International Copyright Flexibilities for Prevention, Treatment and Containment of COVID-19
Most policymaking attention with respect to intellectual property barriers to COVID-19 prevention, treatment and containment has been focused on patents. This focus is reflected in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Decision on the TRIPS Agreement, adopted on 17 June 2022, which provides a limited waiver of TRIPS rules on compulsory licences for production of COVID-19 vaccines. The original WTO proposal for a TRIPS waiver, however, explicitly applied to all forms of intellectual property, including copyright. This article outlines the numerous ways in which copyright can create barriers to addressing COVID-19. It also provides a description of international copyright treaty provisions that permit uses of copyright materials in response to the barriers identified, despite the exclusion of copyright from the final TRIPS waiver.
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