BLOGS: EFF discusses this year’s imminent Special 301 Report
The Special 301 Report is a US review of global IP protection and enforcement standards produced each year by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). One is due at the end of this month.
Since 1989, the USTR has used the Special 301 Report to intimidate other countries into adopting more stringent copyright and patent laws by singling out particular countries for their “bad” intellectual property policies, naming them on a tiered set of “watch lists,” resulting in heightened political pressure and in some cases, the potential for trade sanctions, to encourage changes to their laws.
Until now this list has been compiled primarily from the submissions of the entertainment and pharmaceutical industries. EFF considers this a flawed process providing a bad report with unhelpful consequences.
The USTR opened up the Special 301 submission process this year to all interested stakeholders for the first time and received over 700 submissions. While we welcome this new approach by the Obama administration, the real test for sound policy-making will be whether the 2010 Special 301 Report takes account of the views of all stakeholders. We’ll find out shortly.