Digital technologies create new opportunities for consumers, but also make upholding their rights more challenging. Digital products and services often come with usage restrictions about which consumers are not well informed. Online transactions often cross borders, making it difficult to resolve complaints, or even to know what consumer laws and policies apply. How can consumers in the digital age be assured that their rights will be upheld?
Consumers International is undertaking a multi-country programme of economic research on flexible copyright exceptions in developing countries that is to begin by the second quarter of 2014. The empirical research to be conducted will produce comparable data on how different types of copyright reform effects various actors (i.e. – consumers and innovative businesses), including both the effects on consumer welfare and on innovation in the technology and creative industries in developing countries.
Copyright law has long been described as promoting the public interest through a balance of exclusive protection for rights holders linked to limitations and exceptions to such rights for users. As described in a recent decision of the Canadian Supreme Court, promoting the public interest in the creation of and access to new works requires that “both protection and access must be sensitively balanced”; “users' rights are an essential part of furthering the public interest objectives of the Copyright Act.”
The 16th round of negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership wrapped up in Singapore this week, and according to the official press release the intellectual property chapter is one of a small number of chapters (along with competition and environment) that remain unresolved, and will be the focus of the remaining negotiating rounds.
Copyright enforcement ought to be about going after those who profiteer from the work of others by dealing in pirated goods, and about protecting consumers from sub-standard fakes. Instead, the industries pushing for tougher copyright enforcement have become fixated on controlling the behaviour of ordinary consumers.
These explanatory notes to the MOU Concerning the Interpretation of the Right of Quotation were prepared by Martin Senftleben, Professor of Intellectual Property, VU University Amsterdam; Senior Consultant, Bird & Bird, The Hague. You may also download a PDF copy.
The preamble reflects several fundamental considerations that lie at the core of the following guidelines.
The following is page 1 of a 7-page paper entitled, "Toward Consumer-ownable Digital Personal Property".
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As the peak body of the global consumer movement, Consumers International believes that a knowledge society can be developed only when there is access to information on all fronts. Such a society is sustainable when access to knowledge is unhampered and inclusive, promoting co-operative forms of knowledge production as the basis for innovation and creativity.