Entries Matching: Special 301

Public Knowledge and Michael Geist Tell USTR To Keep Canada Off The Intellectual Property Watch List

Canada does not belong on the so-called "Watch List" compiled by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to single out countries deemed weak in intellectual property protection, Public Knowledge and Prof. Michael Geist said in a filing with the agency.

PK and Geist, a noted Canadian copyright authority, said in their comments in the "Special 301" proceeding that Canadian laws are sometimes stronger than those in the U.S.  According to the filing,

1. Canadian laws provide strong rights to all copyright owners, including U.S. copyright owners.

2. Canadian copyright limitations and exceptions are similar to those in the U.S. and are frequently narrower and less flexible than those in the U.S.

3. Canadian laws provide effective enforcement mechanisms.

4. Canadian authorities diligently enforce copyrights.

5. Proposed law reform in Canada would not jeopardize the adequacy of protection

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Tell The USTR Not to Do Big Content’s Bidding

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) is asking for public comment in its Special 301 inquiry for 2012. Special 301 is an annual report that the USTR compiles listing countries that allegedly fail to provide adequate and effective protection for intellectual property rights of US persons. As we have said before, this report has turned into an exercise that arm-twists countries into instituting laws and policies that serve the interests of big content even where these policies hurt the free expression and due process rights of citizens.

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The TPP: Closed-Door Negotiations, Worse than ACTA, Lessons from SOPA/PIPA

This week trade negotiators from 8 countries (including the United States) are meeting in LA behind closed doors to discuss the intellectual property chapter of a new international trade agreement.

The recent outpouring of opposition to SOPA/PIPA was an indication of citizens' outrage, not only at the actual bills, but also at the fact that Congress could be so blind to the public interest in order to please the content industry. While SOPA/PIPA are unprecedented incursions into the Internet architecture, the mindset that caused these bills to go as far as they did, has been at play for a very long time: ratcheting up protections for IP rights holders with little regard for preserving balance in IP laws or due process rights of citizens. 

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ACTA: the Big Deal

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ACTA (the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) is making a lot of news these days, with lots of people comparing it unfavorably to PIPA and SOPA. A lot of that coverage has been focused on Europe and particularly Poland, where the Polish government's signing of the agreement has sparked considerable protest.

So is this a big deal, and if so, why is domestic coverage of it so muted in comparison to SOPA and PIPA?

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2011 Special 301 Report: Still Oblivious to Public Interest

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issued the 2011 Special 301 Report yesterday afternoon. For those unfamiliar with the Special 301 Reports, these are reports that the Trade Act requires the USTR to publish every year identifying countries that fail to provide “adequate and effective protection” to intellectual property (IP) rights of U.S. persons. Over the years, these reports have turned into an annual exercise of naming countries whose domestic IP policies do not meet the unrealistic expectations of IP rights holders. I have written before about our concerns with these reports. These concerns remain true for this year’s report as well.

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