12 October 2014

Copyright and Cocoa

'Fetishizing Copies' by Jessica Litman in Copyright in An Age of Limitations and Exceptions (2015) edited by Ruth Okediji argues
The most important reason we have copyright laws is to encourage authors to create new works and communicate them to the public. The most important reason we want them to do that is because we hope that people will read the books, listen to the music, see the art, watch the films, run the software, and build and inhabit the buildings. That is the way that copyright promotes the Progress of Science. Recently, that not-very-controversial principle has collided with copyright owners’ conviction that they should be able to control, or at least collect royalties from, all uses of their works. That's never been true in fact or law, but representatives of copyright owners have gotten used to arguing that it should be true. A particularly ill-considered manifestation of this conviction is what I have decided to call copy-fetish. This is the idea that every appearance of any part of a work anywhere should be deemed a “copy” of it, and that every single copy needs a license or excuse, whether or not anyone will ever see the copy, whether or not the copy has any independent economic significance, whether or not the so-called copy is incidental to some other use that is completely lawful. In this chapter, I focus on two well-known instances of copy-fetish: the contention that any appearance of a work or part of a work in the random access memory of a computer or other digital device is an actionable copy, and the assertion that the copyright statute’s distribution to the public right encompasses possession of any copy that is publicly accessible. Both arguments have their inception in difficult-to-justify court of appeals decisions, which were then embraced by copyright owners as tools to expand secondary liability. Neither one makes much sense on its own terms. The political economy of copyright, however, makes it overwhelmingly likely that any comprehensive copyright revision bill will incorporate both of them. That makes it imperative to recognize readers’, listeners’ and viewers’ copyright liberties expressly, and to protect them with explicit statutory provisions.
'Geographical Indication (GI) Options for Ethiopian Coffee and Ghanian Cocoa' by Chidi Oguamanam and Teshager W. Dagne in J. De Beer, C Armstrong, C. Oguamanam, T. Schonwetter, eds) Innovation & Intellectual Property: Collaborative Dynamics in Africa (University of Cape Town Press, 2013) 77 outlines 
research into the Ethiopian coffee and Ghanaian cocoa industries that sought to determine the potential for the local communities and diverse stakeholders participating in the two industries to benefit from sui generis geographical indications (GIs). The research was premised on the notion that GIs have the potential to serve as instruments for practical adaptation of intellectual property (IP) to open development. It was found that the degree to which GIs could be successfully and sustainably used as tools of place-based intellectual property (PBIP) – i.e. instruments of origin-designation – for Ethiopian coffee and Ghanaian cocoa would likely depend on the economic implications of the establishment of GI modalities. The implementation of GIs involves a range of tasks, including establishment of legal and institutional structures; maintaining the “quality, reputation or characteristics” of the products; enforcing and defending rights; and developing product awareness in international markets (TRIPS, 1994). These tasks involve significant cost and effort that would need to be measured and weighed against the expected benefits.