Lobby groups oppose plans for EU copyright extension

">
Lobby groups oppose plans for EU copyright extension

By | January 12, 2019

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The European Commission currently has proposals on the table to extend performers’ copyright terms. Described by Professor Martin Kretschmer as the “Beatles Extension Act”, the proposed measure would extend copyright from 50 to 95 years after recording. A vast number of classical tracks are at stake; the copyright on recordings from the fifties and early sixties is nearing its expiration date, after which it would normally enter the public domain or become ‘public property’. E.U. Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services Charlie McCreevy is proposing this extension, and if the other relevant Directorate Generales (Information Society, Consumers, Culture, Trade, Competition, etc.) agree with the proposal, it will be sent to the European Parliament.

Wikinews contacted Erik Josefsson, European Affairs Coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (E.F.F.), who invited us to Brussels, the heart of E.U. policy making, to discuss this new proposal and its implications. Expecting an office interview, we arrived to discover that the event was a party and meetup conveniently coinciding with FOSDEM 2008 (the Free and Open source Software Developers’ European Meeting). The meetup was in a sprawling city centre apartment festooned with E.F.F. flags and looked to be a party that would go on into the early hours of the morning with copious food and drink on tap. As more people showed up for the event it turned out that it was a truly international crowd, with guests from all over Europe.

Eddan Katz, the new International Affairs Director of the E.F.F., had come over from the U.S. to connect to the European E.F.F. network, and he gladly took part in our interview. Eddan Katz explained that the Electronic Frontier Foundation is “A non-profit organisation working to protect civil liberties and freedoms online. The E.F.F. has fought for information privacy rights online, in relation to both the government and companies who, with insufficient transparency, collect, aggregate and make abuse of information about individuals.” Another major focus of their advocacy is intellectual property, said Eddan: “The E.F.F. represents what would be the public interest, those parts of society that don’t have a concentration of power, that the private interests do have in terms of lobbying.”

Becky Hogge, Executive Director of the U.K.’s Open Rights Group (O.R.G.), joined our discussion as well. “The goals of the Open Rights Group are very simple: we speak up whenever we see civil, consumer or human rights being affected by the poor implementation or the poor regulation of new technologies,” Becky summarised. “In that sense, people call us -I mean the E.F.F. has been around, in internet years, since the beginning of time- but the Open Rights Group is often called the British E.F.F.

Contents

  • 1 The interview
    • 1.1 Cliff Richard’s pension
    • 1.2 Perpetual patents?
    • 1.3 The fight moves from the U.K. to Europe
    • 1.4 Reclaiming democratic processes in the E.U.
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External links

Wikinews discusses the H1N1 pandemic with the CDC

">
Wikinews discusses the H1N1 pandemic with the CDC

By |

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a US government agency. In an interview with Wikinews, Jeff Dimond, a member of the Division of Media Relations for the CDC, answered a few question regarding the current situation of the H1N1 swine flu pandemic.

The CDC reported that during week 42 (October 18–24) of this year, the swine flu activity increased in the United States with 19 confirmed deaths by swine flu, while week 43 (Oct. 25–31) faced 15 confirmed deaths.


((Wikinews)) How does the CDC feel the media has handled the H1N1 flu pandemic?

Jeff Dimond: Media coverage has been quite good.

((WN)) What measures are the CDC taking to combat the swine flu?

JD: Public health information is being distributed nationwide, scientists worked hard to identify the H1N1 virus and produce a vaccine in record time.

((WN)) What areas around the world are affected most by the swine flu?

JD: This is a question for the WHO (World Health Organization).

((WN)) Are the current anti-flu vaccines effective and how sufficient is the current supply?

JD: All current anti-flu vaccines are effective. Manufacturers are producing doses as fast as possible. Spot shortages may occur, but there is not an overall shortage of vaccine. For the most severe cases, a drug called Peramivir has been authorized for emergency use by the FDA.

((WN)) How can one avoid infection and how deadly is this disease?

JD: Proper hand sanitation and avoidance of individuals who have flu-like symptoms is the best way to avoid becoming ill. To date more than 1000 Americans have died from LABORATORY CONFIRMED cases of H1N1 and of those 129 are under the age of 18. The most at-risk populations are pregnant women, younger people in the 18–49 age group and those with other complicating conditions such as asthma, COPD, diabetes and morbid obesity.

((WN)) What efforts have the CDC made to insure vaccines are available for those with no or poor health-care?

JD: Distribution of vaccine is up to the state health departments. CDC is not a regulatory agency.

((WN)) If someone suspects they have swine flu what would the best course of action be?

JD: They should seek medical attention.

((WN)) When will the swine flu die down and cease being a pandemic?

JD: No idea.

((WN)) Besides the CDC, what other entities, governmental and private, are involved in stopping this disease and how?

JD: All public health and medical agencies with a stake in H1N1 are cooperating to control the spread of H1N1.

((WN)) Is there a significant risk of H1N1 mutating and becoming more deadly?

JD: Flu viruses are unpredictable so there is no way of answering this question. The CDC is constantly monitoring these viruses.

India signs on to chemical patents to comply with WTO order

">
India signs on to chemical patents to comply with WTO order

By |

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

A bill passed by India’s Parliament put an end to the manufacture of many cheap generic drugs copied from products protected by foreign company patents. A Patents Amendment Bill (2005) has been condemned by foreign aid groups who expect a significant rise in drug costs as a result of the bill.

Drug compounds in India were previously not protected by patents, meaning that research and developement costs borne by the originating manufacturers were avoided by generic drug producers. The new bill “will move India toward the patent mainstream and support and encourage innovation and investment in research and development in India,” said Ranjit Sahani, managing director of Novartis India.

As the world’s fourth-largest manufacturer of drugs by volume, the pharmaceutical industry in India is valued at US$5 billion – but ranks as only 13th by value, reflecting the low costs to consumers of the products. “Because India is one of the world’s biggest producers of generic drugs, this law will have a severe knock-on effect on many developing countries which depend on imported generic drugs from India,” said Samar Verma, regional policy adviser at Oxfam International.

Around half of African, Asian and Latin American HIV patients needing anti-retroviral drugs rely on low-cost drugs from India, which are sold at one twentieth the price of similar drugs produced in the West.

More than 90 per cent of drugs listed as essentials in India are either unpatented or expired. Drugs patented before 1995 — when the World Trade Organization [WTO] set a 10 year deadline to enact protection — will not be eligible under the bill.

Some degree of protection was mandated by WTO in order for India to have greater access to international markets. Opposers of the bill say it goes too far.

The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights [TRIPS], under WTO, allows developing countries to not provide patent protection for uses of known drugs, new dosages and formulations, or combinations of known drugs.