“EIFL and partner consortia in Kenya, Lesotho, Lithuania, Uganda and Zimbabwe joined over 250 organizations, prominent researchers and copyright experts calling for a reduction of copyright barriers to COVID-19 prevention, containment and treatment at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The statement by global civil society groups and prominent researchers focuses particular attention on the need to include copyright rules within the waiver….”
“We support the work and interests of millions of researchers, educators, libraries, archives and museums around the world who are contributing to the prevention, containment and treatment of the COVID-19 pandemic through promotion of access to knowledge. We applaud the efforts of World Trade Organization (WTO) Members to address copyright barriers to an equitable response to COVID-19. Access to copyrighted works, in addition to patents and know-how, is needed to prevent and contain COVID-19 and to develop treatments. COVID-19 has aggravated deep inequalities in access to knowledge. In some countries with flexible copyright systems, residents are able to access and use essential materials in remote educational, learning and research activities, virtually access and use the collections of libraries and other institutions, and contribute to research on treatments using advanced processes such as text and data mining. But these activities are not taking place everywhere because they are not lawful everywhere….”
“EIFL and IFLA (the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) have called on the Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to extend international trade law measures which reduce burdens on the poorest countries, and allow them to set regulatory frameworks for copyright to enable their libraries to support education, research and cultural participation….
The meeting, that takes place on 10-11 March 2021, will discuss, among other issues, a request by Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to extend an exemption for LDCs from implementing the substantive obligations for protection and enforcement of IP rights, including copyright, in the TRIPS Agreement….
For the library community, it [extending the exemption] would have the practical effect of enabling governments freely to craft modern copyright exceptions to maximize possibilities to use copyright-protected content for education, research and innovation, without fear of sanction. For example, it would facilitate classroom use and online education, support world-class research, and enable the use of digital tools, such as text and data mining (TDM) for medical and scientific discovery….”
“Ever so softly, European politicians are beginning to voice a once unthinkable threat by suggesting they could snatch patents from drug companies to make up for massive shortfalls in the supply of coronavirus vaccines.
Big Pharma businesses have for many years regarded EU countries as unquestioningly loyal allies over intellectual property rights in the international trade arena. The EU could always be relied upon to defend U.S., Japanese and European drugmakers from poor nations in Africa and South Asia that have long wanted the recipe of critical medicines to be handed over to generic manufacturers.
But fury over the inability of companies to deliver on contracts amid the COVID-19 pandemic means that now even European politicians, from the Italian parliament to German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, are arguing, albeit cautiously, that patents may no longer be as sacrosanct as they once were….”
“There aren’t enough vaccines to go around in the richest countries on earth, let alone the poorest ones.
That’s why it makes little sense that the United States, Britain and the European Union, among others, are blocking a proposal at the World Trade Organization that would allow them, and the rest of the world, to get more of the vaccines and treatments we all need.
The proposal, put forward by India and South Africa in October, calls on the W.T.O. to exempt member countries from enforcing some patents, trade secrets or pharmaceutical monopolies under the organization’s agreement on trade-related intellectual property rights, known as TRIPs….”