[Ip-health] News: NY Times- Countries Want Anti - Counterfeit Trade Deal In September

Terri - Louise Beswick Terri at haiweb.org
Mon Aug 23 03:48:09 PDT 2010

Countries Want Anti - Counterfeit Trade Deal In September


Published: August 20, 2010


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Negotiators from the United States, the European
opean_union/index.html?inline=nyt-org>  and nine other countries said on
Friday they planned to finish work in September on a proposed pact to
crack down on trade in counterfeit and pirated goods. 


The countries also pledged to publicly release the final text of the
Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which has raised concerns among
Internet and digital rights advocates, "before deciding to sign it." 


U.S. movie, music, software and other copyright-based industries
calculate that they lose more than $16 billion in sales each year from
pirated versions of their products sold around the world. Many of these
counterfeit and pirated goods are made in China. 


In a joint statement, the participating countries addressed a number of
worries that have surfaced about the pact, saying it would not require
members of the agreement to take steps that violate "fundamental rights
and liberties." 


Some digital rights advocates feared that provisions aimed at reducing
online piracy of music and films could empower Internet providers to
deny service to repeat offenders. 


The trade agreement "will not hinder the cross-border transit of
legitimate generic medicines," the joint statement also said. 

The agreement "will not oblige border authorities to search travelers'
baggage or their personal electronic devices for infringing materials,"
it added. 


Some were concerned that the agreement might allow customs officials to
seize generic versions of patented drugs and to confiscate laptops and
music listening devices that contain pirated material. 


Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South
Korea and Switzerland also are taking part in the talks. President
Barack Obama
ma/index.html?inline=nyt-per>  has called the talks a key element of the
U.S. strategy for fighting the global trade in fake goods, estimated at
more than $200 billion annually. 


The agreement is expected to mandate that customs officials in all the
participating countries have authority to seize counterfeit goods
without a request from the right holders or a court order. 


U.S. officials have said they do not expect the agreement to require
changes to U.S. law so it would not have to be approved by Congress.
However, that has only heightened concerns about what the pact would


One tough remaining issue is the 27-nation EU's demand that the pact
cover "geographical indicators," which are names for food and alcoholic
products drawn from a particular location, such Champagne or Cognac,
both in France. 


But U.S. business groups worry that would mean U.S. products as
commonplace as Kraft Parmesan cheese could potentially be treated as
illegal items under the pact and subject to seizure by customs


The United States believes that issue is resolvable by the time
negotiators hold their next round in Japan in late September, said 

Nefeterius McPherson, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative's


Participants in the negotiations agreed that Japan would host the next
negotiating round in September and that they are committed to resolving
the remaining substantive issues at that time, officials said. 


Negotiators made progress this week in all areas of the pact including
general obligations, civil enforcement, border measures, criminal
enforcement and enforcement measures in the digital environment, the
group statement said. 


(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Will Dunham) 



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