To Celebrate World IP Day—An Interesting Copyright Conversation

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As most readers of this blog are aware, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has declared each April 26 to be “World IP Day”. Why April 26? This was the date on which WIPO was established back in 1970. According to WIPO, World IP Day, which was first celebrated 17 years ago in 2000, is celebrated in order “to learn about the role that intellectual property rights (patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright) play in encouraging innovation and creativity.” The event is loosely connected to “World Book and Copyright Day” celebrated by UNESCO each April 23 (the birthday of both Shakespeare and Cervantes). Continue reading “To Celebrate World IP Day—An Interesting Copyright Conversation”

The Xi-Trump “Mar-a-Lago” Summit: How will it impact US Copyright Industries in China?

Source: Xinhua–Lan Hongguang

The breathlessly awaited Mar-a-Lago, Florida summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Donald Trump turned out to be much less dramatic than many expected. It was more about establishing a tone and a personal relationship than dealing with the many problems that the two countries face. These range from threatened US tariffs to offset Chinese trade surpluses, to Chinese bases in the South China Sea, to North Korean missile tests to human rights concerns, and so on. The timing of the US missile strike against Syria, coming as it did in the middle of Xi’s visit, also took away some of the media attention the visit would otherwise have had. The meeting was portrayed as almost a “love-in” between Trump and Xi although serious issues remain on the agenda. President Trump accepted Xi’s invitation to visit China later this year so there will be plenty of opportunity to discuss troublesome issues later. Continue reading “The Xi-Trump “Mar-a-Lago” Summit: How will it impact US Copyright Industries in China?”

Disabling Access to Large-Scale Pirate Sites (Site Blocking)—It Works!

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As I wrote back in August, recent studies conducted by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the Information Technology and Information Foundation (ITIF) have demonstrated convincingly that blocking offshore pirate websites works in terms of changing consumer behaviour (i.e. directing consumers away from infringing content to sources of legitimate content) while at the same time not interfering with normal internet operations. In other words, it does not “break the internet”. The growing awareness and rapid take up of this defensive measure globally illustrates the extent to which disabling access (sometimes called site blocking) can be a highly effective tool to curtail online piracy. Continue reading “Disabling Access to Large-Scale Pirate Sites (Site Blocking)—It Works!”

Nollywood: Is it Realizing its Full Potential?

Photograph courtesy of Aimee Corrigan/ This Is Nollywood. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License

In the beginning, there was Hollywood. Then Bollywood, the Bombay (now known as Mumbai) based Hindi language film industry, which is the largest film production centre in the world. And then Tollywood cropped up, the term used to designate the not insubstantial Telagu language film industry in south India. And now there is Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry. Continue reading “Nollywood: Is it Realizing its Full Potential?”

Canada and NAFTA: When a “Tweak” becomes a “Hard Squeeze” (But Are There Upsides?)

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The “tweak” to NAFTA that President Donald Trump famously promised Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during their initial meeting in Washington in February is rapidly morphing into more of a “hard squeeze” if recently leaked documents outlining the negotiating objectives that the US Trade Representative’s Office (USTR) will be submitting to Congress are to be believed. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has already talked tough in public, indicating that the US will be expecting concessions from both Canada and Mexico. The latest draft of the document that will be submitted to Congress, obtained by Inside US Trade and reported extensively in the Canadian press, indicates that the US has a long list of demands that it will be seeking. Continue reading “Canada and NAFTA: When a “Tweak” becomes a “Hard Squeeze” (But Are There Upsides?)”

Canada, Special 301 and NAFTA

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This is the time of year when the US Trade Representative’s Office (USTR) goes through its annual “Special 301” exercise to prepare a report for the US Congress evaluating the state of intellectual property (IP) protection in countries around the world with a view to identifying those states with shortcomings that negatively affect US industries that rely on IP rights. As I noted in my blog at about the same time last year, the Special 301 law was enacted by the US Congress in 1988 with a view to providing for;

“the development of an overall strategy to ensure adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights and fair and equitable market access for United States persons that rely on protection of intellectual property rights.” Continue reading “Canada, Special 301 and NAFTA”

Copyright in Canada: When Ten Percent is Too Much

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While the assault on writers and publishers by the university community in Canada continues, based on the dubious proposition that the educational exception for fair dealing means that institutions of higher learning no longer need to obtain licences to reproduce material in course packs and other classroom material, there is some hope for redress through the courts. On February 9 the Quebec Court of Appeal overturned a ruling from a year earlier by the Quebec Superior Court thus allowing the Société québécoise de gestion collective des droits de reproduction (Copibec for short) to bring a class action suit against Université Laval on behalf of all authors and publishers from Quebec, the rest of Canada and other countries.” The lawsuit in Quebec parallels the one in English Canada where the copyright collective, Access Copyright, is suing York University (and indirectly most other post-secondary institutions in the rest of Canada) for similar infringements. Continue reading “Copyright in Canada: When Ten Percent is Too Much”