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Administration Issues Latest IP Enforcement Action Plan

The Obama Administration is seeking comment on how to gauge
the effectiveness of the joint ISP/studio "SixStrikes" initiative to discourage intellectual property theft, will
develop "best practices" for rights holders involved in those service
providers voluntary initiatives, and will also direct the Department of
Commerce to issue an annual report -- it issued a one-time report last year -- on
the number of jobs created and contributions to GDP from "intellectual
property-intensive industries."

That is according to the just-released "2013
Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement"
from U.S.
Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel. The plans is
the fourth such blueprint, and deals with ways to better coordinate, educate
and enforce, as well as review domestic laws for possible changes.

"[I]nfringement of intellectual property continues to
pose significant risk to our economy and to our ability to compete
globally," she said in the introduction to the report.

Espinel put an exclamation point on education. "[The
Administration believes that when Americans and people around the world are
given real choices between legal and illegal options, the vast majority will
want to choose the legal option."

That is the theory behind the Six Strikes program, in which
AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon and music producers
and studios teamed up earlier this year on a program to notify subs when they
appear to be infringing using peer-to-peer networks.

But the administration is taking a trust and verify
approach. To that end, the Patent and Trademark Office will ask for public
input on how to "to assess the effectiveness of voluntary

Those voluntary initiatives to fight IP theft could extend
beyond ISPs and content providers to include search engines as well as
"encouraging" rights holders -- like TV and film studios -- to adopt
best practices. Among the reports new action items are "facilitate
voluntary initiatives to reduce online intellectual property infringement. IPEC
will reach out to additional sectors (which may include data storage services,
domain name registrars, and search engines) and encourage rights holders to
adopt a set of best practices." As well as beginning the process of assessing
those initiatives, which in addition to Six Strikes includes a May 2012,
Association of National Advertisers and the American Association of Advertising
Agencies pledge "to not support online piracy and counterfeiting with
advertising revenue."

Other action items for 2013 and beyond include:

  • "Conduct a comprehensive review of domestic
    laws to determine needed legislative changes to improve enforcement;
  • "Improve transparency in intellectual property policymaking. IPEC [the
    Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator] will look for
    additional ways to hear concerns and gather input from a wide range of
  • "Improve IPR enforcement efficacy by leveraging advanced technology and
    expertise. IPEC will chair an interagency working group to identify and advance
    new and innovative technologies to improve enforcement capabilities at the
    border. In addition, law enforcement agencies will look for ways to engage
    outside technology experts and Internet engineers to increase expertise on
    online enforcement approaches;
  • "Educate authors on "fair use" copyright doctrine. The U.S. Copyright
    Office will summarize current law and provide general guidance targeted to
    artists seeking to apply the law to their own situations."