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Annual Report on Intellectual Property Enforcement

On Friday, March 31, 2012, the White House issued its Annual Report on Intellectual Property Enforcement.  The 130-page document outlines the Administration’s achievements in and strategies for protecting intellectual property in 2011.  Released annually and bearing the seal of the Obama administration's Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, the report notes the steps taken to implement the Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement. (See earlier blog for background information.)

The United States has taken "great strides towards implementing the Strategy," IP czar Victoria Espinel wrote in a letter prefacing the report. Putting the IP enforcement plan has taken the coordinated efforts of numerous agencies and offices, she said, to execute 43 action items under six principles.

The plan's goal has been to "improve intellectual property enforcement, thereby protecting innovation, strengthening the economy, supporting American jobs, and promoting exports in intellectual property-related sectors by increasing intellectual property enforcement," she said.

In addressing the White House’s approach to foreign websites, Espinel, wrote:

“The response recognizes that online piracy is a serious problem, but also makes it clear that the Administration will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk (including authority to tamper with the DNS system), or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.

The Administration is interested in working with Congress to ensure that these issues are addressed in a manner that takes into account the challenges and opportunities of the Internet and that is consistent with the Administration’s goals and public policy principles.”

According to The Hill, proponents of both digital and IP rights are pleased with this balanced approach. John Bergmayer, an attorney at Public Knowledge, said that the report showed "a commitment to transparency in policymaking for intellectual property.

While the report encourages more inter-agency cooperation and public-private partnerships, it reiterates the Administration’s position that it does not favor legislation that would sacrifice freedom of expression, undermine cybersecurity, and hinder the further development of an Internet driven by access and innovation in the name of IP enforcement, all of which is good news for higher education.

EDUCAUSE will continue to monitor and report on this issue.