White House Publishes Obnoxious Special 301 Report; Whines About Any Country With A More Enlightened View On IP
from the but-of-course dept
It’s widely considered a complete joke in diplomatic circles and even within the US government, but every year the USTR is required to come out with its Special 301 report concerning who’s been naughty and who’s been nice on intellectual property issues. This year’s report has just come out, and it’s no different than previous years. Basically, there’s no objective process at all. There’s just a bunch of lobbyists whining about which countries don’t treat them with enough respect (i.e., allow real competition in their home countries), and then the USTR parrots back the lobbyists’ complaints, with little in the way of verification or understanding. Then, the State Department uses that report to pressure countries (see: New Zealand, Canada, Sweden and Spain as examples) to rewrite their patent and copyright laws.
The really sickening part in all of this is that the USTR makes no effort to determine what sorts of IP laws are effective or reasonable. None. It just pushes other countries to ratchet up their IP laws to more and more draconian levels. Basically, if anyone thinks they have a better idea on how intellectual property laws should be done, the US government shames them with this report. It’s even more ridiculous when you realize that they even name and shame some countries (e.g., Canada) for not making their laws even worse than US laws. Notice that the Special 301 report never seems to care when other countries don’t add in exceptions like fair use… they just focus on ratcheting things up.
It’s a complete embarrassment, and it’s time the whole thing was dropped.