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Roundup on new ACTA leak stories

November 4, 2009 ACTA , Three Strikes , Trademark , Transparency , USTR

Just a quick note on some of the recently-surfaced news on ACTA's Internet provisions.

  • Michael Geist of the University of Ottawa has some details and analysis here;
  • IDG/PC World has a good summary here
  • And EFF has additional in-depth analysis and discussion here.

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PK & EFF: Keep Copyright Owners from Controlling What I Do With My Property

June 19, 2009 International , Trademark

Perhaps you remember Rashmi’s post about how the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Omega v. Costco opened the door to copyright owners taking control of the import markets for all kind of products, merely by slapping a copyrighted logo onto everything they make. Wednesday, PK and EFF filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to take the case, explaining that the consequences of the Ninth Circuit’s decision go even further than controlling imports. The short version is that under the Ninth Circuit’s interpretation, any product which has a label or logo manufactured abroad cannot be imported into the U.S., resold, or given away by a lawful purchaser without permission of the owner of the label’s copyright. Sound like a big deal? It is.

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New Adwords Trademark Policy Still More Restrictive than Laws Allow

May 15, 2009 Competition , Trademark

Yesterday, Google announced that it was changing its ad policies to allow advertisers to use other people's trademarks in the text of their ads. This makes sense—there's a number of different contexts in which one company might refer to another in an ad: Home Depot wants to tell you it has great deals on Toro lawnmowers; AT&T wants to hammer home the point that they're the only US home of the iPhone; Pepsi wants to tell you that people like its taste more than Coke. However, the new policy still restricts how those trademarks can be used beyond what the law allows.

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Reasons for (Cautious) Optimism on ACTA

March 17, 2009 Piracy , Trademark

Is ACTA a matter of national security? No. Is "national security" a reason to withhold documents for a FOIA request? Well, maybe. Is it a good enough reason to withhold text of the draft agreement? I don't think so.

Let me now attempt to make sense of those various, yet (I will argue) consistent statements.

ACTA is a proposed international agreement on aspects of IP enforcement, which could have broad effects on how signing countries treat copyright and trademark infringement.

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Will a New Commitment to Transparency Extend to ACTA?

February 3, 2009 Piracy , Trademark

Recently, the United States Trade Representative responded to a request for documents made by PK and EFF under the Freedom of Information Act. We were seeking information on ACTA, including as-yet unreleased draft positions and texts of the agreement.

Initially, we received 159 pages of documents, and now, a draft Vaughn index, indicating that the USTR had found some 1,390 additional pages of documents that matched what we were looking for in our request. Of these, 1,390 will be withheld under various statutory exemptions to the FOIA.

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