Items tagged "USTR"

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ACSBlog: The Trouble with ACTA

April 12, 2010 ACTA , Three Strikes , Trademark , Transparency , USTR

(cross-posted from the American Constitution Society blog)

 

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Copyright industry: Copyrights trump human rights?

April 5, 2010 International , Special 301 , USTR

We've posted about the US Trade Representative's Special 301 process before. For a quick refresher, here's Harold's video explaining the process generally, and Rashmi's post with some more detail.

The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) is heavily involved in the Special 301 process, filing submissions every year on behalf of its member organizations, the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It's only natural that these trade associations would be concerned with intellectual property laws and their enforcement around the globe, since copyright is where their members make their livings. It's less understandable, though, when they seem to argue that their exclusive economic rights should have priority over others' basic human rights.

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European Parliament Rebukes ACTA, Three Strikes – Et tu, President Obama? (Updated)

March 11, 2010 ACTA , International , USTR

As PK legal eagle John Bergmayer noted in his blog post on attempts to “harmonize” copyright across national boundaries, the European Parliament decidedly rebuked the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in a decisive 663 to 13 vote yesterday. The approved joint resolution calls for the immediate release of ACTA texts and public access to the negotiations and prohibits the EU from continuing to engage in secret talks with the other ACTA parties. Moreover, the resolution forbids EU member states from implementing so-called “three strikes” regimes, which some have reported or interpreted ACTA as prescribing. Finally, the resolution, “stresses that, unless Parliament is immediately and fully informed at all stages of the negotiations, it reserves its right to take suitable action, including bringing a case before the Court of Justice in order to safeguard its prerogatives.” Needless to say, this resolution holds the potential to deal a massive blow to the secretive ACTA treaty and to finally shine a light on a purposefully opaque process. Unfortunately, here in the United States, policymakers are singing a very different tune.

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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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ACTA Internet Chapter Leaked, Transparency Still Absent

February 22, 2010 ACTA , International , Three Strikes , Transparency , USTR

Yesterday, PC World came out with the news that the much-discussed, but long-secret Internet chapter of the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was leaked to the public. The leak confirms a number of suspicions that had been raised by previously leaked European analysis papers. So with this revelation, what remains of calls for transparency?

Everything.

For instance, Michael Geist compares the text of this leak with the statement that Stan McCoy of the U.S. Trade Representative gave to us, noting that McCoy emphatically denied that the United States was asking for ACTA to include mandatory 3 strikes provisions. Of course, the key word there was mandatory.

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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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ACTA Needs to Be Public, Even if It’s Just About “Enforcement”

February 11, 2010 ACTA , Enforcement , USTR

Supporters of the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) are careful to say it's all about "enforcement."

Ambassador Ron Kirk, the United States Trade Representative, describes ACTA as aimed at "strengthening the framework of practices that contribute to effective enforcement, and strengthening relevant [intellectual propety] enforcement measures themselves." The MPAA supports "a sound and comprehensive ACTA that codifies best practices for copyright enforcement."

Because it's just "enforcement" and can't "change the law," when groups like us, EFF and KEI, or bloggers like Mike Masnick or Cory Doctorow make a big deal over ACTA's secrecy, we can be accused of just looking for something to complain about.

But whether the agreement is about "enforcement" or "substance," the public has the right to know its contents.

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U.S. Government Denies that ACTA Mandates Filtering or Three Strikes, But Questions On its Contents

February 10, 2010 ACTA , Filtering , Piracy , Three Strikes , USTR

On Monday, the New York Times added to the increasing media scrutiny of ACTA, the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. This proposed international agreement, which has the potential to drastically change the landscape of copyright law and policy, still remains hidden from the public eye.

Given this lack of transparency, it's no surprise that the substance of the agreement can only be discussed by way of leaks, speculation, and warring sound bites. Among the suppositions on ACTA's contents was the following:

E.U. negotiators, for example, are said to have balked at a U.S.-backed proposal to require Internet service providers to take tough steps against digital piracy.

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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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