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    UK IP Report Recommends Creating New Copyright Exceptions, Warns Against Over Regulation

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    Wednesday May 18, 2011
    The much-anticipated UK Independent Review of IP and Growth, typically referred to as the Hargreaves report, was released this morning. The report focuses on how intellectual property laws can stifle innovation and urges the UK government to enact reforms that remove legal barriers to economic growth (James Boyle, who served as expert advisor to the review, gives his take here). For example, it notes:

    Because IPRs grant a form of monopoly, an overly rigid and inflexible IP framework can act as a barrier to innovation. When a firm has acquired exclusive rights over its innovative technology or content, other firms will be able to learn from that technology or see the content, but may be unable to use them for further innovation unless licensing can be agreed. IPRs can constrain third parties wishing to access or innovate on top of this protected knowledge or content, with potentially serious economic and social costs.

    The report also notes that a considerable amount of IP policy is often not based on economic evidence, citing as examples the EU database directive and the extension of the term of copyright.


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    EU Report Says CETA IP Provisions Would Increase Consumer Prices, Royalty Deficit

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    Wednesday March 16, 2011
    The European Commission has commissioned a study on the likely economic effects of the proposed Canada - EU Trade Agreement.  The report includes a detailed analysis on the likely effects of the intellectual property provisions in the agreement.  According to the report, those provisions - which come largely as a result of EU demands - would result in more dollars flowing out of Canada and in increased Canadian consumer prices. Moreover, the report acknowledges that the incremental IP reforms are unlikely to increase spending on research and development.  It notes:

    Most scientific studies “fail to find evidence of a strong positive response by domestic innovators that could be reasonably ascribed to the effect of stronger IPR.” To clarify, it is undisputable that R&D spending is associated with higher GDP growth and, given current business models, a certain level of IPR protection is essential for investment in innovation and creativity. Incremental IPR reforms in OECD countries, however, do not seem to increase domestic spending in R&D. Some stakeholders interviewed for this study and several academics consider that excessive IPR could actually harm economic growth, even in OECD countries, if their holders can block follow‐on research.

    As for the costs of the CETA IP provisions, the report notes that more dollars will flow to Europe, but Canadian IP holders would not see increased revenue flow back.  In fact, it is Canadian consumers that will pay the price with "inflationary pressure" on consumer prices:


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    IP on Pharma Could be Main CETA Stumbling Block

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    Thursday December 16, 2010
    John Ivison of the National Post reports that Canada and the EU are moving closer to a trade agreement, but that EU demands to extend IP protection for pharmaceuticals - a move that would cost Canadians millions - is viewed as a major stumbling block.
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    The Vatican Speaks out on Intellectual Property

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    Monday October 25, 2010
    The Vatican has spoken out against unduly aggressive intellectual property protection. In a statement at the World Intellectual Property Organization, it noted "on the part of rich countries there is excessive zeal for protecting knowledge through an unduly rigid assertion of the right to intellectual property, especially in the field of health care."
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