Items tagged "Special 301"

Press Release

Public Knowledge Tells Trade Agency To Clarify Law Enforcement Role

November 5, 2010 ACTA , Press Release , Special 301 , USTR

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.”

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Press Release

Public Knowledge Commends Administration on Intellectual Property Report

June 22, 2010 ACTA , Press Release , Special 301

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.

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Press Release

Public Knowledge Criticizes New Trade Report

April 30, 2010 Press Release , Special 301

The U.S. Trade Representative today issued its annual Special 301 Report, which is an evaluation of countries’ intellectual property rights.  The report is here.

The following statement is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:

“Once again, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has produced a report that mirrors the views of big media companies.  In judging the efforts of other countries to enforce intellectual property rights, USTR has failed to include any notion of balance in copyright law and failed to make public the statistics it used to support its pronouncements on the activities of other countries.

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Press Release

Public Knowledge Tells Trade Office To Be Independent of Industry, Respect Copyright Balance

March 3, 2010 ACTA , Press Release , Special 301

The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) needs to change the procedures it uses to put countries on a special "watch list" for failing to protect U.S. intellectual property interests, Public Knowledge Staff Attorney Rashmi Rangnath testified today.

Speaking at the USTR hearing on the "special 301" intellectual property proceeding, Rangnath said the agency should 1) be mindful of the importance of balance to U.S. copyright law and to promote this same balanced system abroad; 2) not use the Special 301 process as a means to force countries to accede to or implement treaties; and 3) introduce greater transparency into its review process. The full written statement is here.

One of the dangers of the process, she said, is that there is no public explanation of how a country gets put on the list, which could lead to trade sanctions.

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PK In The Know Podcast: TPP, Online Video, Special 301

May 11, 2012 Competition , Data Caps , Fair Use , Podcast , Special 301

On today’s podcast we discuss what’s going on with the TPP, online video and data caps, that Special 301 report, and a wrap-up of OH/DC and WFUD.

Listen to Podcast

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here.
Subscribe to the podcast via the .xml here.
Click here to download the file for this week’s podcast directly.

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The 2012 Special 301 Report Continues to do the Bidding of the Content Industry

May 1, 2012 ACTA , Enforcement , International , Special 301

The “Special 301 Report” is an annual report compiled by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), supposedly identifying countries that do not provide adequate and effective protection to the intellectual property rights of US persons.

In practice, Special 301 has turned into an arm-twisting exercise forcing countries to pass laws and adopt practices favored by large copyright and patent holders and often not in the public interest.

The office of the USTR published its 2012 Special 301 Report today. We are still analyzing the report, but here are our first impressions:

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Why did we have a Special 301 hearing?

February 24, 2012 Enforcement , Limitations & Exceptions , Special 301

Yesterday, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), along with several other government agencies, held a hearing on its Special 301 process. This hearing was part of the process by which the USTR compiles a list of countries that do not provide “adequate and effective protection” to the intellectual property rights of U.S. persons or deny market access to them. I testified on behalf of Public Knowledge. A copy of my testimony is available here.

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ACTA: If You Write A Trade Agreement No One Will Sign, What’s The Point?

February 14, 2012 Protect IP Act , RIAA , SOPA , Special 301 , USTR

Last summer, with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations stalled for two years because of Hollywood insistence adding all kinds of regulate-the-internet crazy stuff, we gave the US Trade Representative and the industries pushing for ACTA some friendly advice: “Drop the crazy stuff.”

Officially, the U.S. government wanted ACTA to stop people from bringing actual counterfeit goods into the country, or marketing actual counterfeit goods abroad. Thats why a lot of industry groups and companies wanted ACTA. Not because of they wanted to regulate the Internet and prop up the traditional business models of the movie and music industries, but to deal with the folks making wharehouses full of fake Louis Vitton bags and knock-off Omega watches.

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

February 13, 2012 Press Release , Special 301

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

February 1, 2012 ACTA , DMCA , DRM , Enforcement , Special 301

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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