Copyright Law Updates | New Proposed Legislation

January 26, 2009

Hatch, Baucus Legislation Seeks to Protect U.S. Intellectual Property Rights Abroad

International Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement Act of 2008
S.3464, 11/10/2008

Hatch, Baucus Legislation Seeks to Protect U.S. Intellectual Property Rights Abroad

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and senior panel member Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)  have unveiled legislation that will reduce the theft of U.S. intellectual property around the world—including the piracy of American films, the counterfeiting of American-designed products and other violations of U.S. intellectual property rights (“IPR”) worldwide.

The International Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement Act of 2008 requires the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) to spur countries that violate U.S. intellectual property rights to take specific steps to stop IP violations, provides funds to increase USTR’s capability to work with developing countries to improve IP protection and enforcement, and gives the president powerful enforcement tools to deal with countries that refuse to fight widespread theft of U.S. intellectual property.

Provisions of the Act include:

- Action Plans. The bill requires the USTR to develop an action plan for each foreign country that has remained on USTR’s “Priority Watch List” of intellectual property deficient countries for at least one year. The action plan must list the legislative, enforcement, or other actions that the foreign country must take in order to achieve adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights, and fair and equitable market access for U.S. companies that rely on intellectual property protection.

- Enforcement Actions. If a foreign country has not complied with its action plan within one year, the bill authorizes the President to take various enforcement actions against the country. These actions include (1) prohibiting federal government procurement from the foreign country; (2) prohibiting new financing by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the Export-Import Bank of the United States with respect to projects in, or exports to, the foreign country; and (3) withdrawing any preferential treatment for which the foreign country qualifies under the Generalized System of Preferences or other U.S. preference programs.

- Developing Country Assistance. The bill authorizes appropriations to USTR to assist developing countries in complying with their action plans. Such assistance may include capacity building, activities designed to increase awareness of intellectual property rights, and training for officials responsible for enforcing intellectual property rights in the developing country.

- Congressional Report. The bill requires USTR to include, in its annual “Special 301” report, a description of the action plan developed for each country and the actions taken by each country pursuant to that plan.

- Intellectual Property Officials. The bill requires the President to ensure that intellectual property officials are placed in the U.S. embassy of each foreign country that has a commercially significant relationship with the United States. The official will (1) serve as a liaison between the United States and the foreign country on matters relating to intellectual property protection and enforcement; and (2) gather and provide information requested by USTR for purposes of developing or determining compliance with the intellectual property action plans.

The Baucus-Hatch bill is expected to be referred to the Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over U.S. trade policy.

View a PDF of the proposed legislation

Also See:

New Cataloging Guidelines for Pictures Now Available in Online Publication

Reintroduced Legislation Seeks to Modernize Television Laws

Copyright Office Releases New Report on Resale Royalties

Copyright Office Releases Report on Copyright Small Claims

Historic Treaty Adopted, Boosts Access to Books for Visually Impaired Persons Worldwide

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Companies Mentioned

Copyright Law

The following companies are mentioned in Copyright Law Updates:

MGA Entertainment (HK) Ltd.

Mattel, Inc.

American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers

MGA Entertainment Inc.

UMG Recordings, Inc.

Bad Boy Entertainment, Inc. d.b.a. Bad Boy Records

Affordable Video Systems, Ltd.

Yahoo! Inc.

Dream Games of Arizona, Inc.

Television Music License Committee

Frank Diana City Entertainment

SESAC, Inc.

PC Onsite

RealNetworks, Inc.

AOL LLC f.k.a. America Online, Inc.

Northern Lights Products, Inc. d.b.a. GlowProducts.com

Litecubes, LLC

Poof Apparel Corp.

Derek Andrew, Inc.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Inc.

Geoffrey Productions, Inc.

Universal City Studios LLLP

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.

Turner Network Television LP, LLLP

Turner Network Sales, Inc.

Turner Classic Movies, LP, LLLP

Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

The Cartoon Network LP, LLP

Paramount Pictures Corp.

NBC Studios, Inc.

Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Veoh Networks, Inc.

CSC Holdings, Inc.

CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Cablevision Systems Corp.

Cable News Network LP, LLLP

American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Westbound Records, Inc.

Kamind Associates, Inc. a.k.a. KAM Industries

Janice Combs Publishing, Inc. d.b.a. Justin Combs Publishing

All Headline News Corp.

Bad Boy Records LLC

American Software Development Company, Inc.

National Writers Union

Penguin Group (USA), Inc.

Shelter Venture Fund LP

ASP. Consulting Group

The Authors Guild, Inc.

McIntosh & Otis, Inc.

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