Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 11, 2016

Anti-Piracy Caucus’ Watch List: China, India, Russia and … Switzerland


(Swiss flag photo by Flickr user Joeri Cornille, used under a Creative Commons license)

The newly-renamed International Creativity and Theft-Prevention Caucus says Switzerland isn’t moving fast enough to bring the country “back up to international standards for protection of copyright.”

The congressional group — co-chaired by House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Sen.  Orrin Hatch, R-Utah — announced its 2014 Country Watch List: China, Russia, India and Switzerland.

According to the caucus, the list isn’t meant to be a ranking, but an attempt to bring attention to changes within countries whose laws or enforcement they see as inadequate.

Last month, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative released its annual review of international trading partners’ protection of intellectual property rights, and China, Russia and India showed up among 10 countries on the report’s Priority Watch List.

Switzerland wasn’t listed among the 37 countries USTR placed on its Priority Watch List or its Watch List. The congressional group in its document released today says it wants USTR to “closely follow developments in Switzerland to determine if additional steps should be taken, including conducting an Out-of-Cycle Review or adding Switzerland to the 2015 301 Report Watch List.”

Here’s more of what it had to say about Switzerland, which appeared on its last watch list in 2012 because of concerns about a 2010 Swiss court decision:

In 2012, the Caucus added Switzerland to the Watch List based primarily on the deteriorating climate for copyright in the country following the 2010 Logistep decision by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court. The court’s holding in the case rendered it virtually impossible for rights holders to bring actions against large scale peer-to-peer infringers. There have been tentative steps to address the situation, both legislatively and through a test case to force as reconsideration of the Logistep precedent.

The document said that the Swiss government recently announced that the earliest that a proposal would be considered by the legislature is late 2015, and the caucus  “cannot remove Switzerland from the 2014 Watch List based on such a protracted timeline, with the end result far from guaranteed.”

It also pointed to Italy and the Philippines as having made progress.

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