Tell The USTR To Stop Being A Pawn Of Hollywood Lobbyists

from the time-to-wake-up dept

Every year, the USTR puts out its infamously laughable Special 301 report (as I’ve pointed out in the past, I’ve seen people in the ideologically-aligned US Copyright Office mock the Special 301 report openly — showing that even those who support it know that it’s ridiculous). The way it works is that the USTR asks for comments about what countries aren’t doing enough to protect US intellectual property abroad, and then puts out a “who’s been naughty” and “who’s been extra extra naughty” list to publicly shame countries. It’s been so ridiculous that Canada — whose copyright law is much stricter than the US in many ways — is frequently listed as naughty, and has officially stated that it does not consider the Special 301 process to be legitimate.

And that’s because it’s not legitimate. The way the process works is that the USTR takes the claims of various lobbyists and companies — does no additional objective analysis — and puts together its list. They do allow for open comments, and a couple years ago I submitted some comments about the mistakes in the USTR approach, and how it might be improved. Many others did similar things… and when the report came out, it was the same jumbled mess of industry talking points.

Either way, it’s that time of the year again, and Public Knowledge has put up a form to let people sign on to a simple letter asking the USTR to stop its “blind reliance on rights holder assertions” and to “put industry special interest claims under closer scrutiny.” If PK’s letter is not to your liking, you can submit your own reasoned comments (in 2000 characters or less — which seems pretty limiting).

For more background info, PK has a blog post explaining the Special 301 process and why you should speak up and tell the USTR to stop acting as government-certified shills for the legacy entertainment business.

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Comments on “Tell The USTR To Stop Being A Pawn Of Hollywood Lobbyists”

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8 Comments
Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

This is just plain silly, making PK look like a fringe, activist site, and not one that speaks with a measure of authority.

How so? It seems like a perfectly reasonable request. I think only a complete idiot doesn’t realize that the USTR is captured by Hollywood on this issue. PK’s writeup is measured and to the point.

The only one looking fringe and without authority is you. As per usual, of course. And, trust me, PK has plenty of respect and authority within DC these days.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The thing is the 301 Report can be a laugh but it does have consequences if you are listed on the naughty side the government uses that as an excuse to sanction countries.

Quote:

In response to countries being included on the Special 301 Report Watchlists the US Government may initiate dispute settlement proceedings at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) or other relevant trade agreement, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The US Government can also eliminate tariff preferences unilaterally granted, such as the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).[10]

If the US investigation concludes that a country has violated a trade agreement Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 allows the US Government to impose unilateral trade sanctions if the country is not member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) or any other trade agreement establishing dispute settlement provisions, such as free trade agreements, which are relevant to the alleged violation. Unilateral trade sanctions under section 301 were imposed on December 20, 2001 on the Ukraine by imposing a prohibitive tariff on metals, footwear and other imports because the USTR concluded that the country had failed to enact legislation to enforce copyright in relation to music Compact Discs (CDs) and the export of these CDs.[11]

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_301_Report

That is exactly why Canada is trying to pass SOPA like laws there because they don’t want to be sanctioned by the US, what countries should do is terminate the legal frames that enable the US to do so and reduce the deals they make with American companies, if they want any kind of control over their futures.

Rapnel (profile) says:

x-posted but relevant comment content

Short on sigs for exposure: Make more transparent and inclusive the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty negotiations

Found in BoingBoing Article Comments: http://bit.ly/xxLymr

Petition Address: http://bit.ly/xarv5J

Text:
“The USTR needs to be more transparent and inclusive in the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty. The public should be informed by regular drafts of language released and open for comment. Members of Technological and on line civil rights groups should be invited to the negotiations.”

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