SpicyIP Weekly Review (30th June- 6th July)

spicyipREVThe SpicyIP story of the week is Thomas reporting that India has ratified the Marrakesh Treaty for the Visually Impaired. The treaty aims to increase the access that differently abled people have to copyright protected material.

The week began with Aparajita’s announcement that Mr. Ravindra Chingale, a PhD research scholar at NLU-Delhi is carrying out research on Impact of Patent Law on Software in India. You can help him out with his research by filling in questionnaires.

We then had Swaraj’s post on the Breakthrough Prize for Mathematics, started by a group of individuals including Mark Zuckerberg, was awarded recently. The  prize money amounted to $3 million, which is 2.5 times the amount given for a Nobel Prize! Swaraj notes that it is heartening to see Mathematics being encouraged this way as research in Math is often hard pressed to find any interaction with the public at large.

I then wrote two posts on the Aereo Dispute, where it was held that Aereo’s innovative model of using multiple antennae to broadcast cable signals over the internet to users violated the copyright of broadcasters as it amounted to a “public performance”. The first post was a guest post by Mr. Manoj Menda which summarised the decision. In the second post, I analysed the implications of Aereo on innovation and cloud computing. I also compared the case with a seemingly similar Indian case involving Jadoo TV.

Gopika then posted on the Law Commission’s Consultation Paper on Media Freedom. She analyzed the responses to the Paper filed by Amnesty International and the Alternative Law Forum, which touch upon contentious aspects of media freedom such as criminalisation of defamation, contempt of Court, the infamous S.66A of the IT Act, regulation of cross media ownership, etc. Those interested may file their own responses to the Law Commission, by post to Member-Secretary, Law Commission of India, Hindustan Times House, 14th Floor, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi – 110 001 or by email at [email protected]. The last date is August 15th, 2014.

The week ended with Swaraj’s post on two contradictory press releases of the European Commission. The first was a communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee. Here, in the “Way Forward” section, the Commission contemplated imposing funding-related sanctions on for countries that “persistently break international commitments on IP rules in ways that have a major impact on the EU, and where the authorities are unwilling to cooperate or where cooperation shows limited results”. The second press release  was a very well written speech by Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for the digital agenda, where she describes the problems that the current copyright regime is facing, pointing out that when some countries have favoured “weaker” copyright policies in favour of public access, “the sky <has not> fallen in”.

International Developments                                         

1)      The 50th ICANN meeting in London concluded on 26th June. The major themes running through the meeting was greater accountability of ICANN and the transition of ICANN from US oversight to (possibly) the global multi-stakeholder community. The opening up of domain names and the implications of this on IP (trademark and GI in particular) was also hotly debated. Read a report on the meeting, put together by DIPLO Foundation, here.

2)      TechDirt reports that ESPN and Univision are raining down on the World Cup Fever by aggressively taking down 7 second clips from FIFA on the crowd sourced news sharing website Vine.

3)      US Patent and Trademark Office appoints Michelle Lee, a former Google patent lawyer who is public about recognising that innovation can be achieved through means other than patents, as interim director,



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