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PK’s Rashmi Rangnath Testifying at Special 301 Hearing Today

March 3, 2010 Patent , Special 301 , Trademark , USTR

Today, Public Knowledge's Director of The Global Knowledge Initiative and Staff Attorney, Rashmi Rangnath is testifying before the US Trade Representative on the "Special 301" process. You can read her testimony here (PDF). There is not a webcast or official live coverage, per USTR rules that "prohibit the use of electronic media in its hearing room." So, despite this ban, we are relying on reports from the hearing room via twitter (using the #ustr hashtag), and hope to bring you more coverage as well.

If you're not familiar with the Special 301 process, the latest 5 Minutes with Harold Feld does a great job explaining what's going on. So does Rashmi's prior blog post — that encouraged so many of you to write comments to the USTR.

Lastly, we have a link to today's hearing schedule, that tells us who is testifying and who the Special 301 committee members are (PDF) … also pasted below:

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Leaked Document Summarizes January’s ACTA Negotiations in Mexico

February 18, 2010 ACTA , Three Strikes , Trademark , Transparency , USTR

Michael Geist is reporting that a new document about the secretive Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has just been leaked. The document, a report on the most recent round of ACTA negotiations in Mexico, reveals more about where the parties are and what topics they are actually discussing.

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Another Pro-ACTA Letter from MPAA, RIAA, et al.

November 20, 2009 ACTA , MPAA , RIAA , Three Strikes , Trademark

A number of movie studios, record labels, and other copyright-holding companies (and their related trade associations) have also written a pro-ACTA letter to Congress, which I first saw posted on Ben Sheffner's blog. Minus the bizarre "distraction" claim, it follows the same basic pattern—that ACTA will benefit IP businesses and do nothing harmful.

The evidence for this? Still absent. Instead, the letter reiterates that changes in technology require online copyright enforcement, and thus a section of ACTA covering the Internet.

This probably shouldn't require repeating, but I'll say it again. A solution has to be tailored to solve the problem. Is ACTA properly tailored to solve copyright infringement? No one can tell.

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Hollywood: Never Mind the Transparency, Here’s the ACTA

November 20, 2009 ACTA , Forum Shopping , MPAA , Trademark , USTR

It's not a surprise that the Motion Picture Association of America is a supporter of the so-called Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a proposed international copyright and trademark agreement that the public isn't allowed to see. What is surprising is how willing the MPAA is to dismiss calls for an open and democratic process as a "distraction."

In a letter addressed yesterday to Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the MPAA endorsed ACTA and then went on to say this:

Outcries on the lack of transparency in the ACTA negotiations are a distraction. They distract from the substance and the ambition of the ACTA

This is a pathetic excuse for logic.

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Copyright, Climate, the Chamber of Commerce, and ACTA: a few more connections

November 9, 2009 ACTA , Forum Shopping , Trademark , Transparency , USTR

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has made a good deal of intellectual property news recently, given their copyright and trademark lawsuit against the Yes Men for the latter's fake press conference and website, in which they impersonated the Chamber and claimed that it was reversing its position on climate change legislation.

Of course, the Chamber is more than just a plaintiff when it comes to IP issues—they're one of the reasons that more lawsuits like theirs may soon be replicated overseas. That's because the U.S.

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