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.

UMG Recordings, Inc.

American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers

MGA Entertainment 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.

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

Westbound Records, Inc.

All Headline News Corp.

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

American Software Development Company, Inc.

Bad Boy Records LLC

Affordable Video Systems, Ltd.

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

Dream Games of Arizona, Inc.

Yahoo! Inc.

Frank Diana City Entertainment

Television Music License Committee


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RealNetworks, Inc.

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

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

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.

River Road Entertainment, LLC

Knight Ridder Inc.

Viacom, Inc.

Universal-Polygram International Publishing, Inc.

Del Mar Productions, LLC

Knight Ridder Digital

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