Even As US Continues To Push Stronger Intellectual Property Laws Through Trade Agreements, It Ignores Those Agreements At Home

from the good-for-the-goose dept

Even as the US tries to ratchet up patents, copyrights and trademarks in international trade agreements, talking about how it's essential to protect the US's interests, it's amazing how the US ignores those same agreements at home. For years, we've talked about the still ongoing situation with Antigua, where the US was clearly found in violation of trade agreements, but has refused to do anything about it (other than unilatterally changing the free trade agreement in question in its own favor).

But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Other countries are complaining that the US has lost at a variety of hearings in front of the WTO (handling disputes over those trade agreements) and then proceeded to ignore those rulings entirely.
“The conduct of the United States unscrupulously discredits the WTO dispute settlement system and also constitutes an affront to the intellectual property rights,” an ambassador from Cuba said today at the WTO.

At a WTO Dispute Settlement Body meeting today, a number of WTO members fired shots at the US delegation for its continued failure to change its laws to comply with WTO rulings that found it out of compliance on intellectual property-related issues.
The article lists out a bunch of countries all complaining that, while the US keeps pressuring them to adopt strict IP laws, the US routinely ignores the same clauses in the various free trade agreements it signs.
“It is very ironic to observe the United States projecting laws on intellectual property, despite keeping violations as egregious as Section 211,” under which the Bacardi Company continues to market rum labelled Havana Club, a mark which is otherwise owned by Cuba and partners. “This is one of the most famous cases of trademark counterfeiting and conducting misleading advertising by a company backed by the US legislation.”
And while a number of the countries complaining obviously have other issues with the US (Cuba, Venezuela), it's not just those countries. The EU also has complained that the US has been ignoring various agreements.
Even the 27-member European Union weighed in on the Section 211 case, thanking the US for its report and adding the hope that “US authorities will very soon take steps towards implementing the DSB ruling and resolve this matter.” The EU also urged that the US comply with another IP case – Section 110(5) of the US Copyright Act – which involved the US commercial practice of playing music recordings, such as Irish music, aloud in bars without paying royalties. “We refer to our previous statements that we would like to resolve this case as soon as possible,” the EU said.
Of course, the proper response to all of this isn't just putting more pressure on the US to change its laws to comply, but a more basic solution: stop agreeing to "intellectual property" issues in trade agreements. The US has now made it abundantly clear that it will pressure countries into rules that go against its own best interests and then will ignore any rules that go against its own interests. So the most basic response is that the US is clearly not trustworthy on "intellectual property" in trade agreements, and other countries should refuse to include such provisions in any agreement with the US. Don't reward hypocrisy and bullying by allowing the US to do more of the same.

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  1. icon
    Akari Mizunashi (profile), 29 Mar 2013 @ 11:47am

    Do as I say, not as I do. If you don't, we'll put your ass on the Special 301 report!

    The US Government
    (owned and operated by the MPAA and RIAA)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Mar 2013 @ 12:46pm


    There are over 200 countries in the world so why don't these countries just ignore the US and trade with each other instead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Chosen Reject (profile), 29 Mar 2013 @ 12:50pm

    I don't think the US should care one iota about the WTO. However, this does reveal the hypocrisy. But that's par for the course for IP maximalists.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    ECA (profile), 29 Mar 2013 @ 1:03pm


    THE USA is the only country that THINKS, its the only one with IDEAS/IP worth protecting..

    Its always been that way.

    IF the USA had to pay ROYALTIES on gun powder, and all subsequent creations from it, BASED on gun powder..do you THINK the USA would?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    ECA (profile), 29 Mar 2013 @ 1:04pm


    Trade agreements should be FOR TRADE..not changing LAWS, and NOT to backdoor the USA into changing LAWS..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Jay (profile), 29 Mar 2013 @ 1:07pm

    No trust here...

    So let's get this straight...

    The US wants unilateral positioning as the only superpower in the US yet it won't play nice.

    On every level, the US government's positioning is incredible...

    On the international level, it ignores it's obligations while trying to exploit other countries.

    Within the US, it comports to do what one industry wants over the needs of other industries that are disrupting it.

    On the state level, it continues to allow monopolies that only allow the select few to benefit.

    And on an individual level, it goes after the weakest citizens instead of protecting them.

    We don't live in a democratic republic... We live in an aristocracy that only caters to the rich and powerful and that's problematic in how the US enforces laws that only serve Hollywood or the largest corporations instead of everyone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Jay (profile), 29 Mar 2013 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re:

    They kind of have to work with the US right now... Having a strong military and agreements with everyone means that the US is in a position that it's enjoyed for the past 50 odd years. Still, there are now other countries that have power positions without the US (China) that is causing the US to try to bully them (think the entire Huawei spectacle where they now want to stop using Chinese products) into not being a superpower.

    What's kind of ridiculous is the fact that the US is indebted to China thanks to their wars and Bush's tax cuts. But don't tell the rest of the world why we're taking such a hard stance against them similar to the Cold War of the 50s- 80s. But that's another story for another time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    gorehound (profile), 29 Mar 2013 @ 1:20pm


    You mean the asshats MAFIAA ! I urge all to Boycott the Big Content Industry as well as making sure you try to Educate your friends.
    To many sheep in the USA so let us try to Educate them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Mar 2013 @ 1:33pm

    the USA has been doing this for ages, even more so since the world financial collapse that it's own banks caused. why the hell do other countries still bow down to the demands of the USA? everyone knows that whatever the USA wants is in it's own best interests and not those of the other countries it keeps bullying. and just as frightening is that when these countries do what they are forced to do because of the various threats the USA issue, it is against the best interests of the countries and the citizens of those countries and it just leads to even more demands being made and expected to be complied with. how can any government chose to benefit someone else, somewhere else over it's own, i do not know! the USA is nothing but a gutless bully. it thinks it's size is going to always see others do as it wants. perhaps now is a good time for change to come into play and others to tell the USA to go fuck itself!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    anonymouse, 29 Mar 2013 @ 2:19pm


    And American residents wonder why they are hated with a passion around the world, damn even their allies hate them. Luckily for America it is not in the middle of Europe otherwise i suspect it would have been subjected to many bans and restrictions. I still see this happening as more and more countries have free access to American media and sell it and make a lot of money that should be going to Americans. Maybe one day the American citizens will put pressure on their corrupt leaders. I feel like i am understanding why some people take extreme measures against America , maybe Americans should wake up before it is too late.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    JarHead, 29 Mar 2013 @ 2:30pm

    ...and people wonders, why "others" hate the US so much to the point willing to strap bombs and blow themselves up on US property/soil (disclaimer: not that I condone that)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Mar 2013 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Re:

    There is also the fact that the US Dollar is currently the accepted currency of exchange, so foreign countries exchanging goods for cash have to first convert to US Dollars and then make the exchange. So even if they aren't trading with the US, they are using US currency in the exchange, at least for the time being...

    Expect to see 500% inflation, riots in the streets, and rampant poverty and unemployment in the US once we lose out on being the favored currency of exchange by continually bullying other nations. It may not happen in the next few years, but if and when it does, it's going to make the Mortgage and Financial crisis look like a minor nick while shaving compared to having the throat slit wide open with a straight razor....

    So to speak (not advocating violence, just using it as an example)...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    marak, 29 Mar 2013 @ 6:10pm

    "So the most basic response is that the US is clearly not trustworthy on "intellectual property" in trade agreements."

    i think its more like this now :

    "that the US is clearly not trustworthy."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 30 Mar 2013 @ 12:34am


    Well its not like we trained dictators and helped them into power to abuse the people, and ignored those human rights violations all so we could get better deals for our corporate sponsor.... er nevermind.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Digitari, 30 Mar 2013 @ 6:53am


    I'm trustworthy, you, most likely are trustworthy the US GOVERNMENT is not trustworthy.

    they say voting makes a difference but if the voting is rigged it means NOTHING.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    Violated (profile), 30 Mar 2013 @ 7:26am


    I am doubtful that other countries will stop signing International Trade Agreements with the US but a good place to start would be the (larger) European Union just like they did with ACTA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    bikey, 30 Mar 2013 @ 3:41pm


    The US created the WTO, so why shouldn't it 'care one iota'?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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