A COVID-19 TRIPS Waiver Makes No More Sense for Copyrights Than It Does for Patents

April 2, 2021

Despite assertions from various quarters that intellectual property (IP) rights present a barrier in marshaling an effective global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is simply no evidence it is true. In fact, IP has proved to be indispensable in developing needed and effective vaccines and therapeutics. Nevertheless, advocates have seized the moment to mount an assault not just on patents, but also on copyrights. They are expanding the scope of a petition to waive COVID-19 IP rights that is before the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) TRIPS Council, in a misguided attempt to reform certain national copyright laws governing digital access to knowledge, and data and text mining. This is neither the time nor the forum for such ill-conceived requests.