Special 301    

Congress created “Special 301" when it passed the Omnibus Trade and Competitive Act of 1988, which amended the Trade Act of 1974. Special 301 requires the U.S. Trade Representative to identify those countries that deny adequate and effective protection for intellectual property rights or deny fair and equitable market access for persons that rely on intellectual property protection. Countries which have the most onerous or egregious acts, policies or practices and which have the greatest adverse impact on relevant U.S. products are designated “Priority Foreign Countries,” and at the end of an ensuing investigation, risk having trade sanctions levied against them. Countries can also be placed on other lists which do not result in immediate trade sanctions, such as “Priority Watch List” and “Watch List.” 

U. S. Trade Tools   

The United States has several trade tools which support strong copyright protection and enforcement abroad.  Among these are the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA, also known as the Caribbean Basin Initiative or CBI), the Andean Trade Preferences Act (ATPA),  the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA).  Special 301 is another important trade tool for IPR matters.

Free Trade Agreements  

IIPA works with U.S. and foreign governments in regional and bilateral discussions which lead to the formation of free trade agreements that include protection of intellectual property, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as well as FTAs with Singapore, Australia, Chile, Central American-Dominican Republic (CAFTA-DR), and Peru. Negotiations have been concluded with Colombia, South Korea and Panama, and are pending approval by the U.S. Congress.

WTO TRIPS Implementation  

IIPA is involved in the implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) around the world. TRIPS contains standards of substantive copyright protection and enforcement measures (both on-the-books and in-practice) that must be afforded by WTO members.

WIPO Internet Treaties   

The WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) update international copyright standards for the Internet era and entered into effect in 2002.  Prompt ratification and effective implementation of the treaties are critical to securing the full benefits of electronic commerce.

Copyright Industries in the U.S. Economy   

IIPA first measured the economic impact of the U.S. copyright industries on the U.S. economy in a report issued in 1990. Since then, IIPA has commissioned economic studies identifying these industries’ contributions to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, employment and foreign sales and exports. Our most recent study is Copyright Industries in the U.S. Economy: The 2013 Report, prepared for IIPA by Stephen E. Siwek of Economists Incorporated (released November 2013).


Several of IIPA member associations provide data on industry sectors' estimated losses due to piracy of U.S. copyrighted materials and the estimated piracy levels in a foreign country as part of the annual Special 301 process. 

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