USTR Releases Ridiculous 'Naughty' Special 301 List For Countries Who Don't Pass Silly Laws Hollywood Wants

from the silly-and-pointless dept

Every year around this time, the USTR puts out its increasingly laughable Special 301 Report, which merely takes the countries that IP maxmalists say are bad, and officially declares them naughty. The 2012 list has come out (pdf and embedded below) and it's as silly and pointless as usual. Canada has an official policy stating that it does not accept the Special 301 process as legitimate, and (of course) it once again finds itself on the list. There is no fathomable reason for this other than the fact that Hollywood wants Canada to pass stringent new copyright laws that include anti-circumvention provisions. But the fact is that Canada's copyright law is already much more draconian than US law. Then there are countries like Israel, whose copyright laws are actually on par with the US's... but they get put on the naughty "priority watch" list as well.

You know who gets removed? Spain. As you may recall, Spain recently put in place its own version of SOPA -- a law that goes way, way beyond current US copyright law, which was heavily pushed by US diplomats, despite the fact that public hated the bill -- and even local movie industry insiders hated the bill. On top of that, economists argued that it would do significant harm to the Spanish economy. But Hollywood wanted it, so the USTR cheers it on and removes them from the list.

What a joke.

Just last week, we wrote about an alternative list, from Consumers International, that judged copyright laws around the globe, based on how much the laws actually benefited the public. On that list, Israel, India and Indonesia took the top three spots. On the USTR list -- all three of those countries end up on the "naughty" priority watch list.

Amusingly, the Special 301 report talks up the importance of both ACTA and TPP... conveniently ignoring the fact that the EU Parliament seems very interested in rejecting ACTA, and not even mentioning the worldwide controversy over the binding treaty (which the US signed unconstitutionally, without getting Congressional approval). It also completely ignores the fact that Colombia just rushed through its own version of SOPA to appease the US. Instead, it complains that Colombia isn't doing enough.

It's really amazing that anyone takes this list seriously. We've seen officials from the US Copyright Office -- who are ideologically aligned with the USTR -- publicly mock the Special 301 list before, which is about the level of respect it deserves. Public Knowledge refers to the process as being "fact-free" and that's being generous. The list is such a joke at this point, that it would be a good thing for other countries to just respond to any mention of it by laughing heartily out loud.

Filed Under: acta, canada, consumers international, india, indonesia, israel, spain, special 301 report, tpp, ustr

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2012 @ 6:43am

    Oh good, that gives me a short-list of countries to move to when the legacy copyright companies finally destroy the technology industry here and make it impossible for me to stay employed...

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