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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 7:56pm

    Diplomatic Capture

    The Special 301 list is a clear example of diplomatic capture, by Hollywood. The executive should be ashamed of themselves, they are not fooling anybody. How to get yourselves held in contempt, in one easy lesson. How does the State department feel about this nonsense?

     

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 9:42pm

      Re: Diplomatic Capture

      I doubt most countries take the 301 list seriously. Some even consider it a badge of honour to find themselves there.

      The original idea was to embarrass the countries that end up there. It doesn't even do that now. In most of the world it's not even news. It certainly reaffirms that Hollywood sets US foreign policy these days.

       

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 7:57pm

    Aw, poor baby.

    WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH - Mike "The Glenn Beck of IP" Masnick.

     

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      Liz (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 8:22pm

      Re: Aw, poor baby.

      I don't see the connection. No where did I read anything about Nazis in this article.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 8:37pm

      Re: Aw, poor baby.

      I don't know TAM, between your constant whining, obsessive behavior, paranoid delusions, and chalkboard-worthy conspiracies, you seem more like the Glenn Beck figure to me.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 9:13pm

      Re: Aw, poor baby.

      Maybe if the bought USTR would stop whining first then we would stop whining. In the meantime, it is the duty of every citizen to complain and aggressively protest the self interested government-industrial complex until the government acts in the public interest.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 8:11pm

    Won't somebody please think of the parasitic middle men?

     

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    Cowardly Anonymous, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 9:46pm

    An interesting little bug

    There is an extra link tag in the text near the end of the story that causes some interesting behavior if you mouse over it.

    [a] its own version of SOPA to appease the US. Instead, it complains that Colombia isn't doing enough.
    [br /][br /]
    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 [/a]


    (angle brackets squared to avoid being parsed)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 9:51pm

    I for one am seriously upset, disappointed and frankly embarrassed that my country is not on the list. Then again, given how frequently our successive governments have bent over for the US government, one thing I am not is surprised. Woe.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 10:07pm

    I am hoping Australia will be placed on the list for next year what with AFACT (MPAA) having lost $12million in the iiNet case and our Law Review into Copyright Reform coming out in 2013.

    Can't let India and Canada have all the enjoyment and LOLS

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 10:55pm

      Re:

      Well the courts just smacked down Optus, and everyone even the ISP's seem to expect copyright law will tighten following the iiNet case.

      Anyway
      Got to love that pro consumer list. Israel, India and Indonesia, hugely important globally when it comes to movies, television and music... not!

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 11:27pm

        Re: Re:

        "Got to love that pro consumer list. Israel, India and Indonesia, hugely important globally when it comes to movies, television and music... not!"

        India and Indonesian are also IP negative countries, that is to say that what they add to IP overall is significantly less than the consume (and abuse). Not surprising at all to see them held in high regard on Techdirt.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2012 @ 4:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          IP negative? Does not India have the world's largest movie industry, as Bollywood goes from strength to strength? As for the output of the Indonesian movie industry being not well known in USA, that is hardly surprising. They speak Bahasa Indonesia, a language very different from English. There are many other cultural differences, as well.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2012 @ 5:11am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The indian movie industry is almost entirely an internal thing, net nothing. I don't see a huge lineup at my local multiplex for the latest bollywood thriller, do you?

            "They speak Bahasa Indonesia, a language very different from English."

            Since that doesn't stop them from wanting english movies, or from subtitling them into their local dialect, it would seem only fitting that a powerhouse of movie making would take the time to either ship subtitled in english movies, or even more so, do integral english versions with vioce over actors making the movie whole. I mean, a good movie is a good movie, right?

            Remind me again now how the Indian pharma business has done so well, making generic knock offs of currently patent medications, and of course, the massive and illegal resale market to the US and Canada... Iagra, anyone?

             

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              Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2012 @ 5:25am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Booming internal economy?! The horror!

              Subtitling things not even sold to them?! How dare they!

              Cheaper medications?! Those fiends!

               

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              TtfnJohn (profile), May 1st, 2012 @ 8:35am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "I don't see a huge lineup at my local multiplex for the latest bollywood thriller, do you?"

              You don't live in an area with a significant (large to you) Indian or Pakistani population, do you?

              If you did, you would see those lines.

               

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          John Fenderson (profile), May 1st, 2012 @ 10:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          India and Indonesian are also IP negative countries, that is to say that what they add to IP overall is significantly less than the consume (and abuse).


          I'm fascinated by this statement. I have no idea whether or not it's true, but that's not surprising since I also have little idea what it means. What, specifically, does "adding to IP overall" mean? How is this measured?

           

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        G Thompson (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 11:36pm

        Re: Re:

        The Federal Appeals court struck down Optus on the basis that they could not use Section 111.

        This is not the same as the High Court striking down AFACt on a 5-0 basis, nor of all other appeals going iiNet's way.

        Optus in my opinion should appeal since the doctrine of "personal use" is not defined properly and is highly subjective.

        Also the Optus decision doesn't have any weight with International courts, whereas the Roadshow v iiNet decision certainly does, more so in common law countries like Canada and India.

        And if you consider India unimportant globally you really haven't looked at how many consumers are in India compared to the USA and where India's economy is headed..

         

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          Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2012 @ 12:41am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Hmm, when was the last time I saw a Bollywood movie on tv, or some Indian pop?
          A loooooong time ago.

           

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            G Thompson (profile), May 1st, 2012 @ 12:56am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            From your Optus knowledge I am going to for the sake of argument assume you are in Australia, or know a fair amount about the Media Industry of Australia

            Answer: SBS

            Also who said Anything specifically about Bollywood, I said the Indian Economy.. Its not just at present pretty good but its potential compared to the over saturation of the consumer market within the USA/EU is like the rest of Asia... Huge

             

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2012 @ 1:00am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Face it retard, more people watch non-American movies then the people who do. That is hard to accept to those who believe the US propaganda machine.

             

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            Mike Masnick (profile), May 1st, 2012 @ 1:04am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Hmm, when was the last time I saw a Bollywood movie on tv, or some Indian pop?
            A loooooong time ago.


            If you're not aware of the size of both the Indian movie industry and music industries, your ignorance speaks more than anything you could type.

             

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      IronM@sk, May 1st, 2012 @ 12:53am

      Re:

      Hahah. Did you see that AFACT bloke (who interestingly, is an American) go full retard after the decision? I saw it on ABC News 24 at some point I think. But he was spouting all the same tropes we hear on TechDirt about how film piracy was costing the local industry and economy $600 million a year or some such garbage.

      It wasn't even original thought. It was almost word for word the same bs the US guys use, like they all went to the same copyright maximilists conference and were handed the same fact sheet on what to say and what not to say to the media and elected officials.

      The only bad thing is that he said AFACT would be appealing the decision. Hopefully the courts won't have a bar of it.

       

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        G Thompson (profile), May 1st, 2012 @ 1:04am

        Re: Re:

        Think you mean Mr Neil Gane.

        You have to realise he just lost and LOST big time by the tune of $12mill not once, not twice but third time the loser to what AFACT, Roadshow and their puppet masters in the MPAA (there is emails to prove that accusation I just made) thought would be a slam dunk against an Aussie small ISP

        And Neil stopped to think one day way back in 2008, and strangely forgot to start again.

        AFACT cannot appeal the decision other than crawling to both sides of parliament (Greens wont give me time of day) to change laws. At moment Gillard have more important matters to deal with them some stupid Industry shrill who at the most gives the Australian economy 0.5% of the total GDP.

        High Court decisions cannot be appealed. Though the Optus v Telstra/Foxtel decision can still be appealed, and should be

         

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      Niall (profile), May 1st, 2012 @ 4:49am

      Re:

      We demand that all of the Commonwealth countries end up on this list! And all of the European Union!

       

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        G Thompson (profile), May 1st, 2012 @ 6:55am

        Re: Re:

        The reasonable and intelligent people of those countries can be now heard screaming

        "Challenge Accepted!"

         

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        ltlw0lf (profile), May 1st, 2012 @ 7:56am

        Re: Re:

        We demand that all of the Commonwealth countries end up on this list! And all of the European Union!

        I agree. Hopefully the United States will lead the charge to be on this list! We were the first to throw off the tyranny of England and we should be at the top of the USTR Special 301 list.

        Well, here is to hope.

         

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    MSC (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 11:04pm

    Naughty or nice

    Am I the only one whose mind immediately went to picturing the USTR in a big red suit, with some music in the background?

    "He's making his list
    He's checking it twice
    He's gonna find out who's naughty or nice
    U S T R's coming, to town"

     

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    Beech, May 1st, 2012 @ 1:20am

    Other Lists

    Do we make other lists like this? Like, is the "special 300" list about countries who dont have harsh enough penalties for jaywalking?

    Maybe I'm mature, but if I was supreme leader of another country and I found myself on this list, I would Make a "special 302 list" myself. The subject would be "Countries My Country Have Found to be Dicks" and the US would occupy the top spot.

     

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      Niall (profile), May 1st, 2012 @ 4:52am

      Re: Other Lists

      I suspect most other countries who aren't utterly dependent on the US (or their poodles) already have that list. And probably they've listed all 50 states as well for good measure :)

       

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      F!, May 1st, 2012 @ 6:17am

      Re: Other Lists

      Aye, "we" do (I don't live in the USA anymore, but I know what you mean).

      There are some amazing lists nobody ever pays attention to if you know where to find them. I hope (for the sake of humor) someone has cataloged them somewhere.

      Not completely off-topic, the USA is near the top of rogue terrorist states, I forget where that list comes from... Certainly Central/South America (or anyone that pays attention) would agree with that.

       

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      G Thompson (profile), May 1st, 2012 @ 6:57am

      Re: Other Lists

      Well there is the 404 list, but they cant find it

      *boom boom*

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2012 @ 10:04am

        Re: Re: Other Lists

        The 203 report was incomplete, and the 204 report was nothing but a blank page. I've been trying to find the 302 list, but I keep getting pointed to a different location. I seem to have the wrong key to open the cabinet with the 401 report and I don't seem to have clearance to see the 403 list either. I eventually gave up trying to find the 408. The path to the 502 list was inaccessible, and I just didn't have the time to grab the 503.

        But in the end, I found that the special 301 list was permanently moved to the RIAA's fantasy land.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2012 @ 2:59am

    .

    Should we not make a list ?


    Play them at their own game.

     

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    Uria Yarkoni, May 1st, 2012 @ 3:00am

    'Fact-Free' is an understatement

    I was of particular interest to read the section about Israel - mainly because Israel came first on the CI's IP Watch List (disclosure - I wrote the Israeli chapter in that report, another reason for my interest).

    I was amused to read some of the 'complaints'. For example, the 301 states that "The US encourages Israel to amend its copyright law to provide for statutory damages". Now, I don't know who does research for the USTR or if that person reads Hebrew, but he/she should look into article 56 of the Israeli Copyright law, which is conveniently headlined 'statutory damages' - I think it has some value in this context. The rest of the Israeli section is not much better, and is filled with nonsense and plain mistakes.

    Anyway, it's good to live in a country which prefers my rights over the major studios'. Israel, keep it up!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2012 @ 3:07am

    freedom to share

    Aww shucks , My country didn't make it... maybe next year : (

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2012 @ 4:04am

    so why dont the countries that have been put on this list, that have been classed as 'naughty', tell the USTR and everyone else that thinks the same, to mind their own business, get their own houses in order and if they dont like what is going on fuck off?

     

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      Niall (profile), May 1st, 2012 @ 4:56am

      Re:

      After all, no-one is forcing the **AAs to produce anything, let alone over-priced, under-quality drivel. I'm pretty sure that if they don't bother to make anything, plenty of other people will step forward unto the breach. It's not like the **AAs /invented/ culture, is it?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 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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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2012 @ 7:01am

    (which the US signed unconstitutionally, without getting Congressional approval)

    Thanks Justice Masnick, this will come as a real revelation to the rest of the Supreme Court.

     

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      E. Zachary Knight (profile), May 1st, 2012 @ 7:24am

      Re:

      Last I checked, and it was recently, the US Constitution requires the Senate to ratify all treaties with other nations. I am not aware of any Constitutional amendments that have removed that requirement. So, please explain why the President can sign a binding treaty with other nations and not have it ratified by the Senate?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2012 @ 10:07am

        Re: Re:

        That is because Hollywood said that he could. You should know by now that the RIAA is more powerful then the Constitution.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2012 @ 8:06am

    My country didn't make it?! I'm ashamed of my country! We must work harder to make it on the 301 list next year.

     

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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2012 @ 8:23am

    1 vs Everybody

    What happens when every other country in the world is on the list? Then will they have a list of one?

     

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    Ruben, May 1st, 2012 @ 10:38am

    Notably Absent

    Anyone else notice that Sweden, the home of the infamous Pirate Bay is not on the list?

    How could such an egregious oversight occur?

     

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    The Moondoggie, May 2nd, 2012 @ 2:25am

    Philippine officials also
    improved enforcement efforts, leading to the closure of at least two significant notorious
    markets.


    LOL, The one in Ortigas and Quiapo is still open dumb **AA drones! HA! U can nvr kill us pirates!

    The United States also remains concerned
    about policies that inhibit U.S. exports of IPR-intensive products to the Philippines, including
    measures that limit the market for imported pharmaceutical products.


    Yes because certainly U.S. drugs are cheaper. F.Y.I. it isn't and to hell with this list. Shove all your drugs up your ass America, 'coz I swear it ain't gonna see Philippine soil.

    To anyone whose country is in the Priority Watch List I jelly U.

     

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    lolzzzzz, May 2nd, 2012 @ 9:26am

    how about the suck ass list

    ya know the panzy sucker list of nations that bend over for the usa rather then aid there own citizens?

     

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      F!, May 4th, 2012 @ 3:48am

      Re: how about the suck ass list

      I think you mean the USA that bends over for the MAFIAA rather than aid their own citizens. Top of the list.

       

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