their editing for free. The material they publish was commissioned and funded not by them but by us, through government research grants and academic stipends. But to see it, we must pay again, and through the nose.”

His suggestions about how to improve access?

“In the short term, governments should refer the academic publishers to their competition watchdogs, and insist that all papers arising from publicly funded research are placed in a free public database. In the longer term, they should work with researchers to cut out the middleman altogether, creating – along the lines proposed by Björn Brembs of Berlin’s Freie Universität – a single global archive of academic literature and data. Peer-review would be overseen by an independent body. It could be funded by the library budgets which are currently being diverted into the hands of privateers.”

See original item: George Monbiot – The Lairds of Learning or as it appeared in the Guardian: Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist.  Thanks to those at the CGIAR who Yammered this item and got it traveling further!