For those interested in intellectual property protection issues around the world and the US view on enforcement of these rights the 2013 Special 301 Report was released yesterday. It is found here. I had blogged about the previous year's report here.
As usual I am not commenting on the details of the report but confining myself to the aspects of dispute settlement that were referred to here. The report stated:
"The United States continues to monitor the resolution of disputes announced in previous Special 301 reviews. The most efficient and preferred manner of resolving concerns is through bilateral dialogue. Where these efforts are unsuccessful, the United States will not hesitate to use the WTO dispute settlement procedures, as appropriate."
No surprises here in the use of dispute settlement at the WTO to pursue perceived national interest. I was curious to know if any reference to the the proposed measures by Antigua in relation to the US Gambling case (DS285) would be referred to in terms of cross retaliation in the intellectual property space. Reference to this, though not directly related to that dispute, made interesting reading:
"Also of concern is the distribution over the Internet of software that allows for the circumvention of technological protection measures used by rights holders to protect their content. A particularly troubling example is that of SlySoft, a company headquartered and operating in Antigua, which developed and sells a program called “Any DVD HD” enabling the user to defeat the encryption technology embedded in Blu-ray Discs that prevents unauthorized reproduction and distribution. Antigua’s Copyright Act makes it illegal to manufacture or import for sale or rental any such circumvention device. The consortium of electronic manufacturers, software companies, and motion picture studios that developed these technological protection measures has worked with the criminal enforcement authorities in Antigua for over 5 years to enforce this statute and have this case prosecuted. However this case has proceeded very slowly."
I was just trying to envision the implication of this technology for Antigua's next moves on the cross retaliation issue in the US Gambling case. No bets on this issue!