Administration Asks For Public Input On Intellectual Property Enforcement

from the hopefully-they'll-listen dept

As part of the mis-named ProIP act, the newly created IP Enforcement Coordinator (generally called the IP Czar) is supposed to help figure out what an effective "intellectual property enforcement strategy" would be. While we have questions about why this position or this plan is really needed in the first place, here's a bit of good news: rather than just doing the typical consult with industry lobbyists, the administration is, again, asking for public comment (pdf):
This request for comments and for recommendations for an improved enforcement strategy is divided into two parts. In the first, the IPEC seeks written submissions from the public regarding the costs to the U.S. economy resulting from intellectual property violations, and the threats to public health and safety created by infringement. In the second part, the IPEC requests detailed recommendations from the public regarding the objectives and content of the Joint Strategic Plan and other specific recommendations for improving the Government's intellectual property enforcement efforts. Responses to this request for comments may be directed to either of these two parts, or both, and may include a response to one or more requests for information found in either part.
The link above has more details, and the comments are due by Wednesday, March 24, 2010.

Now, I know when I posted my comments submitted to the USTR about the Special 301 process, a number of commenters wondered if the USTR would care, or even bother to look at, let alone consider, comments from the public beyond industry lobbyists. It is a valid concern. And while I do still wonder how much public comments will play a role in the actual strategy (compared to industry responses), in this case, the IPEC specifically reached out to Techdirt to let us know about this request for comment, to see if we would be interested in alerting our readers of their opportunity to take part. Now, the cynical response is that this is just window dressing -- and it's a lot easier to ask for comments from the public than to listen to them, but the fact that they are specifically reaching out to this community (among others) at least suggests an interest in what folks here might have to say. With that in mind, I'm hopeful that some of you will take the time to submit thoughtful comments on the subject.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Devonavar, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 6:01pm

    Following Canada?

    Is this a sign that those in the US saw the Canadian Copyright consultation ... and actually saw something they liked? Maybe it's time to retire those calls complaining about how Canada is always following rather than leading...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 6:02pm

    Shocked!

    I'm shocked, I tell you! Shocked!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 6:03pm

    As far as IP Enforcement goes, less is more.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 6:11pm

    "In the first, the IPEC seeks written submissions from the public regarding the costs to the U.S. economy resulting from intellectual property violations, and the threats to public health and safety created by infringement."

    Well, what I want to know is how often the IP Czar beats his wife.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Robert Ring (profile), Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 6:14pm

    As if I didn't have enough to do already, I feel I should provide some input on this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 6:30pm

    from what I read

    the questions are the wrong questions asked, and the whole thing is misleading. I don't see an actual topic they asked a question on that is actually constructive.

    It's like "how can we better enforce ACTA and border patrols?" "how can we better protect intellectual property?" "how can we protect IP in other countries". None of that is productive questions to ask about IP enforcement. I think there are productive answers that can be given, but I find it highly unlikely.

    So I think they set this up to deliberately ignore the public and make a false sense of transparency here.

    If someone says "get rid of IP" or anything that results in showing that IP is the wrong focus, I think the response will be tossed aside/ignored.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Allen (profile), Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 6:33pm

    "IPEC specifically reached out to Techdirt"

    Window dressing or not, I find it encouraging that they are at least aware of communities like Techdirt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 7:01pm

    I KNOW

    again simple
    KILL anyone downloading a music file or tv ep
    that will get rid of the problem....
    AND make copyright last forever. WHO needs poor people to invent. We have enough rich people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 7:01pm

    There is absolutely nothing unusual about a RFC being published in the Federal Ragister. It is commonplace, so this is hardly a big deal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Flaky, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 7:05pm

    IP Enforcement?

    I gotta tell ya, that I am preaching to the choir here but my first thought is why more protection.

    Beyond the IP copyright holders all getting together to have a drum beating session every week for a couple of years, I don't see much in the line of even desiring to seek public opinion.

    The purpose of copyright was to protect for a limited time the right to distribute. That right has been done to death until nothing last year made it into public domain. Absolutely nothing.

    For years and years, every new technology has had the IP protection gang quaking in their boots that it was the latest version of (what was that phrase} Boston Strangler, only to find later down the road when they did not get all the things they asked for in legal protections they could actually work with it and yes, even thrive on the brave new world.

    Yet here we are, with all of them once again holding out their hands and claiming the death knell is being heard. Movies did great last year. The best ever in fact in it's history.

    The only problem with the music industry isn't that P2P is killing them, it's greed and the unwillingness to accept anything short of an arm and a leg to do it legal. At any time they could again be rolling in the dough simply by opening up the licensing requirements. Yet this is never, ever, considered. Only thing considered is how much aid can we get, how much sympathy can we squeeze, and how much will it cost to butter the coffers of the congress critter that will swing influence to get what we desire.

    I am indeed sorry that I don't have a lot of solutions to lay out beyond this is the first time in a long time that the government has bent over backwards to give all (or nearly all) desired and yet through this whole process, the public has been enemy #1. No input, no questions asked till it's done, and I'm sorry but this looks to be nothing but a sham with what I have seen in the news going on. I have at this point absolutely no faith that anything the public puts forth will have any bearing on the results.

    The last time, when Joe Biden had his little meeting with all the heads of industry that brought this little office to a head, it was billed as wanting public input. Yet when it came down to it, it was a closed door, no public invited, and certainly no news reporting.

    If you get the idea that I am fed up with the goings on, you are very correct. If it comes through the print that I am beyond disgusted with the way IP property has been treated in this country, especially considering that copyright's end retainer is not some business making money but rather a trust for the public's welfare, then the past 20 to 30 years has been nothing if not that sham.

     

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  11.  
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    Corelain, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 7:05pm

    Spatter patterns

    Why does this read kind of like the guy in the hockey mask asking you whether you feel the axe or the chainsaw leaves a nicer spatter pattern? Then he wants you to explain why you feel like you've never spent enough quality time inside a running wood chipper... But you can't complain, after all you were given plenty of opportunities to contribute to the process!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Flaky, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 7:12pm

    Re: IP Enforcement?

    I wished to add one more thing I left out.

    We don't need more IP protection. We need far less.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 7:23pm

    Re: IP Enforcement?

    Well put!

    I keep thinking this will create more government when what we need is more jobs. Sad.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Krusty, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 7:32pm

    IP Czar

    Take a flying leap at a rolling donut IP boy.

    I'm just sayin'...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    TFP, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 7:33pm

    #36521

    Intellectual Property is theft!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 8:11pm

    "the threats to public health and safety created by infringement."

    If people keep violating IP we're all gonna die and the world as we know it will end!!! IP infringement will lead to a doomsday scenario!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 8:14pm

    BTW, has anyone heard that one health freedom advocate might be sentenced like 24 (or was it 48) months in jail for revealing the E-Mail address of a senator? who wanted to pass some bill that violates our health freedoms (this was in the U.S)? Apparently the official didn't like the thousands upon thousands of E - Mails tell him not to pass the bill from the public, which overflowed his inbox, and instead of going after everyone demanding that our health freedoms not be taken away, law enforcement went after the person that leaked the E - Mail address.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 8:20pm

    Re:

    N/m, I got the story wrong. Here is the story.

    “The Natural Solutions Foundation IS the Voice of Global Health Freedom™. The FDA would clearly rather that we have no hope, no communication system, no health options other than dangerous drugs and no voice. Like him or not, Kevin Trudea speaks up loud and clear for that which he believes. He believes in natural cures. His speech, like yours, is protected by the First Amendment. Or so you would think. Kevin is facing a $37 million dollar fine because he told people that his diet plan was “easy” and Judge Gettleman says it is not “easy” — without, of course, trying it. And he is facing a month in jail NOW because he asked his supporters to tell Judge Gettleman about their diet experience and their support for Kevin. 300 people used the Judge’s public email address, it is said, “crashing” the emai system. That so enraged the judge that he sentenced Trudeau to 30 days in jail! Is it possible to “crash” an email system with a few hundred emails? Of course not. And even if it were, it’s still free speech, just like it was when you “crashed” the FDA’s comment system in 2007 with 198,000 emails, stopping the agency’s anti-CAM gudiance.”

    http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/?p=4730

    If he was merely giving his opinion about how he thinks people should diet, then this is completely unacceptable for the court system to do, though I’m not sure if he was selling something.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Karl Fogel (profile), Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 9:14pm

    Costs.

    I wonder if they'll also take "written submissions from the public regarding the costs to the U.S. economy resulting from intellectual property enforcement" :-).

    In this context, I really just mean copyrights and patents, of course. It's a pity that those two and trademarks are all lumped together in one incoherent catgeory by convention and now by government policy. We don't have a Department of Agriculture and High-Energy Physics, after all. For similar reasons, we shouldn't have an Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 9:29pm

    Re: Costs.

    Maybe we can come up with another word, copytents or patent rights or copypatents or I dunno, maybe you can think of something better?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 9:48pm

    Re:

    "I find it encouraging that they are at least aware of communities like Techdirt."

    Mikes Blog and our comments and views are being echoed around the world. I found some pieces of my comments from here on sites in Australia, the US, Canada, and the UK. In some minor way they want to show they are reaching out to the community. They have more than likely reached out to the EFF, Public Knowledge, etc also.

    If you read the Request for comments it has nothing to do with what should be done to create a more fair and balanced IP system. It has to do with allowing Pharma and the media distribution industry to comment on enforcement, Rationalization of stronger IP laws, and educating the public using material designed by these industries.

    Basically its where the industries mentioned in the request for comment get to request what they want as a lead up to ACTA.

    As I said this is going to be (and is) fun to watch ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    Karl Fogel (profile), Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 9:51pm

    Re: Costs.

    Well, copyrights and patents have important differences too. For example, part of the original purpose of patents was to prevent inventions from being kept secret by their inventors -- the patent office was supposed to be a clearinghouse for research results. (These days the only reason people go looking through patents is to figure out if they're on one side or the other of a potential infringement suit; the "claims language" in which patents are now written is a lesson in high obscurantism, since its purpose is not to elucidate scientific facts but to defend legal territory.)

    It's true that trademarks really are a wholly different beast from the other two. Copyrights and patents at least have in common that they make artificially scarce that which would be more valuable to society if shared. Trademarks are the opposite: the monopolies they grant are necessary for trademarks to have any value at all, to the public as well as to the holder of a given trademark. Trademarks are about identity (attribution) rather than about content, and identity means nothing if it's not reliable.

    So I'm not sure we need a new word. We already have three perfectly good words for three distinct things, one of which — trademark law — stands out as especially different. The real problem is that rhetorical accuracy is not in the interests of those lobbying for (say) stronger copyright restrictions. That's why they constantly confuse copyright issues with attribution (trademark) issues. For a good example — I've linked to this before, so forgive me if you've already encountered it — see http://questioncopyright.org/promise#plagiarism-vs-copying.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 9:55pm

    Re:

    Actually dont worry about IP infringement. Worry about sheet rock, milk, and toys from china ... thats a hell of alot worse than toothpaste.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 10:00pm

    Re:

    There is absolutely nothing unusual about a RFC being published in the Federal Ragister. It is commonplace, so this is hardly a big deal.

    No one said that publishing an RFC in the Federal Register is new.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
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    PEBKAC (profile), Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 11:15pm

    The Under Angle

    They could start enforcing punishments for bogus DMCA takedowns, accusations of infringement that are false and meant to stifle free speech, deny fair use, or prevent competition...

    Gah, help me out here, it's 2am and my brain's being kicked to the curb.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    PEBKAC (profile), Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 11:16pm

    Re: The Under Angle

    ...consumer protection from invasive or broken or privacy invading DRM...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    mike allen (profile), Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 11:22pm

    I guess this is just for US citizens?

    which leaves a fair slice of the world out of a process that will eventually be forced on them by the MAFAA

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 1:31am

    Yet here we are, with all of them once again holding out their hands and claiming the death knell is being heard. Movies did great last year. The best ever in fact in it's history.


    Incorrect.

    The BOX OFFICE had its best year last year IF you ignore a little thing called "inflation".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 1:42am

    Re:

    "threats to public health and safety created by infringement."

    Lol wut?

    He would have had a point if he was referring to physical counterfeit goods, but infringement includes copying digital files which are normally perfect copies of the original and thus do not pose a threat to anyone but seekers of monopoly rents.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    :), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 2:11am

    Re:

    Even with inflation the box office was higher then the previous decade.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    :), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 2:21am

    The importance to engage.

    Even if it is window dressing, people should engage and tell them what they think.

    Part of the process is having to go through the motions.

    If they don't listen it just means they don't stop getting e-mails and letters and see people care less about what they are told.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    Karl (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 3:59am

    Please proofread this letter

    Hey, all.

    I'm actually going to write a letter to Ms. Espinel, and I would really appreciate some proofreading before I send it.

    The whole thing is pretty damn long. So, rather than post it here, I put it on my site:
    A letter to Victoria Espinel

    Tell me what you think.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 4:57am

    Re:

    The BOX OFFICE had its best year last year IF you ignore a little thing called "inflation".

    Yeah - wasn't that negative last year?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 4:58am

    Re: Please proofread this letter

    That's a very nice and well thought out response.

    At the beginning you mention that you are a musician, but you don't follow up on that. I think it would be a good idea to say how the things you are talking about are affecting you personally -- for instance, why does an artist feel we need more balanced copyrights, seeing that (in theory) you are being favoured atm?

    I'll try to make time to go through it and fix a few grammatical errors I've spotted -- I'll try to post here later today/tonight.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    Dementia (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 6:19am

    Re: Re:

    I believe in this instance they are probably referring to medications made by a company who doesn't license a particular formula from the patent owner.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 6:29am

    Re: Re: Please proofread this letter

    Done. Posted in the comments on your site.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 6:32am

    Re: Re:

    "Yeah - wasn't that negative last year?"

    ROFLMAO ... thats the same thing I thought

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 6:34am

    Re: Please proofread this letter

    Nice

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anarcissie, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 6:47am

    This might be relevant....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 7:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Please proofread this letter

    Hey, thanks for your corrections.

    I was honestly trying to stay away from the "I'm an artist and I believe X" argument, in favor of the "X is correct" argument. It really doesn't matter that I'm a musician; it matters that what I say is right.

    But I may write a closing paragraph that explains my reasoning; basically, that the laws she's asked to enforce criminalize independent promotion (in the public's mind, if not in actual law).

    Most of your other corrections are spot-on. I'll probably use most of them. Once this is in a readable state, I'd like to send it as a "sample letter" to a few places.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 7:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Please proofread this letter

    No problem. Keep us updated! :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 8:35am

    Um, duh.

    "19. Suggest specific strategies to
    significantly reduce the demand for
    infringing goods or products both in the
    U.S. and in other countries."

    Reduce the costs. Eliminating incentives for lawsuits come to mind.
    Improve accessibility.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Chris Brand, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 9:50am

    The key question

    is whether they're looking for an "improved (enforcement strategy)" or an (improved enforcement) strategy".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    icon
    dawog (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 1:27pm

    Mike - Please Post your Draft Response...

    Mike... please post your draft response, especially if it differs from your approach in your USTR Special 301 comments.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Re:

    "Even with inflation the box office was higher then the previous decade."


    Incorrect again.

    2009 was only Hollywood's 5th highest box office year after adjusting for inflation.

    2002 remains the champion in both ticket sales and adjusted box office.

    None of this proves anything RE piracy, of course, but 2009 was NOT the best year for Hollywood in ticket prices, box office, downstream licensing or home video.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Whoops. "Ticket prices" should read "ticket sales".

    2009 WAS a record breaking year for ticket PRICES.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 3:01pm

    Makes me wish I had thoughful comments to submit. :-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Feb 24th, 2010 @ 8:51pm

    Re: Please proofread this letter

    Final draft is up. I have already sent it out.

    I also provided a link to the PDF, and included the relevant email, if anyone else wants to write in.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Jimmy Ginn, Mar 25th, 2010 @ 10:05am

    Tax Sale

    I am holder my a certificate of sale issued by the IRS posted at ginnmusicgroup.com The copyright office has noted and is filed with Tax Release's Coyright Office appears to be unwilling to look at fraud, In my case my passed administrator was found to have defrauded the Court and the Copyright Office neither has move to correct see Bridgeport Music v. 500 defentands. Their claims must reviewed , the Copyright Office has a duty to the public and copyright owners as my seif. Jimmy Ginn, Act One Music, GRC Records
    and others

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Essay Editing, May 6th, 2010 @ 7:07pm

    Edit and Proofreading

    Hey. You’ve got an Interesting topic on your blog. I was just surfing the Internet for fun and came upon your website. Fabulous post! Thanks a lot for sharing your experience!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Essay Editing, May 7th, 2010 @ 7:40am

    Edit and Proofreading

    I haven’t any word to appreciate this post.....Really I am impressed from this post....the person who creates this post it was a great human. Thanks for shared this with us.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    proofreading prices, May 12th, 2010 @ 3:23am

    +

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    proofreading prices, May 12th, 2010 @ 3:30am

    Intellectual Property Enforcement

    Only in the ideal world is Intellectual Property Enforcement assured.

    With all the technology abounding where information can be bounced back and forth, the real world presents a formidable arena working against the idea.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Erik Pelton, Aug 19th, 2012 @ 7:52pm

    IPEC Comments

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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