Chamber Outlines IP Agenda

Finishing work on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is one of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s top 2010 intellectual property priorities, the group said Thursday. The chamber urged the countries involved in crafting ACTA to complete an agreement that is “ambitious and comprehensive, [builds] on existing international rules and norms, and [complements] the IP provisions of pending free trade agreements.”

In a statement, the chamber also cited the need for law enforcement to do more to combat the digital theft of intellectual property. The Internet and new technologies have “fueled an explosion in IP theft, which not only poses a risk to consumer health and safety, but severely undermines sectors of our economy that have historically provided secure, high-paying jobs.”

In addition, the chamber called on Congress to pass legislation that would enhance the U.S. Trade Representative’s Special 301 process to give U.S. officials more tools to act against countries that do not protect U.S. intellectual property.

Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn criticized NBC Universal Executive Vice President and General Counsel Rick Cotton, who appeared at a news briefing outlining the chamber’s IP agenda, for proposing that Internet service providers be allowed to filter their content for copyright violations. “The current law provides that if illegal content is found, the ISP can take it down,” Sohn said in a statement. “We don’t need to violate the privacy and free speech rights of every Internet user to satisfy the demands of big media.”

Meanwhile, the International Intellectual Property Alliance released its recommendations to the USTR detailing countries that it says are not doing enough to protect intellectual property and should be part of the Special 301 process. It called for 35 countries to be named to an appropriate USTR watch list.

In particular, it called for Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines and Russia to be placed on the priority watch list. It said China should remain on the list because its “enforcement system continues to fail to bring to bear the manpower and resources necessary to deal with widespread piracy, whether corporate end user piracy of software, the online theft of music, movies, books and journals” and other items.

“Today’s [IIPA] report reflects the growing importance of the Internet, and mobile platforms, as mediums for the transmission of copyrighted materials, both legitimate and infringing,” Neil Turkewitz, executive vice president for the Recording Industry Association of America, an IIPA member, said in a statement. “While legitimate online commerce is rapidly growing, we regrettably face tremendous obstacles in building a healthy environment for the online music trade.”

Subscribe for updates from GIPC