Lucky Number 17?: Russia’s 16th Consecutive Year on the U.S Copyright “Watch List”

For its 16th consecutive year, Russia was named in the U.S copyright top priority “watch list”, according to a record kept by the International Intellectual Property Alliance. India, China, Argentina, Indonesia, Thailand and Canada too were among the countries perceived by the U.S to be failing to amend its copyright laws.

The annual report released by America lists nations with issues relating to the theft of intellectual property and copyright protection. Although no legal sanction is attached to being placed on the list, the scheme serves as a shaming mechanism designed to catalyze governments to reform copyright legislation and crack down on piracy and counterfeiting.

According to US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, “This year’s Special 301 Report is more significant than ever in light of recent U.S. Government data showing that IP-intensive industries support as many as 40 million American jobs and up to 60 per cent of U.S. exports.”

While the “naming and shaming” regime has unsurprisingly garnered several critics; one can extract a single yet moving lesson from this scheme: all countries, including the U.S, should adopt and/or uphold copyright laws that are closely aligned with its national and international interests and absent coercion.

Photo Credit: ºNit Soto,  www.flickr.com/photos/edith_soto/7271415680/

About: Tracy Ayodele

Tracy Ayodele is a Canadian lawyer, called to the Bar of Ontario, and a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School. She has a keen interest in IP policy, social innovation and the intersection of technology, development and start-up culture in emerging economies. She is a spirited legal researcher and writer, and co-authored “Hot-tubbing in Canadian Patent Litigation: A Preliminary Assessment” published in the Intellectual Property Journal.

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