IP Enforcement Roundup

USTR Releases Special 301 Report

On Monday May 2, USTR published the 2011 Special 301 Report, available here.  After examining 77 countries, it included 12 on the Priority Watch List, 28 on the Watch list, and under “Section 306 monitoring.”  Most of the countries in this year’s Special 301 Report have been regularly included in previous ones.  For the first time, USTR invites countries to “negotiate a mutually agreed action plan” that would eventually lead to their removal from future reports. USTR included a very brief section on best practices,  which highlighted 1) “improved cooperation and stakeholder engagement” in the instance of legislative and regulatory change, 2) “efforts to tackle new challenges in IPR protection and enforcement,” and 3) “active participation of government officials in capacity building efforts and training.” Initial reactions from public interest groups generally found that the 2011 report was similar to previous ones, and that it did not seem to reflect input from civil society.  Click here for more.

CBS and CNET Sued for Distributing LimeWire

Alki David, founder of the streaming service FilmOn.com, and a collection of musicians have sued CNET and its parent company, CBS Interactive, for distributing LimeWire and other peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing systems.  The lawsuit, filed May 3, claims that “The CBS defendants have been the main distributor of LimeWire software and have promoted this and other P2P systems in order to directly profit from wide-scale copyright infringement.  Internet users have downloaded more than 220 million copies of LimeWire software from the CBS defendants’ website, found at download.com since 2008.  This consisted 95 percent or more of all copies of LimeWire that were downloaded until LimeWire was shut down by Court Order.”  The lawsuit also describes how CBS profited from distribution of free P2P and how CNET featured instructional articles that helped internet users infringe copyrights.  Click here for more.

Judge Rejects USTR Claim That Negotiating Position in FTAA Investment Chapter Is Exempt from FOIA

U.S. Judge Richard W. Roberts has ruled that USTR cannot withhold trade negotiating documents from a FOIA request due to national security concerns.  Krista Cox writes in the KEI blog that “USTR had claimed that disclosure of one document would breach a non-disclosure agreement, harm US national security interests and damage foreign relations,” but Roberts did not find the arguments persuasive.  Click here for Cox’s blog.

Judge Will Not Let Content Owner Subpoena ISPs to Identify People by IP Address

VPR International, a Canadian content producer, has filed a complaint against 1,017 Doe defendants for distributing its copyrighted material online.  The Doe defendants are identified only by their IP addresses, and VPR sought an order from the court allowing it to subpoena their internet service providers for the “subscriber and location associated with each IP address.”  U.S. District Judge denied this, noting that “an IP address might actually identify an individual subscriber and address, [but] the correlation is far from perfect… The infringer might be the subscriber, someone in the subscriber’s household, a visitor with her laptop, or someone parked on the street at any given moment.”  Click here for more.


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