USTR Accepting Comments and Notices of Intent to Testify for the 2010 Special 301 Report
February 11, 2010
USTR is currently accepting comments for its annual Special 301 Report, in which it is required by Congress to identify countries that "deny adequate and effective proptection of intellectual property." In the past, the comments recieved by USTR have come mostly from large IP-owning companies and their trade associations, and the reports have reflected the lopsided input received. KEI has put together an excellent webpage containing all of the previous Special 301 Reports and many of the comments USTR has recieved in the past.
This year, USTR is trying to open up the process somewhat. As always, any "interested person" can submit comments, which will be part of the public record. For the first time in 2010, there will also be open hearings on the Special 301 Report, which will take place the week of March 3 during which any interested party can testify. The deadline for both written comments and notices of intent to testify is 5pm on February 16 (see instructions).
It would be excellent if this year's comments have a greater variety of opinions on IP than in the past. Public Knowledge has asked people concerned about US efforts to strengten IP enforcement, especially through ACTA, to submit comments to 301 stressing the importance of balanced copyright. Cory Doctorow has asked people to use this forum to ask USTR to make ACTA public. The clock is ticking, so now is a good time for consumers of IP to weigh in.
Teaser image of Ron Kirk from ustr.gov.