Isn't It Time To Drop The Laughable 'Special 301' Report?
from the dump-it dept
This year, I didn't even bother, because it's pretty clear that the USTR has no interest in actually doing its job in improving overall trade, but is clearly going to continue to carry out its role as a lobbyist mouthpiece. Still, some groups, including Public Knowledge and Knowledge Ecology International made filings this year, pointing out how screwed up the whole Special 301 process is, and suggesting it's about time the USTR changed the overall process.
What I want to know is why we bother at all any more? Isn't it time to just drop the whole thing? It's widely considered to be a joke among those who understand how the list works. Each year Canada is named, and Canadian officials laugh and repeat the same claim about how they don't recognize a list like the Special 301 that is clearly nothing more than an attempt by US companies to influence Canadian policy in their own favor. Even people at the Copyright Office -- who normally are closely aligned with the USTR -- have spoken out in public about how the Special 301 is a joke, not to be taken seriously.
When so many people consider the list to be a total joke, isn't it reasonable to question why we still have it at all? The list has nothing to do with improving trade or improving economic conditions. It's a simple protectionism process that allows a small group of big companies to get the US government to act as their mouthpiece. It's an embarrassment, and it's time to dump it.