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"On Tuesday 26 April, World Intellectual Property Day, the original, Dutch-language version of ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ will be published online at annefrank.centrumcyfrowe.pl. This is the first time internet users are able to read the original writings of Anne Frank online. However, this publication is only available in Poland as Anne Frank’s original writings are still protected by copyright in most member states of the European Union. With this publication of the original version of the diary Centrum Cyfrowe, Kennisland and the COMMUNIA International Association on the Public Domain seek to highlight the absurdly long duration of copyright in the EU, as well as the fact that, contrary to general assumptions, the duration of copyright is still not harmonised across the EU and the troubling fact of geo-blocking which creates boundaries online."As covered previously in the IPKat (here and here), Anne Frank's works have proved contentious in recent years with attempts by the Anne Frank Fonds to trade mark ‘Le Journal d’Anne Frank,' and add her father as a co-author and extend the diary's copyright protection. The posting of the diary in Poland adds an additional layer of debate in that of geoblocking (covered recently by the IPKat here and here.) [Merpel hastens to add - check out the comments as not everyone agrees with this.]
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The case highlights the curious lack of copyright harmonisation across the EU, which goes against the single-market premise. Under a single market, capital, goods and services are freely able to move. This freedom stems requires moving towards harmonisation in domestic regulations, lower barriers to trade and reduced restrictions on labour mobility, among others. The goal is to create a trade bloc which functions more like a single European economy, rather than a collection of smaller economies. In theory, this creates a stronger economy that is able to compete internationally with other large economies such as the U.S. and China. In practice, well, geo-blocking is only one example of a number of contentious issues.
So, on this 2016 World IP Day, have a think about the wider implications of IP. If you're interested in celebrating with others, WIPO has an excellent map of events around the world. If you're stuck at your desk, you can also catch up on last week's WIPO Conference on the Global Digital Content Market through their media page here. ¡Feliz Día Mundial de la Propiedad Intelectual!
ETA 11:36 on 26/04/2016 with Merpel's second comment