U.S. Trade Policy and IP

Last week the U.S. and South Korea agreed on a major free trade agreement.  The deal hasn't attracted much attention (though Canadian coverage has commented that a Canada – South Korea deal may now be on the way), but the extensive intellectual property provisions are worth noting, since they illustrate yet again the prominence of IP within U.S. trade policy.  Much like agreements with Australia, Singapore, and the Central American countries, this deal:

  • requires a system to resolve disputes about trademarks used in Internet domain names
  • extends the term of copyright to life plus 70 years
  • mandates strong anti-circumvention provisions
  • mandates DMCA-style ISP liability provisions
  • establishes tougher IP criminal provisions
  • decreases Korean content requirements
  • allows full U.S. ownership of Korean broadcast providers
  • allows full U.S. ownership of Korean telecommunications operators

Since Canada already has a U.S. free trade agreement, regular readers of this blog know that pressure on Canada comes in other forms – speeches from the U.S. ambassador, letters from U.S. Senators, and (soon) the USTR Section 301 report.


  1. Dwight Williams says:

    South Korea’s Been…
    …well, the verb I’d like to use to describe what they’ve agreed to endure isn’t at all polite, I fear. My fear, for their sake, is that they’ve effectively given away their store.

  2. Schmoe
    ATTENTION: Citizens of the Free World. This is an alert code “Washington”. Please spread the message far and wide. Thousands of Chinese and Indian lobbyists will be descending upon Washington DC and State Capitols nationwide Monday to ensure the growth of unregulated trade with China and India. It is important to distract these lobbyists and use whatever means necessary to prevent them from reaching their target legislators. Try a long-winded conversation about how sick your cat or dog is, and if that fails, try wine and sexual favors. Drain their bank accounts and libidos. These lobbyists must be distracted and disrupted, whatever the cost, until further notice. This is a trade war. Alert: code “Washington”. Please spread the word.