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Section 27 submission: Copyright amendment bill

SECTION 27 is a public interest law centre that uses and develops the law to advance human rights. It conducts research, advocacy and litigation to achieve its goals, which include a focus on the right to have access to health care services in general and medicines of proven quality, safety and efficacy in particular.

SECTION 27 also has strong focus on the social determinants of health including, in particular, equal access to quality basic education. SECTION 27’s primary interest in intellectual property policy and law reform flows from its understanding of the manner and extent to which patent protection has been used to undermine access to medicines.

As part of the “Fix the Patent Laws” campaign with Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), SECTION 27 has worked for many years to limit the negative impact of intellectual property on public health.

However, the contents of the Copyright Amendment Bill 2015 (Amendment Bill) also have a profound impact on the accessibility of learning and other reading materials for people and children with print disabilities. SECTION 27 welcomes the release of the Amendment Bill.

The Amendment Bill Provides an opportunity to bring to the attention of the Department Of Trade And Industry (DTI) aspects of copyright law reform which have relevance to or an impact on access to medicines and patent law reform as well as access to reading and learning material protected by copyright for people and children with print disabilities.

Aspects Of this Bill Also form part of the Draft National Intellectual Property Policy (“NIPP”). SECTION27 urges the DTI to finalise the NIPP in order to ensure a streamlined law reform process.