“Three strikes” P2P rule inches closer to law in France

2 11 2008

France’s “three strikes” legislation, which would cut off Internet access for repeat copyright infringers, has received the overwhelming support of the French Senate. The National Assembly still has to vote on the measure, but passage looks increasingly likely.

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EU patent board to decide whether to allow software patents

30 10 2008

The European Patent Office Enlarged Board of Appeal will soon be reviewing the legality of software patents in an effort to provide clarity to judges.

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“Belgian ISP Wins Reprieve In Copyright Infringement Filtering Case”

28 10 2008

Out-Law.com: “Belgian ISP Wins Reprieve in Copyright Infringement Filtering Case“:

A Belgian internet service provider that had been ordered by the courts to filter out copyright-infringing material from its network has won a court reprieve. It will not have to pay the €750,000 in fines that have built up over the past year.

Australia’s Internet filter: could legal content be banned, too?

28 10 2008

Australia’s government-mandated Internet filtering system won’t allow users to opt out of a filtering tier that targets “illegal” material. But a conservative party is already suggesting that legal material be added to the mandatory tier.

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This week in review … Consultations to continue on work programme of WIPO Committee on TK, indigenous peoples’ effective participation of vital interest

28 10 2008

IGC Consultations to Continue on Future Work Program

WIPO press release, 21 October 2008

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: The Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Francis Gurry, and the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) Ambassador Rigoberto Gauto Vielman of Paraguay said they would pursue efforts in the coming weeks to bridge differences among member states on the way to move international negotiations forward. The IGC wrapped up its 13th meeting late in the evening of 17 October 2008 after attempts to hammer out compromise texts on the future work programme faltered. Despite intense negotiations, delegations were not able to agree on the working procedures required to deliver the concrete outcomes that many have called for from this Committee. The IGC’s mandate calls upon it to accelerate its work, and expectations remain strong that the Committee should produce a significant outcome by the time it is required to report back to the WIPO General Assembly in September 2009. The Chairman of the IGC said that in spite of differences on how to advance its work, last week’s session saw increasing acceptance of the need for a process that would move forward decisively from exchanges of views and experiences to a focused, negotiation process.  The Chairman indicated that he would pursue informal consultations with member states and observers, including representatives of indigenous and local communities taking part in the Committee’s work, in the period leading up to the next IGC session. The programme and budget adopted by WIPO member states foresees two full IGC sessions in 2009.

Effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities remains of vital interest both in relation to the procedural and the substantive legal aspects of the Committee’s work. The Committee continued to build mechanisms that are exceptional for an intergovernmental process to ensure indigenous peoples and local communities have an effective voice. An Indigenous Caucus and a capacity building workshop for Indigenous delegations were convened prior to the Committee session, and throughout the session, Indigenous delegations were provided with interpretation services and other logistical support, funded by WIPO with the logistical support of DoCIP (the Indigenous Peoples’ Centre for Documentation, Research and Information).

The opening Committee session featured a panel discussion of indigenous representatives, chaired by Albert Deterville of the Indigenous People (Bethechilokono) of Saint Lucia Governing Council. The Committee accredited twelve additional observers, bringing to well over 200 the total number of observers specially accredited to the IGC, the majority representing indigenous peoples and local communities. The WIPO Voluntary Fund, established to support the participation of indigenous peoples and local communities in the Committee’s work, supported an increasing number of community representatives and saw a sharp rise in applications for future support. In spite of these mechanisms, indigenous representatives voiced concerns about the informal consultations between member states aimed at bridging differences between delegations over future work, and the closing session saw a strong statement from the Indigenous Caucus calling for a central role in such consultations in the future. Read the press release …

This week in review … Indigenous peoples demand effective participation in IGC consultations

28 10 2008

Indigenous People Seek Recognition At WIPO Meeting On Their Rights
IP Watch, 24 October 2008

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: Indigenous groups are looking for better representation at the United Nations body negotiating on issues related to the protection of their traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. Indigenous groups are normally classified as non-governmental observers and civil society groups in the IGC. The limits of the NGO status came clear on the morning of the last day of negotiations, during a plenary in which governmental regional group coordinators were given the floor to make statements on future work for the committee. The Indigenous Peoples Caucus, which represents the accredited indigenous observers at the WIPO IGC, wanted to make an intervention during this morning plenary session, but was unable to do so. Negotiations then moved to informal meetings (also excluding NGOs) that changed the course of the meeting. The caucus represents a majority of the world’s rights holders on traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions and “should have been given opportunity to make an intervention,” Deterville, who chaired the caucus at the IGC from 13 to 17 October, told Intellectual Property Watch. Deterville’s closing statement, given on behalf of the indigenous caucus, noted that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides them “the right to participate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights” and requires states to “consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned.” This, he said, did not happen. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples also asserts the right of indigenous people “maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional
cultural expressions” and obliges states to provide redress to indigenous people for “cultural, intellectual, religious and spiritual property taken without their free, prior and informed consent or in violation of their laws, traditions and customs.” Read the article …

German Artists Defend Copyright in Google Era

27 10 2008

Trinity Hartman


Google might reign as the unchallenged king of German search engines, but a lawsuit over the company’s popular image search feature brings into question the rights of German artists in the Internet age.

Michael Bernhard makes his living photographing celebrities and models for German magazines. Exclusivity pays his rent, which means that he doesn’t want his copyrighted works turned loose on the Internet.

So when his photographs kept showing up on Google Image Search, which indexes and displays pictures as small thumbnails, Bernhard went to his attorney, Matthies van Eendenburg.

“To me it seems to be pretty clear that there is no legal permission for this kind of usage,” van Eendenburg told Deutsche Welle. “If you spread these pictures around the Internet, one of his sources of profit is endangered.”

Bernhard, a Hamburg resident filed suit in the regional court and won.

Dr Michael Geist: Why Copyright? The Fight for Canada’s Digital Future

27 10 2008

Vue Weekly

SCOTT HARRIS / scott@vueweekly.com

Late last year, rumours began to swirl that federal Minister of Industry Jim Prentice was about to introduce legislation to make sweeping changes to Canada’s copyright laws.
In response, University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist created a Facebook group to provide a forum for discussion on the expected bill. The reaction was incredible. In less than a week the group had grown to more than 10 000 members, and within a month to 35 000. Fair Copyright for Canada chapters began appearing in cities across Canada, many holding demonstrations at the offices of their local MPs.
The outcry forced the government to delay the bill’s introduction by six months. When it finally appeared on June 12 in the form of Bill C-61, the changes confirmed the worst fears of many, drawing comparisons to the restrictive copyright legislation south of the border, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Blogger.com Banned In Turkey For Linking To Pirated Sports Transmissions

27 10 2008

BasBasBas.com: “Digiturk Causes Turkish Ban of Blogger/Blogspot“:

Digiturk asked Blogger to take several blogs or blog entries down containing links to pirated transmissions of the live games. Blogger did nothing, Digiturk went to court and under Turkish intellectual property law, they managed to get Blogger banned completely, effectively banning millions of websites that have nothing to do with Turkish football or pirating.

The Australian Digital Alliance

25 10 2008

From The Australian Digital Alliance website:

“The ADA is a non-profit coalition of public and private sector interests formed to promote balanced copyright law and provide an effective voice for a public interest perspective in the copyright debate. ADA members include universities, schools, consumer groups, galleries, museums , IT companies, scientific and other research organisations, libraries and individuals.”

The Australian Digital Alliance has been very active in being a voice for the idea of balance in copyright law in Australia. The release of a new report on a review of the National Innovation System commissioned by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research was reported recently on the ADA website. Some of the key reccommendations that have an impact on the area of copyright and intellectual property are listed below.

Recommendation 7.3

Professional practitioners and beneficiaries of the IP system should be closely involved in IP policy making. However, IP policy is economic policy. It should make the same transition as competition policy did in the 1980s and 90s to being managed as such.

Recommendation 7.7

Australia should establish a National Information Strategy to optimise the flow of information in the Australian economy.
The fundamental aim of a National Information Strategy should be to:

  • utilise the principles of targeted transparency and the development of auditable standards to maximise the flow of information in private markets about product quality; and
  • maximise the flow of government generated information, research, and content for the benefit of users (including private sector resellers of information).

Recommendation 7.8

Australian governments should adopt international standards of open publishing as far as possible. Material released for public information by Australian governments should be released under a creative commons licence.

Recommendation 7.9

Funding models and institutional mandates should recognise the research and innovation role and contributions of cultural agencies and institutions responsible for information repositories, physical collections or creative content and fund them accordingly.

The entire report can be viewed at the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research website.