Rami Olwan

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Watchlist Reveals US Hypocrisy on IP laws

A study shows US scorn for other countries’ IP protection law is matched by some relatively lax laws at home.

Compiled by intellectual property academics, the IP Watchlist released today was produced to counter the annual 301 Report released by the United States Government which criticises the deficiencies it sees in the IP laws of other countries, with a strong bias towards producers of content as opposed to consumers.

The IP Watchlist is a list put together from the consumer’s point of view, balancing 60 factors that determine the overall benefits awarded to consumers.

This year’s list found that India and South Korea offer consumers the most benefit, the United Kingdom offering the worst.

Domestically, the report finds that the United States actually offers its domestic consumers greater benefit than it expects other governments to show their citizenry.

“The United States applies double standards,” said the report’s author, Jeremy Malcolm from the London-based consumer advocacy group, Consumers International.

“They have a lot more flexibility in their IP laws for U.S. consumers than for the people in the countries they criticise.”

The United States is “actually in company with China and India, countries it criticises year after year ” when it comes to how freely its consumers can use content, he says.

In the United States, for example, consumers are granted a ‘fair use’ exemption which allows them to use copyright information based on four ‘balancing tests’ – such as whether the use takes away the author’s market or whether the use is commercial or non-commercial in nature.

“The United States is coming down so hard on other countries, but domestically it has a balanced system.”

Full article is available here.

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