- At the 2007 hearing, SOCAN proposed a $60 annual fee for podcasters whose programming is less than 20% SOCAN music. The Copyright Board has done better, exempting amateur podcasters. They also set a minimum annual fee of $28 for what it calls 'audio websites' using less than 20% SOCAN music. The annual fee is increased to $79 if the content is between 20 and 80 per cent SOCAN music, and $100 if the combined use is 80 per cent or more SOCAN music.
- SOCAN also proposed a $90 monthly fee for campus and community radio; the Copyright Board has determined that fees for the online use of music by non-commercial radio stations will be based, as with the traditional broadcast of music by these stations, on gross internet operating costs at a rate of 1.9%, adjusting for the number of hits the web site gets. (If 90% of hits on the site is for text-based content, the station would only have to pay 10% of the 1.9% rate.) However, many non-commercial radio stations won't be required to pay this fee as they have already paid the 1.9% on internet operating costs under the regular broadcasting tariff. (thanks John)
- The CBC and the National Campus and Community Radio Association had argued that they should not have to pay an additional fee to simulcast existing radio programming on the grounds that they are using the same material to reach the same audience and should therefore not be charged twice; that they are simply transferring an existing practice onto a new medium; that they are simply following their audience onto a new technology, and that the tariff should be technologically neutral. Although this principle seems to have been generally adopted in the case of non-commercial broadcasters, the CBC will be charged an additional 10% of what they pay under the traditional broadcast tariff, adjusted down for the number of hits received on their podcasts. (If 90% of the hits to the CBC web site is for text rather than audio content, the CBC would pay only an additional 1% more.)
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
First, the plan to implement development agenda recommendation 1 on technical assistance: that recommendation read as follows:
WIPO technical assistance shall be, inter alia, development-oriented, demand-driven and transparent, taking into account the priorities and the special needs of developing countries, especially LDCs, as well as the different levels of development of Member States and activities should include time frames for completion. In this regard, design, delivery mechanisms and evaluation processes of technical assistance programs should be country specificThe plan outlined in the report seems to consist of two elements: first, to ensure everyone at WIPO is aware of the principles of this recommendation. This is a good thing. Second, the general plan seems to be to increase the bureaucracy of technical assistance: WIPO will "assist" countries in creating national IP plans along the following lines:
project design frameworks will be standardized for WIPO to ensure full project definition and description, quality control and approval processes, objective setting and monitoring activities, risk identification and management, performance and results definition and appraisal. Program evaluation will be undertaken in line with the recently approved WIPO Evaluation Policy.Some of these things might help to identify true development-related goals. Or, they could just increase bureaucracy.
Also, WIPO will let private partners in to provide technical assistance, through a proposed "partnership database" that would match technical assistance "donors" with developing countries. On this, India made an important comment back in 2005, which has so far gone unheeded:
it was imperative to recognize that private sector partners would have a slight conflict of interest in the sort of advice that they provided: therefore, as the idea of the Delegation of the United States of America [the US originally suggested the partnership database in 2005] was developed further, the meeting could, perhaps, think of balancing or neutralizing the conflict of interest by having a civil society partner as part of a trilateral arrangement. (IIM/2/10 para 129)Want to keep an eye on all these technical assistance activities? You'll be able to...as long as member states and/or involved partners approve the release of detailed information. Otherwise, you'll just have the general information available on the web site.
Further, a recommendation will be made that WIPO convene a donor conference to get the "bilateral and multilateral donor community (in particular, donor institutions)" involved in the implementation of WIPO's development agenda. This would be a big event soliciting even more private partners.
Remember recommendation 15, that WIPO should "take into consideration the interests and priorities of all WIPO Member States and the viewpoints of other stakeholders" (emphasis added)? Sounds like there is still one stakeholder group that WIPO is especially interested in promoting: in implementing recommendation 4, WIPO will "examine the contribution of the creative sector, as well as underscore its potential as an important constituent in support of policy making." (emphasis added) No mention of the contribution of other sectors. Further to this, WIPO has a plan unrelated to any recommendation contained in the development agenda:
WIPO’s institutional support will be extended not only to national IP offices, but also to other institutions that promote innovative and creative activities such as technology licensing offices in universities, technology promotion institutes, collective management societies and creative industries support institutions. [emphasis added]Also, following recommendation 3 of the development agenda, there is a big plan to "Raise awareness among all sectors of the society regarding the important role that intellectual property plays in national development."
In summary, the implementation plan for the development agenda so far seems to be:
- increase bureaucracy
- set up private partners to "assist" developing countries
- allow those private partners and member states "assisting" developing countries to operate in relative secrecy if they so desire
- increase support to the creative/cultural industries and collective licensing agencies
- generally highlight the wonders that IP does for development
The appointment of the new Director General is expected to take place on Sept 22. The WIPO Coordination Committee has nominated Francis Gurry of Australia to be the next Director General of WIPO, for a term of six years starting October 1 2008. Gurry has been Deputy Director General at WIPO since 2003 and has worked at WIPO since 1985. Although an insider, IP-Watch reported, upon Gurry's win of a close election in May, that he has "nevertheless crafted a reputation for relative independence from the existing administration". He has an honorary position at the University of Melbourne and sits on the advisory board of the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law at Cambridge.
The report of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) is expected to be presented on Sept 23. The report, available online, asks the General Assembly to adopt a work program and to make available some human and financial resources to go along with it. At this point the work program focuses on the 19 development agenda items that were identified for immediate implementation. My summary of and comments on this plan are here.
Other reports will also be presented:
- Report on the Work of the Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE), and the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights
- Progress Report on the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore
- Report on the Work of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), Including the Protection of Audivisual Performances and Protection of the Rights of Broadcasting Organizations
- Progress Report on the New Construction Project
- A report on Matters Concerning Internet Domain Names
- Summary Annual Report of the Director of the Internal Audit and Oversight Division
- Reports of the Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Meetings of the WIPO Audit Committee
- Report on the Work of the Standing Committee on the Law of Patents
Friday, September 12, 2008
A quick summary of the candidates' positions on IP:
- On copyright:
- Obama wants greater enforcement and copyright reform. He thinks the Bush administration should have done more to pursue enforcement cases at the WTO. He also supported Creative Commons licensing of presidential debates. (Update Sept 22: he has Harold Varmus, advocate of open-access research, on his team of scientific advisors)
- McCain wants to crack down on piracy
- On patents:
- Obama suggests reform of the patent system, which would create a “gold-plated” patent much less vulnerable to court challenge while also ensuring that "where dubious patents are being asserted, the PTO could conduct low-cost, timely administrative proceedings to determine patent validity."
- McCain argues that "too much protection can stifle the proliferation of important ideas and impair legitimate commerce in new products to the detriment of our entire economy." McCain wants to provide alternatives to litigation in resolving patent challenges.
- On net neutrality
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
The revival of this project represents one important battle won. As I posted and, more interestingly, Howard Knopf posted, last year, the site was shut down following threats from Universal Edition AG. Universal's complaint? The site, legal under Canadian copyright law, was infringing the copyright laws of other countries. This flew in the face of Canadian copyright sovereignty; if everyone in the world has to follow the highest level of copyright held by any country in the world we'd all be operating, as Knopf noted, under Mexican copyright law, which lasts for life + 100 years.
If life + 100 seems long now, life + 50 seemed long in 1910 when the term was first considered among British possessions. That year at an Imperial Copyright Conference, one British official confessed, when he saw that the proposed term of life + 50 years “it rather shocked him.” He doubted that such a long term would be accepted by the House of Commons. Representatives from Canada and India found the proposed term long, but were prepared to go along with it. Only the New Zealand delegate, Hall Caine, refused to go along, blocking a unanimous recommendation on the point, which nevertheless was eventually incorporated into law throughout the British dominions.
The IMSLP project demonstrates what those decisions were really about. The willingness of Britain, Canada and India to go along with shockingly longer and longer terms, and the tendency of many projects to cave under threat of legal action, have made projects like the IMSLP rare. However for now, with the principle of copyright sovereignty defended, Canada is making possible a wonderful resource for music students and lovers around the world.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
promote norm-setting activities related to IP that support a robust public domain in WIPO’s Member States, including the possibility of preparing guidelines which could assist interested Member States in identifying subject matters that have fallen into the public domain within their respective jurisdictions. (Recommendation 20 of the Development Agenda)An account of the discussions can be found here.
It was noted that there are different definitions of 'the public domain' - that sometimes it is defined to include anything that isn't copyrighted, and that other times it is defined to include anything that is publicly accessable, regardless of its copyright status. However, the two senses of 'the public domain' are linked; the great thing about 'the public domain' (former) is that things in it can be more easily put into 'the public domain' (latter) in old or new ways.
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office uses the former definition in its Guide to Copyrights:
The Government of Canada's Framework for Copyright Reform also uses the former concept:
Facts, ideas and news are all considered part of the public domain, that is, they are everyone's property.
Note too, that you cannot hold a copyright for a work that is in the public domain. You can adapt or translate such a work and have a copyright for your adaptation or translation.
Copyright applies to:
- a song
- a novel
- a play
- a magazine article
- a computer program
Copyright does not apply to:
- the title for a song
- the idea for a plot
- a method of staging a play
- Hamlet (a work in the public domain)
- the facts in the article
- the name of the program (this might be protected through a trade-mark registration)
Copyright protection exists for a limited time, typically the life of the author plus an additional fifty years. After that time elapses, protection ends and the work falls into the "public domain".While the emphasis in intellectual property policymaking tends to be on the public domain in the former sense, there are many ways that governments do and should encourage the public accessibility of information and works (through use of open source software and Creative Commons licensing, government online policies, policies to make research accessible, etc etc). The connections between these policies and intellectual property policy should be kept in the forefront.
At the WIPO meeting the idea of doing a study: a comparative analysis of countries’ legislation asking the question, “how do Member states define the public domain” was discussed. I think such a study would be extremely helpful and interesting, especially in highlighting the importance of both interrelated senses of the public domain in government policy.
Friday, July 11, 2008
"[p]romote measures that will help countries deal with IP related anti‑competitive practices, by providing technical cooperation to developing countries, especially LDCs, at their request, in order to better understand the interface between intellectual property rights and competition policies."
There are calls for a workshop on the issue to be held in Geneva and for WIPO to develop a nuanced approach to the interface between competition policy and IP.
IP and competition policy is an area of the development agenda in which Canada has shown a particular interest, having hosted a workshop on that issue last summer at WIPO as a side-event to the development agenda discussions. It would make sense, therefore, if Canada were to be in the loop as positions continue to be developed at WIPO.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
- Instructions to WIPO staff and consultants. It is proposed that the principles set out in the WIPO development agenda on technical assistance (that "WIPO technical assistance shall be, inter alia, development-oriented, demand-driven and transparent, taking into account the priorities and the special needs of developing countries, especially LDCs, as well as the different levels of development of Member States and activities should include time frames for completion. In this regard, design, delivery mechanisms and evaluation processes of technical assistance programs should be country specific.") will be:
- sent out to all staff and consultants with instructions that these general principles be followed
- included in short, medium, and long-term policy documents
- included in any new guide or manual on technical assistance
- included in other WIPO publications
- Papers to be written.
- a paper on Trust and voluntary funds - existing and proposed - for least-developed countries to help them exploit intellectual property
- a study on patent search tools that could be used by least-developed countries and how those might be made available
- Pilot projects.
- Pilot projects to establish IP info centres in scientific and research institutions
- IT projects
- WIPO proposes to expand upon the information provided on their web site on technical assistance programs, both the part available to the public, and an additional part that will only be available to member countries.
- A database "to match specific IP-related development needs with available resources."
- Training and Other Resources.
- It is proposed that WIPO continue to provide training and efficiency improvements to IP institutions, including national IP offices and collective management organizations. Awareness-raising is proposed to be conducted with a broader range of organizations, such as technology licensing bodies at universities and business support organizations (such as chambers of commerce, professional associations etc).
- Staff and consultants.
- consultants and staff are proposed for these various projects: the paper writing, the IT projects, and the training and gallivanting. By my count, 5 consultants, 10 professionals, 8 general service staff, and one IT professional are proposed.
The dissemination of instructions to staff and consultants could be a very important foundation of the development agenda at WIPO, integrating it into the culture of the organization. Such instructions, however, if they are to generate real challenge and engagement, must emphasize openness to the various types of ideas and demands - to various ideas of what 'development-oriented' IP might be - that might be brought by recipients of technical assistance. There is a danger that this feedback might be compromised if the training provided by WIPO to the very officials in developing countries who make such demands does not include and allow for an open discussion and a varied set of ideas about what 'development-oriented' IP might be like.
I wonder if it would not be wise, as has been suggested during the development agenda discussions, for a roster of consultants who perform technical assistance to be made available and/or for recipient countries to be able to select from this list and, importantly, to nominate their additional own consultants who might be hired by WIPO to perform these duties. This might increase the independence and diversity of ideas circulating in the area.
Regarding the IT projects.
While much of the information regarding technical assistance is to be made available not publicly but only to member states, it is encouraging to note the statement that "the project will be guided by the principle of transparency and donors and recipients will be encouraged to authorize WIPO to provide as much information as possible on technical assistance activities." Release of information will nevertheless depend on the authorization of involved member states.
Regarding the partnership database (above in 4(2)), the comment of India at the IIM2 must be kept in mind:
“it was imperative to recognize that private sector partners would have a slight conflict of interest in the sort of advice that they provided: therefore, as the idea of the Delegation of the United States of America was developed further, the meeting could, perhaps, think of balancing or neutralizing the conflict of interest by having a civil society partner as part of a trilateral arrangement.” (IIM/2/10 para 129)Regarding Training.
It is noted that the working paper proposes that, "In future, WIPO activities in this area shall pay greater heed to the need to take into account the interests of the general public."
Thursday, June 12, 2008
assist Member States to develop and improve national IP institutional capacity through further development of infrastructure and other facilities with a view to making national IP institutions more efficient and promote fair balance between IP protection and the public interest. This technical assistance should also be extended to sub-regional and regional organizations dealing with IP.It outlines various programs of technical assistance "that have been, are being or could be implemented by WIPO in the future."
While the overwhelming focus of these programs is on "training" government officials in intellectual property, strengthening collective management organizations and intellectual property offices, and encouraging the private sector in the exploitation of intellectual property, there are also a few points that stand out. The document proposes:
- "Increased emphasis in [training] sessions on how to develop a balanced IP system,"
- that legal assistance include "Advice with regard to accession to, and implementation of, international treaties, including regional agreements, taking into account the development priorities and objectives and available flexibilities." (emphasis added)
- "Support for regional and sub-regional initiatives to develop regional and sub-regional legislation in the areas of IP, Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions (for example in OAPI and ARIPO),"
- "Organization of strategic seminars or fora for policy makers and senior IP administrators to discuss and share their views on emerging IP issues such as traditional knowledge, copyright in the digital environment, the role of IP in economic development, flexibilities in IP system, IP and Public Health, strategic use of patent information, evolving role of IP administrations in national development, etc.," and the "Inclusion in such fora of more topics relating to IP protection, public policy objectives and public interest," (emphasis added)
SMEs are not only creators but also users of IP. Thus the program assists them not only to better protect, manage and exploit their innovations and creativity but also to make it accessible to others.Interesting also are the documents' various references to the 'user community', which at times seems to refer to the users of IP offices and at other times the users of IP.
Given the general emphasis within the document on the usual style of WIPO technical assistance, with the emphasis on promoting the protection of IP and strengthening collective management organizations, which generally serve to export funds to rich countries, the proposals contained in this document cannot be seen as an indication of a sea change at WIPO. Rather, the document contains a few small but potentially important steps in recognizing the complexity of interests in the international IP system.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
The WIPO coordination committee has announced the names of nominees for the WIPO Director General. There are 15 in total.
Several of the nominations have been posted online. Three of those are WIPO insiders, two are diplomats with high-level experience at international forums but no specific specialization in intellectual property, and one is a lawyer/academic with a strong specialization in intellectual property.
- José Graça, nominated by Brazil
- a WIPO insider who has worked a Director at WIPO since 2004 and whose involvement at WIPO dates back to 1993
- had a prior career as a professor and at the intellectual property offices in Brazil
- Yoshiyuki Takagi, nominated by Japan
- also a WIPO insider who has occupied Director and Executive Director positions at WIPO since 1994
- held posts as a diplomat and in the Japanese Patent Office earlier in his career
- Philippe Petit, nominated by France
- Deputy Director of WIPO since 2001
- former French diplomat
- Enrique A. Manalo, nominated by the Philippines
- Manolo has been chairman of the WIPO General Assembly for the past 2 years
- he has worked for the Philippine Foreign Affairs since 1979
- Manalo wrote an important report as part of the WIPO development agenda proceedings that attempted to sum up the development agenda proposals and the related work already being done at WIPO
- José DelmerUrbizo Panting, nominated by Honduras
- a diplomat involved at the Group of 77 and UNCTAD who has held high-level posts in Honduran banking and government sectors
- James Otieno Odek, nominated by Kenya
- an academic and a lawyer who has researched and published on intellectual property, trade, development, and human rights (with a teaching career dating back to 1989, he received an LLM from Yale and his doctorate in law from University of Toronto in 1995)
- involved in high-level WIPO bodies since 2006
Carolyn Deer has set out a number of criteria that should be met by WIPO's new Director General in a very helpful commentary on IP-Watch.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
The Congress seeks to advance a global consensus on priority actions that reflect a one-sided agenda on strengthening enforcement of intellectual property rights. Though lacking official endorsement,the recommendations so far produced by the Congress provide a narrow perspective on the enforcement of intellectual property rights that unduly shift the burden of private rights enforcement to government.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
on trademark registration:
- Canada should join the Madrid system of international registration of trade-marks offers trade-mark owners, which allows trade-mark owners to have their marks protected in multiple member countries by filing one application for registration with the local IP office
- Canada should ratify the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks, which would mean "more harmonized policies with respect to registration and maintenance of trade-marks, and a somewhat stronger voice for Canada in negotiating ongoing changes to the international trade-mark regime."
- "improving access to relevant IP data" for SMEs, since such access is "instrumental to the identification of successful commercialization partnerships both domestically and internationally"
- "better support for technology transfer capacity in universities and promote a culture of entrepreneurship and commercialization in these settings"
- Although they don't mention the WIPO copyright treaties directly, they push international IP harmonization hard, arguing that a
"“tyranny of small differences” between regimes that can impose significant costs on Canadian businesses operating in foreign markets. Addressing these “small differences” through initiatives that harmonize the processes of registration and maintenance of IP rights is likely to effect a positive change in both Canada's attractiveness as a place to do business and in the global outlook of Canadian companies."
"Greater harmonization of administrative processes also allows foreign enterprises wishing to invest in or partner with Canadian firms to register and protect their intellectual property without adjusting to as many of the particularities of the Canadian IP system."
Friday, January 11, 2008
Opening of the meeting
Election of Officers
Adoption of the Agenda
Adoption of Rules of Procedure of CDIP
Consideration of Work Program for Implementation of Adopted Proposals
Summary by the Chair
Closing of the session