Press Release

Protect the Open Internet from Incursion by Trade Agency, Advocates Tell Administration

October 16, 2015 , , ,

Today, Public Knowledge and 11 other organizations submitted comments to the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Danny Marti, urging the Obama Administration’s chief intellectual property official to protect the Open Internet from a federal trade agency’s overreaching attempts to block data transmissions. Signatories include R Street Institute, EFF, The Harry Potter Alliance, Engine Advocacy and others representing a broad spectrum of consumer, business and public interests.

The comments responded to last year's decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission to block Internet data transmissions on the theory that those transmissions were acts of “importation” regulable by the Tariff Act of 1930. Concerned with the potential widespread effects on Internet freedom if the ITC maintained power to block information, the comments ask Marti to intervene appropriately in the ITC's future decisions.

The following may be attributed to Charles Duan, Director of Public Knowledge's Patent Reform Project:

“It is truly exciting to see this wide range of diverse interests coming together to protect Internet freedom from an overreaching ITC. We want all policymakers to recognize that a federal agency like the ITC, designed for importation regulation, cannot force its decisions on Internet policy upon American consumers.

“One year ago, the ITC's decision was easily overlooked, dismissed as a mere case about teeth patents. But today, because of the efforts of coalitions like these, the broad ramifications of the ITC's decision are known to federal judges, White House administrators, and mainstream media. The advocacy community is to be applauded for its watchful eye on Internet openness.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Mr. Marti, the administration, the ITC, and others, to protect those values that have made the Internet such an asset to this nation and the world.”

The ITC's decision was entitled In re Certain Digital Models. It is currently on appeal at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, under the name ClearCorrect v. ITC.

You may view the comments here, including a full list of signatories. Please view this page for additional background on this case.