By Sharona Hakimi
WTO Finds China’s Media Laws Violate International Trade Laws
On August 12, Ars Technica and the New York Times reported that the World Trade Organization ruled against China in a complaint by the United States regarding China’s limitation on imports of songs, movies, and books. The Chinese laws constituting trade violations require that many forms of imported media must be distributed by a single, state-owned company. The laws also limit foreign ownership of Chinese media companies and allow domestic companies to bypass trade censors. Ron Kirk, the US trade representative at the WTO conference in Geneva, said that the “decision promises to level the playing field for American companies working to distribute high-quality entertainment products in China so that legitimate American products can get to market and beat out the pirates.”
Hollywood Group Secures Preliminary Injunction against DVD Copying Software
On August 11, U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Patel issued a preliminary injunction against RealNetworks, barring the company from selling its RealDVD copying software until a jury can decide the issue, CNET News reports. She stated that RealNetworks cannot use fair use as a defense under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act or the company’s license with the DVD Copy Control Association, but noted that “[i]t may well be fair use for an individual consumer to store a backup copy of a personally owned DVD on that individual’s computer.” While the decision is seen as a major victory for the Motion Picture Association of America, the Electronic Frontier Foundations views it as a setback for innovators and consumers.
David Kappos Sworn in as New Director of USPTO
Patently-O reports that on August 13, David Kappos was sworn as Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Kappos addressed USPTO employees at the ceremony, pledging to work on “reducing the backlog of unexamined patent applications, cutting pendency dramatically, working off the mounting appeals backlog, [and] improving re-exam processing.” He also projected his goals to secure more stable financial backing or the USPTO, hoping there will be no need to utilize the Office’s new authority to use trademark funds to pay for patent operations. A video of Kappos’s swearing in ceremony is available on the blog Anticipate This!