US government attacks Ukraine piracy response

01-05-2013

The Ukrainian government’s response to online piracy and other IP infringement deteriorated severely in 2012, according to the US government.

In the annual Special 301 Report, which assesses US trading partners’ efforts to protect and enforce IP, Ukraine has been listed as a “priority foreign country” – which shows serious concerns.

The report, published by the US Trade Representative, said collecting societies are administered unfairly and unclearly, that there has been widespread government use of illegal software and that anti-piracy measures are ineffective.

This third problem is particularly bad online, the report said, with there being a “lack of transparent and predictable provisions on intermediary liability and liability for third parties that facilitate piracy, limitations on such liability for Internet service providers and enforcement of takedown notices for infringing online content”.

The priority position is reserved for countries in which, according to the US, there have been the most egregious forms of IP infringement. This is the first time in seven years that a country has been listed in the priority category.

“In general, the 2013 Special 301 review found Ukraine distinct from other trading partners both in its persistent failure to meet its commitments to improve IPR protection ... and in the degree of deterioration in IPR protection, enforcement, and market access for persons relying on IPR in Ukraine,” the report said.

The US may decide to investigate the Ukraine under the section 301 of the Trade Act 1974, the report said, which may lead to the US formally asking the Ukrainian government to address the concerns.

Elsewhere, and in more positive developments, the US highlighted a number of countries including the Bahamas and China as introducing important pro-IP measures. There have been enhanced efforts to collect royalty payments in the Bahamas, for example, and in China there are now stronger measures for finding intermediaries liable for online infringement.

Brunei Darussalam and Norway have been taken off the report, while Canada has been demoted from the priority watchlist to the watchlist.

This article was first published on 02 May 2013 in World IP Review

special 301 report, ustr, ukraine, piracy

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