U.S. Govt Launches Consultation on Future Anti-Piracy Strategies

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The U.S. Government's Patent and Trademark Office will host a public roundtable to discuss future anti-piracy and counterfeiting strategies. The agency notes that piracy causes billions of dollars in losses to the U.S. economy each year. No concrete proposals are mentioned but rightsholders will likely suggest pirate site blocking as an option.

america flagFor many years, U.S. lawmakers have considered amending legislation so that today’s online copyright issues can be addressed more effectively.

Many proposals have come and gone, without resulting in any significant updates. Calls to change current legislation persist, however.

Before any new laws or policies are introduced, the Government typically seeks input from stakeholders. That’s also the case when planning future anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting strategies.

Roundtable on Future Anti-Piracy Strategies

This coming October, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will hold a roundtable on the subject, with members of the public invited to join. There are no concrete proposals at this stage but the agency is interested to hear what strategies have proven to be effective.

The office is also open to new ideas for future anti-piracy strategies. The call is quite broad and could include hot topics such as no-fault injunctions, which would allow copyright holders to more easily pursue pirate site blocking orders in the United States.

“The USPTO seeks information from interested parties regarding their observations and insights into the future of anticounterfeiting and antipiracy strategies,” the Office writes.

Quoting data from the United States Chamber of Commerce, a lobbying group operating independently of government, USPTO notes that video piracy alone causes losses of up to $115.3 billion in reduced GDP per year, as well as 560,000 lost jobs.

Broad Range of Questions

The consultation doesn’t ask for input on any specific policies or plans. Instead, stakeholders and members of the general public are asked to share their thoughts on a wide range of piracy and counterfeiting issues, including harms and dangers to the public, voluntary collaborations, and common challenges.

“Are you considering new collaborative efforts to combat counterfeiting and piracy? What factors will affect your decision? How might those future collaborations be comprised?” one of the questions reads.

Some of the Questions

uspto question

The consultation and roundtable will also explore how existing laws factor into current anti-piracy measures. And perhaps more importantly, whether any improvements are needed in this area.

“Do online enforcement strategies use existing copyright laws to combat online piracy? If so, please describe in detail those activities, and provide any suggestions for maximizing these practices.”

Needless to say, the roundtable and public comments will undoubtedly result in a wide range of opposing views.

It’s no secret that rightsholders would like to have more anti-piracy tools, including site blocking and increased ISP liability in the US. However, these measures tend to trigger opposition from digital rights activists and the broader public.

A copy of the USPTO’s notice of the public roundtable and its request for comments is available at the Federal Register


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