SSRC Releases “Media Piracy in Emerging Economies”

Today, the Social Science Research Council released the first independent, large-scale study of music, film and software piracy in emerging economies, with a focus on Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa, Mexico and Bolivia. “Media Piracy in Emerging Economies” tells two overarching stories:  one tracing the explosive growth of piracy as digital technologies became cheap and ubiquitous around the world, and another following the growth of industry lobbies that have reshaped laws and law enforcement around copyright protection.   It argues that these efforts have largely failed, and that the problem of piracy is better conceived as a failure of affordable access to media in legal markets. Click here for more.

USTR Holds Open Hearing for the Special 301 Report

Representatives from four foreign governments, four industry groups, and nine civil society groups testified at a March 2 hearing of the interagency Special 301 Committee led by USTR.  The government representatives generally testified about actions being taken in their countries to combat IP infringement.  The industry groups called for stronger IP enforcement and gave some examples of countries where they have trouble enforcing their IP rights.  Civil society groups argued that Special 301 should not penalize governments for utilizing pro-consumer policies that help to increase access to health and knowledge goods.  Many criticized the vague language of past Special 301 Reports, which leaves outside observers unsure of what USTR is attacking in foreign countries. Click here for more.

2011 Trade Policy Agenda and 2010 Annual Report

On March 4, USTR published its annual report, compiled with assistance from the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Justice, Labor, and State.  The report, describes the government’s work to strengthen IP norms and enforcement, including through ACTA and other Free Trade Agreements; through trade preference programs such as the GSP and AGOA; and through bilateral mechanisms such as the Special 301 report.  It also includes a section on USTR’s efforts to increase transparency in trade policy. Click here for more.

USTR Considering a Signing Statement on ACTA

Inside US Trade reports that Stan McCoy says USTR has not ruled out issuing a signing statement with ACTA: “We certainly don’t exclude the idea of issuing some kind of statement in connection with the signing,” McCoy told Inside U.S. Trade on March 4. “As to what specifically it should say, we’re studying all the suggestions we’ve received and we’ll think that through in connection with the process.” USTR is currently reviewing comments it received in February, many of which ask for a signing statement or other assurance that ACTA will not be implemented in a way that conflicts with US law. Click here for more.

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