USTR Releases Report on IP Rights and Enforcement Worldwide

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative today released its annual “Special 301” report, identifying countries that fall short in intellectual property rights enforcement and market access for American IP products.

The report summarizes some good news from the past year – finalizing the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, passage of four pieces of intellectual property rights legislation in Russia, and passage of legislation in the Philippines to address camcording of motion pictures, among other items. But the crux of the report is analysis of 42 trading partners placed on a “watch list” of countries where improvement is needed, including 12 countries included on the “Priority Watch List”.

Those countries include China, Russia, Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan, Thailand and Venezuela.

The report also includes a section on Internet and Digital Piracy, stating that the U.S. will encourage trading partners to strengthen enforcement of intellectual property rights online by, for example, “strengthening enforcement against major channels of piracy over the Internet, including notorious markets; creating specialized enforcement units or undertaking special initiatives against piracy over the Internet; and undertaking training to strengthen capacity to fight piracy over the Internet.”

As congressional leaders are crafting legislation designed to give U.S. law enforcement more tools to take down criminal web sites illegally profiting from unlicensed pirated or counterfeited products, it is an encouraging sign to see added attention to this issue on the diplomatic side as well. A sustained, coordinated, multi-pronged approach will be needed to achieve any meaningful improvement.

Additional information is available from the International Intellectual Property Alliance, which each year plays a key role in filing cross-industry data to inform the report’s development.

Statements from other Copyright Alliance members:

Business Software Alliance

Entertainment Software Association

Motion Picture Association of America

National Music Publishers’ Association

Recording Industry Association of America