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Why is it a big mistake to link funding of R&D costs with drug prices?:

The American Council of the Blind (ACB) & the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) comments on treaty for access

The American Council of the Blind (ACB) and the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) submitted their comments in response to a Notice of Inquiry put forth by the United States Copyright Office and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). ACB is a leading U.S. consumer organization of blind or visually impaired individuals. Access to information is a critical area of interest for ACB, and expanding the availability of accessible format materials is viewed as highly beneficial to the blindness community in the United States and throughout the world.

LCA, EFF, and COSLA filed comments regarding the treaty to facilitate access and sharing for people with reading disabilities.

The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) consists of the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries and the Association of Research Libraries.

Collectively, the ALA, ACRL and ARL represent over 139,000 libraries in the United States employing approximately 350,000 librarians and other personnel.

Benetech & Bookshare file with LOC and USPTO on WIPO treaty for reading disabilities

Today Benetech, a leading Silicon Valley technology nonprofit and operator of the Bookshare online library for people with print disabilities submitted comments to the US Copyright Office and the USPTO on the topic of access to copyrighted works for people with print disabilities. Here are the major points, the submission is attached at the end of this blog.

KEI, ICDRI, AHEAD, NYBIDA and Lighthouse file comments on WIPO treaty for reading disabilities

Today five groups filed the attached comments to the U.S. Copyright Office and the USPTO regarding the WIPO draft proposal to facilitate access to copyrighted works for persons, who are blind, have visual impairments and other reading disabilities in response to the Federal Register Notice of October 13, 2009.

The comments were signed by

  • Dr. Manon Ress, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)

Calendar for USTR head Ambassador Ron Kirk, for May to September 2009

On September 11, 2009, KEI submitted a FOIA request for the daily calendar of USTR head Ambassador Ron Kirk. On Friday afternoon, November 6, 2009, we received a response to that FOIA. This complements our earlier FOIA which covered his calendar from March 20 to May 1, 2009.

Missing Safeguards in ACTA present risks to consumers in the United States, KEI/PK letter to Congress

November 9, 2009

Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman
Senator Jeff Sessions, Ranking Member
Senate Judiciary Committee

Senator Max Baucus, Chairman
Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member
Senate Finance Committee

Representative John Conyers, Chairman
Representative Lamar Smith, Ranking Member
House Committee on the Judiciary

Representative Henry Waxman, Chairman,
Representative Joe Barton, Ranking Member
House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Representative Charles Rangel, Chairman
Representative Dave Camp, Ranking Member
House Committee on Ways and Means

ACTA for beginners

ACTA is a beefed up version of the WTO TRIPS enforcement sections, without the balance and safeguards of the agreement as whole.

  1. The ACTA has ignored or left out the safeguards in TRIPS Articles 1, 6, 7, 8, 40 and 44.2.
  2. The ACTA has refashioned in a more restrictive and anti-consumer way Articles 41, 44.1, 45, 46,47, 50, most of Section 4, and Article 61.

The ACTA Leak is useful, but there are still plenty of secrets

This is a note about the leaked ACTA documents, that have been reported now by several news organizations and bloggers.*

On September 30, 2009, the EU wrote a three page memo on the Internet chapter of ACTA. This is about a week after the USTR held a secret meeting with selected corporate lobbyists and lawyers to debate the ACTA Internet under terms of a tough non-disclosure agreement.

Federal Support for research (Enbrel) etanercept, evidence from CRISP and Clinicaltrials.Gov

KEI was asked to look at federal support for research and development on (Enbrel) etanercept.

A November 1, 2009 search of the NIH CRISP database reports 167 federal grants for research on etanercept.

Flurry of upcoming meetings at international organizations in Geneva (WHO, WIPO and WTO)

The final stretch of 2009 ushers in a host of meetings at Geneva based institutions including the WIPO Advisory Committee on Enforcement, the WIPO Committee on Development and Intellectual Property, the WTO Ministerial, the WHO Expert Working Group and the Standing Committee on Copyright. To keep abreast of the hive of activity emanating from WIPO, WHO and WTO, here is a roadmap to keep track of the various meetings.

November 2, 2009
African-Arab Seminar on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions: Addressing the Needs of Affected Constituencies

Petition to President Obama, regarding transparency of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

The following is a letter that was sent on November 3, 2009 to President Obama, asking that the negotiations regarding ACTA be made more transparent.

While the letter was sent on November 3, 2009, people may add their names to the online version of the petition, by sending a note to Malini Aisola at

For more background on ACTA and the disputes over transparency, see

Speech of Mike Foster, UK Minister for International Development at launch of Industry Government Forum on Access to Medicines

On October 12, 2009, the "Industry Government Forum on Access to Medicines" (IGFAM) was launched. The UK Minister for International Development, MP Mike Foster made a a speech to launch this initiative which is reproduced below.

Presentations were also made by Pfizer (Ponni Subbiah), GSK (Abbas Hussain), Rajiv Venkayya (Gates Foundation), Prashant Yadav (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Suerie Moon (Research Fellow and Doctoral Candidate, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University).

Sun's "Project Peter" - a plan to migrate Oracle users to MySQL

Distributed earlier on Wikileaks, this is reportedly is an internal Sun document, discussing a strategy to migrate Oracle users to MySQL.

"Project Peter is an internal effort to assist Sun / MySQL customers in migrating from Oracle to MySQL by offering them a comprehensive solution that consists of Professional Services, Best Practices, and a set of approved third party migration tools and utilities that will enable them to move to MySQL in a way that is as easy as possible."

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