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.

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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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