Publishers Submit Annual Review of Global Intellectual Property Protection to USTR
Tuesday, 15 February 2011 | Judith Platt
The Association of American Publishers (AAP), through the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), today submitted its annual Special 301 Report to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). The report details issues related to intellectual property rights protection and market access in a number of foreign countries.
AAP’s report was part of the annual collective filing by the seven trade associations comprising the IIPA, a coalition representing U.S. copyright-based industries working to improve international protection and enforcement of copyrighted materials and open up foreign markets closed by piracy and other market access barriers.
The American publishing industry is waging a multi-faceted campaign to identify and mitigate pirated content. Yet the American publishers continue to suffer significant economic harm in key overseas markets as a result of commercial scale photocopying, illegal print runs, unauthorized translations, CD-R burning of textbooks and increasing online piracy. The AAP report highlights copyright protection and enforcement problems in 40 countries/territories and recommends that 33 of them be placed on an appropriate USTR “watch list.”
Canada’s copyright reform legislation, Bill C-32, raises serious concerns for the publishing sector as it introduces a host of new exceptions to protection, many of which exceed international standards. Some are especially harmful to the publishing sector, threatening to erode distinct markets of the educational community and to negatively impact the well-established collective licensing mechanisms for administering permissions to copy works for educational use.
China is again a significant focus for AAP’s anti-piracy efforts, with particular emphasis on online infringements affecting professional and scholarly publishers and continuing textbook piracy around university campuses. AAP remains concerned by the massive sharing of electronic copies of academic, scientific and technical journals by certain institutions with commercial entities in violation of their site licenses. While publishers are hopeful that discussions with the relevant Chinese agencies will result in meaningful action on this issue, the lack of action against entities such as KJ Med increases concerns that copycat sites will flourish.
India’s inconsistent enforcement efforts and endemic delays in the judicial system also remain major concerns to publishers. In addition, the Indian government’s current copyright reform proposal includes an amendment that would repeal the current protection against parallel imports which would greatly damage local and American publishers’ market potentials.
Tom Allen, President and CEO, AAP, noted that through the Special 301 process, the copyright-related industries provide input into the federal government’s annual review of intellectual property protection in several key global markets.
“The copyright-dependent industries remain a critical component to continued U.S. economic growth and job creation,” he said. “As publishers seek to grow new markets, the strength and effectiveness of intellectual property rights protection and enforcement regimes as well as the promotion of fair access are keys to ensuring that the publishing industry can establish a legitimate foothold there.”
Allen noted that while publishers are actively engaged in numerous anti-piracy strategies, there is an escalating threat to the book and journal industry, particularly as access to online and mobile technologies increases. Persistent problems such as unauthorized large scale photocopying and now online book piracy impede the continued growth of U.S. companies that are investing in the production of high value content.
“While publishers are making significant strides in this battle, the weaknesses in intellectual property protection, as this report details, must be addressed so that copyright-related industries will continue to invest in content creation and in innovative delivery of such content to consumers worldwide,” Allen added.
The full report is available at www.iipa.com.
The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP’s more than 300 members include most of the major commercial publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses and scholarly societies. AAP members publish hardcover and paperback books in every field, educational materials for the elementary, secondary, postsecondary, and professional markets, scholarly journals, computer software, and electronic products and services. The protection of intellectual property rights in all media, the defense of the freedom to read and the freedom to publish at home and abroad, and the promotion of reading and literacy are among the Association’s highest priorities.
IIPA’s seven member associations are: the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). IIPA’s seven member associations represent over 1,900 U.S. companies producing and distributing materials protected by copyright laws throughout the world—all types of computer software, including business applications software and entertainment software (such as videogame discs and cartridges, personal computer CD-ROMs, and multimedia products); theatrical films, television programs, DVDs and home video and digital representations of audiovisual works; music, records, CDs, and audiocassettes; and textbooks, trade books, reference and professional publications and journals (in both electronic and print media).