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Commerce Seeks Input On 'Net Copyright Protection

By: John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable

The Department of Commerce wants input on how it can reconcile online openness and flexibility with the need to protected copyrighted works openly distributed online.

In a notice of inquiry issued Tuesday, Commerce's Internet Policy Task Force asked for comment on how to: "1) Generate benefits for rights holders of creative works accessible online and make recommendations with respect to those who infringe on those rights; 2) Enable the robust and free flow of information to facilitate innovation and growth of the Internet economy; and 3) Ensure transparency and due process in cooperative efforts to build confidence in the Internet as a means of distributing copyrighted works."

The answers to those questions will be important, since Commerce says it will use them in a report to the administration that will factor into both its domestic and international policy on online copyright protection. The Justice Department has been ramping up its efforts at policing intellectual property theft thanks in large part to directives in the Pro-IP Act, which among other things created a White House post of IP enforcement coordinator, currently held by Victoria Espinel.

Her office released a joint strategic plan last June for combatting IP theft that included general pledges of better coordination of domestic and international efforts, more sharing of data, getting a handle on the impact of theft on IP-intensive industries.

Commerce's IP Task Force was launched last April and includes representatives of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (an arm of Commerce), the International Trade Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Patent and Trademark Office.


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