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Victoria Espinel, the Obama Administration’s Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, this morning released her first strategic plan on IP issues. The plan can be found here.
The following is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:
“We want to congratulate Victoria Espinel on her first intellectual property report. Her findings show that she understands the concept of balance in copyright law at a time when others in the Administration do not.
“To quote from the report, ‘One of the reasons that the U S is a global leader in innovation and creativity is our early establishment of strong legal mechanisms to provide necessary economic incentives required to innovate. By the same token, fair use of intellectual property can support innovation and artistry Strong intellectual property enforcement efforts should be focused on stopping those stealing the work of others, not those who are appropriately building upon it.’
“We appreciate as well her discussion of ‘carefully crafted and balanced agreements’ within the bounds of competition to be used when the private sector undertakes enforcement actions. In our view, private industry should not have the ability to cut off someone’s Internet access based only on unproven allegations without any due process.
“We also agree with her emphasis on transparency in the development of IP enforcement policy, whether on domestic IP or in the context of foreign policy. That would be a refreshing change from the development of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which was done behind closed doors. We wish the plan had included in its transparency discussion the Section 301 reports, which put countries on watch lists, for reasons not clearly or publicly explained and which appear dependent on industry statistics.
“In addition, we note that while the strategic plan calls for a 120-day review of IP laws related to enforcement, the Administration should look at copyright law more generally rather than focusing simply on enforcement. We urge the Administration to examine how overly strong copyright enforcement and outdated copyright laws can have a negative impact on the economy, on innovation and civic discourse.”