The Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) on so-called "Intellectual Property"

Michael Geist BLOGS about the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) and the inevitable inclusion of PCT (Patent, copyright, Trademark, etc) law (See: MonteBello2007: Intellectual Property Action Strategy (PDF))

As I have written before, IP consistently ranks as a top U.S. trade priority and the SPP quite obviously represents a core part of the U.S. strategy to export tougher IP enforcement to its closest neighbours.

See also: The E-Commerce and Information and Communications Technologies Working Group.

Creative licence vs copyright law

An article by Canadian artist Kimberly Baker discusses problems with Bill C-47. While I don't believe that Bill C-47 made her art illegal, it does point to a generic problem with these laws which is that while they govern the every-day activities of everyone, they are not clear or even seem reasonable to those that must follow them. The first priority for any legal reform in this area, whether it be copyright, patent, trademark, or specialized laws like C-47 is that they be "clarified and simplified". If these laws can't be made clear to laypersons, then maybe they shouldn't be enforced against laypersons with all these laws only applying to industrial for-profit activities.

Geist: Putting Canadian "Piracy" in Perspective

A video from Michael Geist and Daniel Albahary that puts the industry claims in perspective. Please write a letter to your MP and future candidates to ensure that they are aware of this issue.

Vote for it on CBC's Exposure.

Olympics bill creates special case trademark law

A Globe and Mail article by Patrick Brethour includes:

Canada's Bill C-47 came into force on Friday, creating two classes of trademark law: one for most of the corporate world, and one for the business of the Olympics.

How Hollywood, Congress, And DRM Are Beating Up The American Economy

Cory Doctorow has given this talk titled "Happy Meal Toys versus Copyright: How America Chose Hollywood and Wal-Mart--and why it's doomed us, and how we might survive anyway." a few times (for Google, UC Irvine), and he now has an article Information Week.

Summary, in my words: The US government has given up on manufacturing and much of the rest of their economy in return for what they thought would be a privileged "first mover" position in a new Industrial Information Economy. This new economy hasn't emerged, and won't likely ever emerge. Even with receiving over 50% of worldwide royalties the US has not been able to replace what they gave up with what they mistakenly thought they could gain. They are fighting against the Internet and peer production, which are increasingly successful methods of production, distribution and funding. These competing methods are quite different than what they envisioned.

G8: Health Over Intellectual Property Rights, Says G5

An article by Ravi Kanth Devarakonda in IPS news includes:

HEILIGENDAMM, Germany, Jun 8 (IPS) - The Group of Eight industrialised countries suffered a setback Friday in its plan to strengthen intellectual property rights through "promoting innovation - protecting innovation" when the five developing world's leaders -- China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico -- forced a key change in the final statement.

G8 Summit Strengthens IP Protection; May Undercut Compulsory Licensing

While the world was told the focus of the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany would be on trying to find solutions to the Climate Change Crisis and aids and other issues in Africa, it looks like this could end up as a one step forward and 5 steps backward type of summit. A BLOG article by Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch, and Tove Gerhardsen discusses some of the expansion of PCT proposed, with excessive exclusive rights being one of the barriers to collaborative development and technology transfer (including access to medicines) needed to help solve these critical problems.

See also: Michael Geist

U.S. plays the blame Canada game

The following is a letter to the editor replying to U.S. plays the blame Canada game by Grant Buckler.

There is another important thing to remember about the US government and other special interest lobbying against Canada on our technology laws. The only reason the United States was not itself on the USTR 2007 Special 301 Report is because it is authored by the USTR (United States Trade Representative) and thus doesn't comment on domestic policy.

Copyright is not a binary yes/no question. What should it look like?

There has been an interesting series of articles on SlashDot between Karl Fogel who is a copyright abolitionist and Greg Bulmash who suggests that abolitionists shouldn't be using Open Source as an example given Open Source requires copyright in order to enforce the license agreements. Greg suggests that the goal should be reform, not abolishing.

As a very vocal proponent of FLOSS and other modern methods of production, distribution and funding who is involved in copyright reform, I agree with Greg. Abolishing copyright would not accomplish our goals. What we need to do is look much more closely at the parameters and decide what would best protect the interests of both authors and the general public.

US courts improving US patent law?

Two good-news articles today. One discusses how the US Supreme Court stated that Microsoft didn't have to pay software patent royalties when copies of Windows are made and installed on computers abroad, and a second where the US Supreme Court loosens patent 'obviousness' test which should reduce some of the poor quality patents retained by the USPTO. Both are important improvements to the courts interpretation of US patent law.

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