Tag Archives: Special 301 Report

US Removes Switzerland From ‘Pirate WatchList’

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/us-removes-switzerland-from-pirate-watchlist-200550/

Every year the US Trade Representative publishes a new update of its Special 301 Report, highlighting countries that fail to live up to U.S copyright protection standards.

The annual overview is meant to urge foreign governments to improve policy and legislation in favor of US copyright holders.

This process has been an effective diplomatic tool and helped to kickstart copyright reforms around the globe. This was also the goal when the US added Switzerland to the Special 301 Watch List in 2016.

At the time, the US explained that it had decided to add Switzerland because of its lacking copyright protection and enforcement measures. Particularly problematic was the so-called Logistep decision, where the Supreme Court banned copyright holders from harvesting the IP addresses of file-sharers due to privacy concerns.

The Swiss Government was not deaf to these complaints. Over the past years, it worked hard on an updated version of its copyright law which went into effect this April. As requested, this also addresses the piracy tracking ban.

Under Switzerland’s revised copyright law, copyright holders are now allowed to process personal data, including IP-addresses, to prosecute alleged copyright infringers.

In addition, the new legislation also requires Internet services to remove infringing content from their platforms and prevent that same content from reappearing. Failure to comply will result in prosecution. This ‘stay down’ requirement aims to make it harder for rogue websites to host their services in Switzerland.

Earlier this year the Swiss Government sent an update on its progress to the USTR, urging the US to take the country off its piracy Watch List. While copyright holders argued that this would come too soon, the USTR honored the request, as became apparent a few days ago.

“Switzerland is removed from the Watch List due to long-awaited amendments to the Swiss Copyright Act,” the USTR writes in its latest 301 Report. “The amendments address specific difficulties in its system of online copyright protection and enforcement.”

The USTR notes that this is an important step forward. At the same time, however, it cautions Switzerland that the US will continue to monitor the European country for other potential copyright hurdles.

“This is an important step after many years of engagement, and the United States will carefully monitor the implementation, interpretation, and effectiveness of the newly enacted legislation,” the USTR writes, mentioning that some concerns remain.

Indeed, while the USTR ‘rewarded’ Switzerland for its progress, several copyright holder groups believe its removal from the list has come too soon. They asked for ISP blocking of pirate sites but the Swiss Government rejected the proposal after it failed to get enough support in Parliament.

In addition, downloading and streaming copyright-infringing movies and music for personal use will also remain unpunished in Switzerland. Copyright holders hoped that this would change, but it was not addressed in the amended copyright law.

The USTR says that it will keep an eye on these issues but for now Switzerland has been removed from the Watch List. The same is also true for Greece, Costa Rica and Jamaica, which all made considerable progress according to the US.

The same can’t be said for a host of other countries, including Canada. While the US and Canada signed a new trade agreement, the USTR remains “deeply troubled” about the policy of its northern neighbor, especially the education exception in its copyright law

A copy of the USTR’s full 2020 Special 301 Report is available here (pdf)

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, torrent sites and more. We also help you to find the best anonymous VPN.

Switzerland Urges U.S. to Remove it From its ‘Pirate Watchlist’

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/switzerland-urges-us-to-remove-pirate-watchlist-200228/

In a few weeks, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) will publish its annual Special 301 Report, highlighting countries that fail to live up to U.S copyright protection standards.

In recent years Switzerland was among countries that were placed on the ‘Watch List.’ In 2019, for example, the US reported that the Swiss had made some progress, but not enough. Its copyright protection and enforcement policies were not up to par.

These comments are far from new. Based on input from copyright holders, the USTR has repeatedly called out Switzerland’s policies. However, the European country believes that this should change now that its new copyright law will come into force on April 1, 2020.

In a letter to the USTR, the Swiss Government sums up the progress made, while countering ongoing criticism from copyright holder groups such as the Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA).

Switzerland’s revised Copyright Act addresses the main concerns that the United States and its industry stakeholders have raised. This includes a ‘stay down’ requirement for hosting services to ensure that infringing content isn’t reuploaded.

“If pirate sites are hosted in Switzerland, the revised legislation targets them by creating a ‘stay-down’ obligation. Such hosting providers will have to ensure that infringing content, once removed, remains off their servers,” the Swiss letter notes.

The revised legislation also includes a provision that addresses the Logistep ruling, which prevents companies from harvesting the IP addresses of file-sharers. This will soon be an option, as long as civil claims are tied to a criminal proceeding, which appears to exclude standard copyright-trolling efforts.

“This provision also extends to civil claims insofar as the path to civil proceedings is open following a criminal complaint or by joining the civil claims to the criminal proceeding,” the Swiss note.

With these changes, Switzerland does indeed cover some of the concerns previously raised by rightsholders. However, the country has also drawn a clear line on several other issues. This includes the option of pirate site blocking, which was high on the list.

The Swiss Government also remains committed to the “private use” exception for downloading. This means that regular citizens who download copyrighted content from illegal sources will not be criminalized. Uploading the same content remains illegal, as it has always been.

Rightsholders had hoped the country would do more and will likely be disappointed. Earlier this month, the IIPA pointed out that the country is a haven for Internet piracy services. The Swiss, however, stress that the ‘stay down’ requirements will likely change that. In addition, rightsholders also have other means at their disposal.

The letter references the IIPA’s own comments, which show that even without the new law, rightsholders were able to target infringing services by going directly to RIPE.

“[T]he IIPA in its submission points out that the Réseaux IP Européens (RIPE), which controls the allocation of IP addresses in Europe, has been successful in removing Switzerland-based Internet Service Providers (ISPs) involved in internet piracy.

“It thereby illustrates that there are already effective measures in place for right holders to successfully act against internet piracy services based in Switzerland,” the letter adds.

The Swiss Government firmly believes that the revised Copyright Act should put an end to the continued criticism. As such, another mention on the Watch List will unjustified and inappropriate.

Whether the USTR agrees with this conclusion will become apparent in the upcoming Special 301 Report, which is set to be released later this year.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Olympic Committee & Top Soccer Groups Urge US Govt. Action Over Pirate IPTV

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/olympic-committee-top-soccer-groups-urge-us-govt-action-over-pirate-iptv-200210/

Each year the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) publishes its Special 301 Report that highlights countries that are considered to be failing when it comes to the protection of intellectual property rights.

As part of the preparations for publication, the USTR asks for input from copyright holders, content distributors and other interested parties, which are then taken into consideration when deciding which countries appear in the final report. One of the hot topics in 2020 has its center in the Middle East, specifically Saudi Arabia.

In 2017, a new broadcaster called beoutQ began transmitting from the country, mainly utilizing satellite communications. However, instead of licensing or producing its own content, beoutQ rebranded and rebroadcast content owned by Qatar-based broadcaster beIN Sport. After much outcry and complaints from content owners globally, the USTR labeled beoutQ a “notorious market” in its 2019 Special 301 Report.

In August 2019, beoutQ suddenly stopped broadcasting via satellite but that was not the end of the matter. With millions of beoutQ devices installed in homes, the IPTV-enabled devices are now being primarily repurposed as streaming boxes, delivering the same content as they did before but utilizing the Internet. According to some of the world’s leading sports leagues and bodies, this presents a clear threat to the industries they represent.

In submissions to the USTR filed over the past few days, the International Olympic Committee, global soccer governing body FIFA, Englands’ Premier League and Spain’s La Liga, urge the USTR to keep Saudi Arabia on the Priority Watch List for 2020 on the basis that it denies “adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights.”

The submissions begin with an outline of what each organization does and how beoutQ has affected their businesses. There is a level of déjà vu when reading the submissions by the Premier League and La Liga in that their collaboration is obvious, with entire sections cut and paste across the submissions. In that respect, they agree in exactly the same words that while the satellite broadcasting element isn’t an immediate threat, the IPTV capabilities are.

“Although beoutQ ceased broadcasting in mid-August 2019 (though rumors continue to circulate about its possible return), piracy continues to run rampant in Saudi Arabia. IPTV apps providing access to vast swaths of pirated content continue to be available on the up to three million beoutQ set-top boxes reportedly in circulation in Saudi Arabia and the region, among other IPTV boxes in the Saudi market,” both submissions read.

“For example, an independent report commissioned by the Premier League and several other sports rights holders and published in April 2019 revealed that one such IPTV app EVDTV, is itself based in Saudi Arabia. According to that report, contact details for the pirate service are publicly available on the app’s website, universeiptvs.com, which provides, inter alia, a phone number and location in Saudi Arabia.

“Despite repeated complaints by beIN and other rights holders, Saudi Arabia has never brought criminal action against beoutQ, or its Saudi facilitators and supporters,” the pair add in unison.

The FIFA submission is essentially an edited variant of the submissions presented by the Premier League and La Liga, with various paragraphs copied verbatim and others that are more specific to its role as a governing body. However, they all agree that after spending 15 months attempting to initiate a copyright infringement case in Saudi Arabia against beoutQ and its Saudi-based facilitators, it proved impossible to obtain legal counsel in the country.

With no legal remedy available, the USTR should punish Saudi Arabia, the soccer groups insist.

For its part, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) says its policy is to ensure that the Olympics reaches the widest possible audience, by allocating broadcasting rights to television, radio, mobile and Internet platforms. It says that the majority of the revenue generated by these rights is pumped back into sports and supporting athletes, including those in the United States.

The big issue in the Middle East and North Africa is that the IOC has licensed beIN, the official broadcasting partner that has been heavily targeted by beoutQ with its pirated broadcasts, which included the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. With the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games coming up, the IOC is concerned that its broadcasting partnerships could be undermined once again.

“In view of this longstanding situation, the IOC respectfully requests that USTR maintain Saudi Arabia’s position on the Priority Watch List and engage with Saudi Arabia to encourage the Kingdom to protect and enforce the intellectual property rights of rights holders and to consider taking further appropriate steps in order to address the ongoing harm caused to rights-holders and broadcasters from this pirate activity,” the IOC concludes.

The submissions from IOC, FIFA, Premier League and La Liga can be found here (1,2,3,4 pdf)

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

Despite US Criticism, Ukraine Cybercrime Chief Receives Few Piracy Complaints

Post Syndicated from Andy original https://torrentfreak.com/despite-us-criticism-ukraine-cybercrime-chief-receives-few-piracy-complaints-180522/

On a large number of occasions over the past decade, Ukraine has played host to some of the world’s largest pirate sites.

At various points over the years, The Pirate Bay, KickassTorrents, ExtraTorrent, Demonoid and raft of streaming portals could be found housed in the country’s data centers, reportedly taking advantage of laws more favorable than those in the US and EU.

As a result, Ukraine has been regularly criticized for not doing enough to combat piracy but when placed under pressure, it does take action. In 2010, for example, the local government expressed concerns about the hosting of KickassTorrents in the country and in August the same year, the site was kicked out by its host.

“Kickasstorrents.com main web server was shut down by the hosting provider after it was contacted by local authorities. One way or another I’m afraid we must say goodbye to Ukraine and move the servers to other countries,” the site’s founder told TF at the time.

In the years since, Ukraine has launched sporadic action against pirate sites and has taken steps to tighten up copyright law. The Law on State Support of Cinematography came into force during April 2017 and gave copyright owners new tools to combat infringement by forcing (in theory, at least) site operators and web hosts to respond to takedown requests.

But according to the United States and Europe, not enough is being done. After the EU Commission warned that Ukraine risked damaging relations with the EU, last September US companies followed up with another scathing attack.

In a recommendation to the U.S. Government, the IIPA, which counts the MPAA, RIAA, and ESA among its members, asked U.S. authorities to suspend or withdraw Ukraine’s trade benefits until the online piracy situation improves.

“Legislation is needed to institute proper notice and takedown provisions, including a requirement that service providers terminate access to individuals (or entities) that have repeatedly engaged in infringement, and the retention of information for law enforcement, as well as to provide clear third party liability regarding ISPs,” the IIPA wrote.

But amid all the criticism, Ukraine cyber police chief Sergey Demedyuk says that while his department is committed to tackling piracy, it can only do so when complaints are filed with him.

“Yes, we are engaged in piracy very closely. The problem is that piracy is a crime of private accusation. So here we deal with them only in cases where we are contacted,” Demedyuk said in an Interfax interview published yesterday.

Surprisingly, given the number of dissenting voices, it appears that complaints about these matters aren’t exactly prevalent. So are there many at all?

“Unfortunately, no. In the media, many companies claim that their rights are being violated by pirates. But if you count the applications that come to us, they are one,” Demedyuk reveals.

“In general, we are handling Ukrainian media companies, who produce their own product and are worried about its fate. Also on foreign films, the ‘Anti-Piracy Agency’ refers to us, but not as intensively as before.”

Why complaints are going down, Demedyuk does not know, but when his unit is asked to take action it does so, he claims. Indeed, Demedyuk cites two particularly significant historical operations against a pair of large ‘pirate’ sites.

In 2012, Ukraine shut down EX.ua, a massive cyberlocker site following a six-month investigation initiated by international tech companies including Microsoft, Graphisoft and Adobe. Around 200 servers were seized, together hosting around 6,000 terabytes of data.

Then in November 2016, following a complaint from the MPAA, police raided FS.to, one of Ukraine’s most popular pirate sites. Initial reports indicated that 60 servers were seized and 19 people were arrested.

“To see the effect of combating piracy, this should not be done at the level of cyberpolicy, but at the state level,” Demedyuk advises.

“This requires constant close interaction between law enforcement agencies and rights holders. Only by using all these tools will we be able to effectively counteract copyright infringements.”

Meanwhile, the Office of the United States Trade Representative has maintained Ukraine’s position on the Priority Watchlist of its latest Special 301 Report and there a no signs it will be leaving anytime soon.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

2018 Специален доклад 301

Post Syndicated from nellyo original https://nellyo.wordpress.com/2018/05/02/2018-301/

В изпълнение на Търговския закон от 1974 г. американското правителство публикува доклад  – т.нар. Доклад 301 – за наличието на адекватна и ефективна защита на правата  на интелектуалната собственост по света – в държавите-търговски партньори на САЩ.

Сега  е оповестен Доклад 301 за 2018 година (2018 Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Rights).

За миналата година 11 държави са в  т.нар. Priority Watch List, между тях Китай, Индия, Русия, Украйна,   и 23 – в  Watch List, между тях България. Тази година България е извадена от Watch List – с обяснението на стр. 28, че България през март 2018 г. е приела изменения на закона за авторското право,  участвала е в операция  ЕВРОПОЛ  срещу голяма пиратска мрежа в региона,  отделила е  допълнителни ресурси на звеното за разследване на онлайн пиратството, а Главна прокуратура се е ангажирала да предприеме допълнителни стъпки за подобряване на прилагането. Според доклада проблемите, свързани с прилагането на законодателството, продължават да се отнасят до високите нива на онлайн пиратството, недостатъчното съдебно преследване, недостатъчно възспиращото действие на наказателните санкции.

Министерството на външните работи е отбелязало новия доклад 301 с отделно съобщение, в което се казва, че “в резултат на дългогодишните усилия на посолството на Република България във Вашингтон и българските институции  страната ни вече е изключена от т.нар. „черен списък“ за защита на интелектуалната собственост на САЩ.”

Няма съмнение, че напускането на Watch List  е изисквало усилия. Все пак съобщението е можело да бъде по-прецизно по отношение на т.нар. в съобщението черен списък, защото – както се вижда, има черен, има и по-черен. 

Критично отношение към доклада изразява EFF:  “Някои доклади и публикации от американските правителствени агенции имат репутация на задълбочени, актуални и основани на факти[…] Специален доклад  301, чието последно годишно издание е публикуванo миналата седмица, не е такъв.” Според EFF докладът разкрива законите, политиките и практиките, които не осигуряват адекватна и ефективна защита на интелектуалната собственост, но  няма последователна методология за оценка  кое  е  адекватно и ефективно.

Неотдавна ЕК обяви обществена консултация относно евентуално наблюдение на защитата на интелектуалната собственост по света.

Интелектуална собственост: Доклад 301 за 2017 г.

Post Syndicated from nellyo original https://nellyo.wordpress.com/2017/04/29/301-2017/

Отново е пролет – и както всяка пролет  вече десетки години (в изпълнение на Търговския закон от 1974 г.) американското правителство публикува доклад  – т.нар. Доклад 301 – за наличието на адекватна и ефективна защита на правата  на интелектуалната собственост по света – в държавите-търговски партньори на САЩ.

Сега  е оповестен Доклад 301 за 2017 година (2017 Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Rights).

34 държави попадат  в списъците на проблемните – 11 в  т.нар. Priority Watch List, между тях Китай, Индия, Русия, Украйна,   и 23 – в  Watch List, между тях България.

Съдейки по този блог, България си е там и през 2006 година, в навечерието на членството в ЕС. Основанията може и да варират през годините, защото технологиите се развиват – изчезнала е тротоарната търговия със CD, сега са посочени пиратството онлайн и при кабелните телевизии.

 2017 Special 301 Report

Filed under: Digital, Media Law, US Law