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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  1. identicon
    Karl, 3 Feb 2012 @ 8:14pm

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 5:38pm

    I have to wonder if they got so many negative comments they pulled or changed the location to make it more difficult...

    More likely they got so many signatures, their servers crashed.

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