Press Release

Public Knowledge Tells Trade Agency To Clarify Law Enforcement Role

November 5, 2010 , , ,

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) plan to publish a separate list of  “notorious markets” as part of its report on intellectual property emphasizes the agency’s transformation from a trade agency into a law enforcement agency, Public Knowledge (PK) said in comments to USTR filed Thursday (Nov. 5).

“The USTR should stop its transformation into a law enforcement agency,” PK said, adding that “at a minimum” the agency should “acknowledge its new enforcement agenda, and improve its process to respect legal norms.”

A full copy of the comments is here.

In its filing, PK said that USTR is trying to “have it both ways,” by claiming that the “notorious markets” list is not a finding of a violation of law, yet at the same time encouraging local authorities to increase their efforts to combat “piracy.”

USTR should be more clear in its judgments, PK argued, and should set out its accusations against foreign companies, while recognizing that the conduct of those companies may not be illegal in their home countries.  USTR should also have its own due process, making public the allegations against a company and giving the company the chance to defend itself.

In addition, PK said the trade agency should stop misstating U.S. copyright law as the content industry wishes, and should not assume U.S. law is applicable in other countries.