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Coordinated enforcement of intellectual property (IP) rights—copyright, patents and trade marks—has been an elusive goal for Europe. Back in 2005, the European Commission struggled to introduce a directive known as IPRED2 that would criminalize commercial-scale IP infringements, but abandoned the attempt in 2010 due to jurisdictional problems. IP maximalists took another run at it through ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, but that misguided treaty was roundly defeated in 2012 when the European Parliament rejected it, 478 votes to 39.
Undeterred, the European Commission is trying once again. This time, it is trying to avoid a similarly humiliating defeat in Parliament by focusing on non-legislative strategies. But its effort to sidestep Parliament also means less political or judicial oversight. So it behooves us to take a close look at what is being proposed.
There is no such thing as an “international copyright” that will automatically protect an author’s writings throughout the world. Protection against unauthorized use in a particular country depends on the national laws of that country.
Many countries offer protection to foreign works under certain conditions that have been greatly simplified by international copyright treaties and conventions. This circular provides a brief overview of the international conventions, treaties, and other bilateral instruments that the United States has concluded with other countries, and it details the participation of other countries in these same instruments.
It has been 25 years since the first Special 301 Report was published in 1989. The first report, called a “Fact Sheet,” highlighted 25 trading partners – eight on the Priority Watch List and 17 on the Watch List.
Over the past 25 years, the Special 301 Report has identified positive advances as well as areas of continued concern. The Report has reflected changing technologies, promoted best practices, and situated these critical issues in their policy context, underscoring the importance of intellectual property rights protection and enforcement to the United States and our trading partners.