- Australia-US Free Trade Agreement Examined +/-
(Slashdot) An evaluation of the impact of the changes Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) in the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement is available from the Australian Parliamentary Library (Research Paper #14 PDF). It takes a very critical stance, with statements such as 'IPRs fit awkwardly in an agreement that has the aim of advancing free trade.' and 'While there has not been a comprehensive economic evaluation of IPRs, the Productivity Commission has found that, as a net importer of IPRs, Australia would lose more than it gains by strengthening IPRs. The net economic impact is thus likely to be negative.'
- EFF: The Patent Busting Project +/-
(EFF) The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Patent Busting Project is here to protect you from dangerously bad patents. And you can help us pick which patents we're going to bust first! We're currently seeking nominations for ten patents that deserve to be revoked because they are invalid. A patent must be software or Internet-related and there must be a good reason to suspect that the patent claims are invalid. We're especially interested in patents that target tools of free expression, such as streaming media, blogging tools, and voice over IP (VoIP) technology. Most importantly, the patent-holder must be aggressively enforcing its patent and suing (or threatening to sue) alleged infringers. We're particularly interested in cases where the patent-holder is trying to force small businesses, individuals, nonprofits, and consumers to pay licensing fees. Deadline to enter is June 23.
- EU - ECJ Opinion on Database Directive +/-
(IPKat) Directive 96/9 on the legal protection of databases (the database directive) introduced a sui generis right that was designed to protect the contents of organised collections of data, even if the compilation of data fell far short of a work of authorship that was entitled to copyright protection. The nature of the sui generis right is defined by Article 7 of the database directive. Advocate General Christine Stix-Hackl has delivered Opinions concerning the interpretation of the database directive in no fewer than four cases that have been referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for preliminary rulings. Three deal with databases of football fixtures, while the fourth deals with a database of horse-racing data. All of these cases raise issues concerning the true import of Article 7.
- Inside the WIPO's Broadcast Treaty Negotiations +/-
(LawMeme) The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is considering a treaty on IP protection for broadcasts. The basic idea -- that broadcasts could be protected from reproduction even when the contents are public domain -- is repugnant enough, but some of the details are even ookier. A crack team of copyfighters is on the spot, however, inside the closed doors of the treaty-making organization, reporting on the goings-on. They're blogging up a storm, thanks to some clever use of social software. The Union for the Public Domain has their reports.
- Reed allows academics free web access +/-
(Guardian) Reed Elsevier is allowing academics to put papers that have been accepted for publication in its print and online journals on to the internet, breaking with years of tradition and reigniting the debate over open access to academic thinking. Until now the world's largest academic publisher has been a staunch opponent of open access, saying it poses a threat to the quality of academic research. But it is now letting academics put a text version of their accepted articles on to their own websites, or sites operated by their institutions. However, academics will not be allowed to put links to their papers in central academic databases.
- UK - BBC to open archives under Creative Commons licence +/-
(out-law.com) The BBC released details of its Creative Archive initiative, which will allow people to download, manipulate and share clips of BBC documentaries, without fear of breaching copyright laws. The scheme embraces the Creative Commons licensing model. Founded in 2001, Creative Commons is a non-profit US corporation founded on the notion that some people may not want to exercise all of the intellectual property rights the law affords them.
- US - The Information Commons - A Public Policy Report +/-
(Free Expression Policy Project) In the last decade, mass media companies have developed methods of control that undermine the public's traditional rights to use, share, and reproduce information and ideas. These technologies, combined with dramatic consolidation in the media industry and new laws that increase its control over intellectual products, threaten to undermine the political discourse, free speech, and creativity needed for a healthy democracy. In response, librarians, cyber-activists, and other public interest advocates have sought ways to expand access to the wealth of resources that the Internet promises, and have begun to build online communities, or 'commons,' for producing and sharing information, creative works, and democratic discussion. This report documents the information commons movement, explains its importance, and outlines the theories and 'best practices' that have developed to assist its growth. PDF version