Category: South Korea

Enforcing Online Copyright Protections Abroad: Part II – South and East Asia

One of the most popular posts in The IP Exporter’s history was a posting last year entitled Enforcing Online Copyright Protections Abroad: Understanding Foreign Takedown Notice Requirements, which detailed how copyright owners and certain licensees of works (collectively “Rights Holders”) can directly enforce their rights in their works against foreign hosted websites in some of the world’s major markets (U.S., Australia, China, Japan, South Africa, and the United Kingdom).

Since I published that post, I have received numerous requests to provide information on procedures Rights Holders can take to directly enforce their rights online in several other foreign markets. To meet this demand, I have decided to ambitiously attempt to provide a multi-volume posting on the availability of notice and takedown procures in all countries throughout the world, starting with this post on notice and takedown procedures in South and East Asia.

However, before I delve into each country’s online copyright enforcement procedures, Rights Holders need to first evaluate a few issues before utilizing online copyright enforcement measures abroad.

1. Is the Work Entitled to Foreign Protection? A Rights Holder should not consider utilizing online takedown procedures in a foreign country without first establishing that their work qualifies for copyright protection in that foreign country. Often, this depends on whether their work qualifies for protection under: (1) the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Berne Convention) or other bilateral or multilateral treaties; and (2) the national copyright laws of the foreign country in question.

Berne Convention/Treaties. To qualify for protection under the Berne Convention, a Rights Holder’s work must become what is known as “attached.” Attachment requires that either:

  • the author of the work be a national of a Berne Convention member state (A list of Berne Convention member states is available here);
  • the author is a habitual resident of a Berne Convention member state;
  • the work is first published (made available to the public) in a Berne Convention member state; or
  • the work is published in a Berne Convention member state within thirty (30) days after an initial publishing in a non-Berne Convention member state.

If a work does not qualify for protection under the Berne Convention, it may qualify for copyright protection in a foreign country under a bilateral or multilateral treaty between the author’s home country and the foreign country in question. If the non-Berne Convention country is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and has ratified the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the work may qualify for Berne Convention-like protection in other WTO member states.

Additionally, a work may qualify for protection in a foreign country based on a bilateral or multilateral agreement. A database of IP-related treaties can be found here.

National Copyright Protection Requirements. If a work qualifies for protection under the Berne Convention, TRIPS, or another bilateral or multilateral treaty, it must then qualify for protection under the copyright laws of whatever foreign country the Rights Holder wishes to enforce their rights. Many countries have similar copyright protection requirements, yet they do differ. For example a copyright protected work in the U.S. is an “original work of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression.” 17 U.S.C. § 102(a). Conversely, a copyright protected work in Japan is “a production in which thoughts or sentiments are expressed in a creative way and which falls within the literary, scientific, artistic or musical domain.” Copyright Act. No. 48, Art. 2. Although these requirements end up covering much of the same types of works, there may be divergences depending on the type of work in question. A Rights Holder should consider consulting with qualified attorney in the country they wish to enforce their rights if they are unsure whether their work qualifies for local copyright protection.

2. Where is the Website’s ISP Subject to Jurisdiction? In order to effectively submit a takedown notice against an infringing website, the infringing website’s Internet service provider (ISP) must be subject to a country that has notice and takedown laws. This requires evaluating whether a notice and takedown country has personal jurisdiction over the ISP in question. Generally, a website’s ISP is only subject to the laws of a country where it is physically located or countries where it is engaged in enough commercial activity to establish personal jurisdiction. Determining an infringing website’s ISP’s location may be completed through conducting a WHOIS database search. However, such a search is a not guarantee that a website ISP’s will be accurately located.

Further, determining whether a website’s ISP is subject to a foreign country’s jurisdiction is a complex legal evaluation that differs from country to country based on each country’s own personal jurisdiction requirements. Again, a Rights Holder should consider consulting with qualified counsel in the country where they wish to submit a takedown notice to determine whether the ISP in question is subject to that country’s jurisdiction.

3. What is the Country’s National Online Copyright Enforcement System? If a work qualifies for copyright protection in a foreign country where an infringing website’s ISP is subject to personal jurisdiction, a Rights Holder then needs to establish whether that country has a notice and takedown system, and if available, such country’s specific takedown procedures.

Below is a brief overview of each South and East Asian country’s copyright enforcement system. However, there are few things to first consider:

Enforcement System Legend: Countries that maintain legal protocols for Rights Holders to directly petition ISPs to remove infringing content are identified below as a “Notice and Takedown Systems.” Countries that do not have means for Rights Holders to directly enforce their copyright protections through ISP notification systems, and are instead forced to seek copyright enforcement action through the Courts are referred to as “Judicial Systems.”

Notice Limitations: Unfortunately, even if a country maintains a Notice and Takedown System, an ISP may still refuse to disable a website or website content upon receipt of a takedown notice from a Right Holder. In such instances, a Rights Holder may be forced to seek enforcement through that foreign country’s judicial system in order to remove such content.

Time Sensitivity: As many of the listed countries in this posting are either evaluating or in the process of implementing copyright reforms, either on a national level or through bilateral or multilateral trade agreements, there is the possibility that the following information may soon change.

Here are each country’s online copyright enforcement system:

Afghanistan

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: No

Overview and Notes: Afghanistan is not a Berne Convention or TRIPS member state, meaning that foreign works may not qualify for copyright protection under Afghan Law. However, works from the U.S. may be entitled to certain legal protections in Afghanistan under the Joint Statement of Commercial Cooperation between U.S. and Afghan governments as both governments agreed to “establish a forum for the exchange of information on commercial matters . . . including intellectual property rights protection and enforcement.” However, the Joint Statement provides no specific details on what rights U.S. Rights Holders are entitled to under Afghan law.

Governing Legislation: Law Supporting the Rights of Authors, Composers, Artists and Researchers (Copyright Law)

Notice Requirements: N/A

Bangladesh

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Bangladesh does not currently provide any legal incentives or procedures for ISPs to remove hosted infringing content upon notice from Rights Holders.

Governing Legislation: Copyright Act, 2000 (Act No. 28 of 2000 – Amended 2005)

Notice Requirements: N/A

Bhutan

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Bhutan does not currently provide any legal incentives or procedures for ISPs to remove hosted infringing content upon notice from Rights Holders.

Governing Legislation: Copyright Act and Industrial Property Act of 2001

Notice Requirements: N/A

Brunei Darussalam

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Brunei does not currently provide any legal incentives or procedures for ISPs to remove hosted infringing content upon notice from Rights Holders. Particularly, Article 10 of the Electronic Transactions Order (2000) eliminates an ISP’s liability for hosting infringing third party content. However, Brunei may adopt a Notice and Takedown System in the future if the U.S.’ Proposed IPR Chapter of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is adopted.

Governing Legislation: Emergency Copyright Ordinance (2000)

Notice Requirements: N/A

Cambodia

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes*

Overview and Notes: Cambodia is not a Berne Convention member state but is a TRIPS signatory, which requires upholding much of the Berne Convention’s protections. However, Cambodia does not currently provide any legal incentives or procedures for ISPs to remove hosted infringing content upon notice from Rights Holders.

Governing Legislation: Law on Copyright and Related Rights

Notice Requirements: N/A

China (PRC)

Enforcement System: Notice and Takedown System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Although China maintains and a Notice and Takedown System, there has been reports that many of China’s major ISPs fail to takedown hosted content upon receipt of legitimate takedown notices. For example, the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) has criticized Baidu for its 42% takedown rate.

Governing Legislation: Article 14, Regulations on the Protection of the Right to Network Dissemination of Information Networks

Notice Requirements:

-The Rights Holder’s name, address and contact information;
-The title(s) and website address(es) of the infringing content which is requested to be removed or disconnected;
-Preliminary evidence of the work(s)’ infringement; and
-A request that the ISP remove the infringing content.

East Timor (Timor Leste)

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: No

Overview and Notes: By not being a Berne Convention or TRIPS member state, foreign works may not qualify for copyright protection under East Timorese law. Further, East Timor has not passed any specific copyright legislation since its independence in 2002.

Governing Legislation: N/A

Notice Requirements: N/A

Hong Kong

Enforcement System: Voluntary Notice and Takedown System/Judicial System.

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Although the Hong Kong Commerce and Economic Development Bureau drafted a proposed Notice and Takedown system in the Code of Conduct for Online Service Providers, Hong Kong has yet to formally enact a Notice and Takedown system. The Code of Conduct’s notice and takedown provisions have since become voluntary guidelines for Rights Holders and ISPs to manage online copyright infringement complaints.

Governing Legislation: Section 3.5, Form A, Code of Conduct for Online Service Providers (voluntary guidelines), Copyright Ordinance (Cap. 528) (mandatory)

Notice Requirements (from the Code of Conduct):

-The Rights Holder’s name, address for service in Hong Kong, contact telephone number, and any other relevant contact information;
-Particulars of the copyright work(s) alleged to be infringed including the name or description of the copyright work(s), type of work(s), date of creation or first publication of the copyright work(s), and name of the current owner of the work;
-A statement confirming that the Rights Holder submitting the complaint is the copyright owner or authorized representative of the copyright owner;
-Identification and online location of the material and/or activity which is the subject of the alleged infringement;
-In cases of information location tools, identification of the reference or link to the material or activity in question and its location;
-Description of how the material or activity in question infringes the copyright owner’s rights in the copyright work(s);
-A statement that the submitting Rights Holder believes in good faith that use of the material, or conduct of the activity in the manner complained of is not authorized by the law of Hong Kong, the copyright owner or its authorized representative(s);
-A request that the ISP send a copy of the notice to its subscriber whose account for online services has been used or involved in the alleged infringement;
-A request that the ISP remove the allegedly infringing material, disable access to the infringing material/activity;
-A declaration that the submitting Rights Holder declares that the information contained in this notice is true and accurate to the best of his knowledge and belief;
-A declaration that the submitting Rights Holder understands that it is an offence to make any false statement in this notice (the maximum penalty of which is a fine of HK$5,000 and imprisonment of 2 years), and that he or she is also liable to pay compensation by way of damages to any person who suffers loss or damage as a result of the false statement; and
-Signature and date of the submitting Rights Holder.

India

Enforcement System: Notice and Takedown System (temporary)

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: India’s notice and takedown protocols establish that allegedly infringing content will be taken down 36 hours after a Rights Holder submits a takedown notice to an ISP, and the ISP provides notice of the Rights Holder’s notice submission to the alleged infringer. If the Rights Holder’s notice is satisfactory to the ISP, the ISP will restrict access to the infringing website(s) for 21 days from the date of receipt of the Rights Holder’s notice or until the ISP receives a Court order restricting public access to the alleged infringing website(s), whichever is earlier.

It is important to note that only an owner or an exclusive licensee of a copyright-protected work may submit a notice pursuant to India’s notice and takedown protocols.

Governing Legislation: Rule 75, The Copyright Rules, 2013

Notice Requirements:

-The description of the work infringed with adequate information to identify the work;
-Details establishing that the submitting Rights Holder is the owner or exclusive licensee of copyright in the work;
-Details establishing that the copy of the work which is the subject matter of transient or incidental storage is an infringing copy of the work owned or exclusively licensed by the submitting Rights Holder and that the allegedly infringing act is not covered under section 52 or any other act that is permitted under the Copyright Act (1957);
-Details of the location where transient or incidental storage of the work is taking place;
-Details of the person, if known, who is responsible for uploading the work infringing the copyright of the submitting Rights Holder; and
-Signature and date of the submitting Rights Holder.

Indonesia

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Indonesia does not currently provide any legal incentives or procedures for ISPs to remove hosted infringing content upon notice from Rights Holders. The Indonesian Parliament is reported to be evaluating amendments to its copyright laws that will create a Rights Holder Internet copyright notification system through the Ministry of Communications and Informatics that will evaluate alleged infringements and order that ISPs takedown infringing content. The IIPA has criticized this proposed copyright enforcement system as it does not provide injunctive relief against non-compliant ISPs, nor a repeat infringer policy, or allow Rights Holders to submit complaint notices directly to ISPs.

Governing Legislation: Law No. 19 of July 29, 2002 on Copyright

Notice Requirements: N/A

Japan

Enforcement System: Notice and Takedown System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Japan’s notice and takedown protocols establish that allegedly infringing content will be taken down seven (7) days after a Rights Holder submit a notice to an ISP, and the ISP provides notice to the alleged infringer.

Governing Legislation: Article 3(2)(ii), Act No. 137 0f 2001 (Act on the Limitation of Liability for Damages of Specified Telecommunications Service Providers and the Right to Demand Disclosure of Identification Information of the Senders)

Notice Requirements:

-Information and location of the particular alleged infringement;
-Suggested enforcement actions to be taken by the ISP;
-The rights in the work that are allegedly being infringed;
-The reasoning why the Rights Holder believes that an infringement has taken place; and
-The Rights Holder’s contact information.

Laos

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Laos does not currently provide any legal incentives or procedures for ISPs to remove hosted infringing content upon notice from Rights Holders.

Governing Legislation: Law No. 01/NA of December 20, 2011, on Intellectual Property

Notice Requirements: N/A

Macau

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Macau does not currently provide any legal incentives or procedures for ISPs to remove hosted infringing content upon notice from Rights Holders.

Governing Legislation: Decree-Law no. 43/99/M (Regime of Copyright and Related Rights)

Notice Requirements: N/A

Malaysia

Enforcement System: Notice and Takedown System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Malaysia recently enacted copyright reforms that permit Rights Holders to submit infringement notices to ISPs that will remove hosted infringing content within 48 hours of notice of the alleged infringement to the ISP. However, Malaysia’s notice and takedown protocols do not providing specific notice requirements.

Governing Legislation: Article 43H – Copyright (Amendment) Act 2012

Notice Requirements: As mentioned, Malaysia does not provide specific requirements for ISP takedown notices.

Maldives

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes*

Overview and Notes: Maldives is not a Berne Convention member state, yet is a TRIPS signatory that requires that  Maldives uphold much of the Berne Convention’s protections. Maldives does not currently provide any legal incentives or procedures for ISPs to remove hosted infringing content upon notice from Rights Holders.

Governing Legislation: Copyright and Related Rights Act 2010

Notice Requirements: N/A

Mongolia

Enforcement System: Notice and Takedown System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Mongolia’s copyright legislation requires that ISPs prevent any copyright violation on websites they host and provide Right Holders the ability to enforce their rights through submitting reports to the ISPs of such violations. However, the legislation provides no specific requirements for such “reports.”

Governing Legislation: Article 25, Law of Mongolia on Copyright and Related Rights

Notice Requirements: Unspecified

Myanmar

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes*

Overview and Notes: Myanmar is not a Berne Convention member state, yet is a TRIPS signatory. However, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization, Myanmar’s current copyright laws “do not prescribe copyright of other countr[ies] to be recorded in Myanmar and copyright obtained in other countries can not be enforced in [Myanmar].”

Further, Myanmar does not currently provide any legal incentives or procedures for ISPs to remove hosted infringing content upon notice from Rights Holders.

Governing Legislation: Copyright Act of 1914

Notice Requirements: N/A

Nepal

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Nepal does not currently provide any legal incentives or procedures for ISPs to remove hosted infringing content upon notice from Rights Holders.

Governing Legislation: Copyright Act, 2059 (2002)

Notice Requirements: N/A

North Korea

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: North Korea does not currently provide any legal incentives or procedures for ISPs to remove hosted infringing content upon notice from Rights Holders.

Governing LegislationCopyright Law of the DPPK (Amended by Decree No. 1532 of February 1, 2006)

Notice Requirements: N/A

Pakistan

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Pakistan does not currently provide any legal incentives or procedures for ISPs to remove hosted infringing content upon notice from Rights Holders.

Governing LegislationCopyright (Amendment) Act, 1992

Notice Requirements: N/A

Philippines

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Philippines does not currently provide any legal incentives or procedures for ISPs to remove hosted infringing content upon notice from Rights Holders.

Governing Legislation: E-Commerce Act (Republic Act. No. 8792)

Notice Requirements: N/A

Taiwan

Enforcement System: Notice and Takedown System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Taiwan’s notice and takedown protocols establish that allegedly infringing content will be taken down five days after notice is provided from a Rights Holder to an ISP, and from the ISP to the alleged infringer.

Governing Legislation: Article 3 – Regulations Governing Implementation of ISP Civil Liability Exemption, Article 90terdecies – the Copyright Act

Notice Requirements:

-The Rights Holder’s name, address, and telephone number (or fax number or e-mail address);
-The name(s) of the copyrighted work(s) being infringed;
-A statement requesting the removal of, or disabling of access to, the content that allegedly infringes the identified copyrighted work(s);
-Access or relevant information sufficient to enable the notified ISP to identify the allegedly infringing content;
-A statement that the Rights Holder or the agent thereof is acting in good faith and in the belief that the allegedly infringing content lacks lawful licensing or is otherwise in violation of the Copyright Act; and
-A declaration that the Rights Holder is willing to bear legal liability in the event there is misrepresentation with resultant injury to another.

Thailand

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Prior to its dissolution in December 2013, Thailand’s Parliament had evaluated copyright law reforms to enhance online copyright enforcement. However, such proposed reforms would only allow Thai Courts to issue takedown orders against ISPs hosting infringing content and provided no direct notice and takedown procedures for Rights Holders to directly petition ISPs to remove infringing content.

Governing Legislation: Copyright Act B.E. 2537 (1994)

Notice Requirements: N/A

South Korea

Enforcement System: Notice and Takedown System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: South Korea adopted notice and takedown protocols mirroring measures under U.S. copyright law (DMCA – 17 U.S.C. § 512) based on a side letter annexed in the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement.

Governing Legislation: Article 102-103 – Copyright Act

Notice Requirements:

-Statement that the information in the notice is accurate;
-Information reasonably sufficient to enable the ISP to identify the copyrighted work(s) that appear to have been infringed;
-The identity, address, telephone number and electronic mail address of the submitting Rights Holder;
-Statement that the submitting Rights Holder has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by copyright owner, its agent, or the law;
-Statement with sufficient indicia of reliability (such as a statement under penalty of perjury or equivalent legal sanctions) that the submitting Rights Holder is the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed or is authorized to act on the Rights Holder’s behalf; and
-Signature of the submitting Rights Holder.

Singapore

Enforcement System: Notice and Takedown System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Singapore adopted its notice and takedown protocols in 2006 based on a side letter agreement annexed in the U.S-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.

Governing Legislation: Section 193(2)(b) – Copyright Act (Chapter 63), Copyright (Network Service Provider) Regulations 2005

Notice Requirements:

-Name and address of the submitting Rights Holder;
-Submitting Rights Holder address for service in Singapore (if a non-Singapore resident);
-Submitting Rights Holder’s telephone number, fax number and e-mail address;
-Identification of copyright material and location of allegedly infringing content;
-A statement that the information in the notice is accurate;
-A statement that the submitting Rights Holder is the owner or exclusive licensee of the copyright in the material referred to in complaint or is authorized to act on behalf of the owner or exclusive licensee of the copyright in the material referred to in the notice;
-A statement that the submitting Rights Holder requires the ISP to remove or disable access to the allegedly infringing content;
-A statement that the submitting Rights Holder or their agent, in good faith, believes that the electronic copy referred to in the notice is an infringing copy of the protected material content;
-A statement that the submitting Rights Holder is the owner, exclusive licensee, or agent thereof of the copyrighted content; and
-A statement that the submitting Rights Holder submits to the jurisdiction of the courts in Singapore for the purposes of any proceedings relating to any offense under section 193DD(1) of the Copyright Act or any liability under section 193DD(1)(b) of the Copyright Act.

Sri Lanka

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Sri Lanka does not currently provide any legal incentives or procedures for ISPs to remove hosted infringing content upon notice from Rights Holders.

Governing Legislation: Intellectual Property Act, No. 36 of 2003

Notice Requirements: N/A

Vietnam

Enforcement System: Judicial System

Berne Convention Member: Yes

Overview and Notes: Although Vietnam recently considered Internet liability reforms as detailed in the proposed Stipulations on the Responsibilities for Intermediary Service Providers in the Protection of Copyright and Related Rights on the Internet and Telecommunications Networks (Joint Circular No. 07/2012/TTLT-BTTTT-BVHTTDL), such reforms have yet to be enacted and do not contain any specific notice and takedown provisions. However, Vietnam may adopt notice and takedown procedures in the future if the U.S.’ draft IPR provisions of the TPP are adopted.

Governing Legislation: Law No. 50/2005

Notice Requirements: N/A

USTR Requesting Public Comments to Assist in Identifying Foreign IP Protection Barriers for U.S. Exports

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced yesterday that it is requesting public comments to assist the USTR in identifying significant barriers to U.S. exports of goods and services, including foreign IP protection deficiencies. The comments are being collected for inclusion in the USTR’s annual National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE Report) that identifies barriers to U.S. exports including the “lack of intellectual property protection (e.g., inadequate patent, copyright, and trademark regimes).”

Last year’s NTE Report identified several U.S. export markets as possessing IP protection trade barriers, or at least IP protection concerns, including Angola, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, European Union (member states), Ghana, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

Public comments for inclusion in this year’s NTE Report are due to the USTR by no later that October 29, 2014. Further instructions on the NTE public comment submission process are available here.

Understanding Foreign IP Customs Notification Registration Procedures

In recent years, many national customs offices have established notification procedures to allow IP rights holders the ability to alert customs officials of their IP rights in order to assist them in their import inspection activities. Like Internet Service Provider takedown requests on the Internet (more information about these procedures), IP customs office notifications is a tool for IP rights holders to protect their IP rights abroad by reducing the global spread of infringing goods and content by preventing its cross-border transit—and in many cases, assisting in its destruction. However, to utilize such protection measures, an IP rights holder must ask themselves:

  1. Can you submit such a notification in a particular country?
  2. Does the country you wish to enforce your IP rights have an IP customs notification system?
  3. Does such a country’s national IP customs notification system include the type of IP you wish to protect?
  4. What are the particular foreign customs agency’s IP notification requirements?

Can you submit a IP customs notification? Generally, an IP rights holder can only submit an IP customs notification to a foreign customs office if their IP qualifies for protection in that foreign country. Determining if particular IP qualifies for protection in a country depends on the type of IP the rights holder wishes to protect and to what extent the rights holder has secured foreign legal protections. Here is how it breaks down:

Trademarks. If an IP rights holder wants to submit a foreign customs notification to protect a trademark or service mark in another country, they usually need to have registered that mark in the IP office of that specific country or through a centralized international registration mechanism like the Madrid Protocol (more information about the Madrid Protocol). This is because trademark protection is territorial, meaning that a trademark or service mark registration only grants its owner rights in the mark in the territory of the registering country. So for example, if a U.S. company registers its trademark in the U.S. for particular goods or services and wishes to protect that trademark against infringing imports into New Zealand, it must also register that mark through the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand or the Madrid Protocol in order to submit a trademark notification to the New Zealand Customs Service.

Of course there are some important exceptions to this territoriality requirement to keep in mind. The European Union maintains a community-wide trademark system (Community Trade Mark) allowing one community registration to qualify for customs notification registration in all EU member states (a list of EU member states is available here). The African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) also maintains a community trademark system where a single OAPI community mark registration is recognized in 16 African nations (a list of EU member states is available here).

Patents. Like trademarks, a patent rights holder must generally have a registered patent in the country to which they wish to register an IP customs notification. Unlike trademarks, however, there are no current community registration exceptions. As a result, patent rights holders must register their patents in the country to which they wish to register their IP customs notifications.

Trade Secrets: Generally, as trade secrets require that their owners keep the content of their secrets confidential in order to maintain its legal protections, any disclosure of such secrets to customs officials likely eliminates such secrets’ protections. Therefore, there does not appear to be any national customs IP notification systems that permit trade secret notification.

Copyright. Unlike trademarks and patents, a work qualifying for copyright protection in one country may qualify for copyright protection in other countries in order to allow foreign customs notification registration. However, depending on the country, foreign copyright authors may need to file a copyright registration in order to submit an IP customs notification. A work qualifies for international copyright protection under the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Berne Convention) when it becomes attached. Attachment requires that the author of the work be a national of a Berne Convention country (Berne Convention countries), the author is a habitual resident of a Berne Convention country, that the work is first published in a Berne Convention country, or that the work is published in a Berne Convention country within 30 days after an initial publishing in a non-Berne Convention country. If a work is attached through any of these means, it is treated as if the work originated in each Berne Convention country, and is then subject to each Berne Convention country’s copyright protection requirements in order to qualify for copyright protection in that specific country.

If a work qualifies as an attached work under the Berne Convention and the IP rights holder wishes to register their protected work in a foreign Berne Convention country customs office, they will be able to file a customs registration without having authored the work in the foreign Berne Convention country. Yet, as mentioned above, countries differ on national copyright registration requirements for IP customs notifications. Australia, for example, does not require Australian copyright registration prior to submitting a customs notification application to the Australian Customs Service. However, several major markets, such as the U.S., China and India, require that copyrighted works be registered in their country prior to registering an IP customs notification.

Does the country you wish to enforce your IP rights have an IP customs notification system? Not all countries maintain IP customs notification processes. Some substantial and growing markets, such as Brazil, Canada and Chile, do not currently maintain IP custom notification systems. However, many major markets and transshipment countries maintain various types of IP customs notification systems including Argentina, Australia, China, European Union (EU), Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United States and Vietnam, among others.

Does such a country’s national IP customs notification system include the type of IP you wish to protect? Several countries only maintain IP notification systems for particular types of IP. For example, The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) only accepts copyright and trademark notifications, not patent notifications (the CBP only examines imports for patent infringement based on a Section 337 exclusion order from the U.S. International Trade Commission (more information available here)). In contrast, several other countries monitor and detain imports for possible patent and geographical indication infringement. India’s Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) in particular monitors imports for copyright, geographical indication, patent and trademark infringement.

What are the particular foreign customs agency’s IP notification requirements? Once an IP rights holder verifies that their IP qualifies for legal protections in the foreign country they wish to submit an IP customs notification, and that the type of IP they wish to notify customs about can be registered, the IP rights holder’s customs notification must comply with the foreign customs office’s own notification requirements.

Below are the IP customs notification submission requirements for some of the worlds’ major markets.

Governing Law

Types of IP Covered

Notes

Forms/Links

United States 19 C.F.R. 133.1 et seq.
Copyright and Trademark Instructions: Copyright and trademark notification (known as e-Recordation) requires:

-Registering a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office

-The trademark or copyright’s U.S. registration number

-The name, address and citizenship of the IP rights owner

-The place(s) of manufacture of goods bearing the trademark or copyright

-The name and address of individuals authorized to use the trademark or copyright

-The identity of a parent company or subsidiary authorized to use the trademark or copyright (if any)

Fees: US $190.00 per copyright and trademark (per class of goods and services).

Effective Duration of Notification: 20 years.

e-Recordation Notification Portal
Australia
Copyright Act 1968, Subsection 135(2)

Trade Marks Act 1995, Section 132

Copyright and   Trademark General Notes: Australian IP customs notifications are known as Notices of Objection.To register a copyright or trademark notice with Australian Customs Service, an IP rights holder must submit: (1) a notice of objection form; and (2) a deed of undertaking. Both types of forms as well as further instructions are located in the right column.

Duration of Notification: Four years.

Copyright

Copyright Notice Instructions

Copyright Notice Form

Copyright Deed of Undertaking

Trademarks

Trademark Notice Instructions

Trademark Notice Form

Trademark Deed of Undertaking

China Decree of the General Administration of Customs, No. 183 Copyright, Patent and Trademark Requirements: To file a IP customs notification with the General Administration of Customs (GAC), an application must include:

-a copy of the IP rights holder’s business registration certificate and a Chinese translation

-a copy of the Chinese registration certificate for the copyright, patent or trademark

-Proof of Power of Attorney (if registered by an agent)

-Registration fee (see below)

-Licensing agreements (if any)

-Pictures of the relevant goods and their packaging

Submission: Forms can be filled online or by mail.

Fees:Approximately US $130.00 (800 RMB).

GAC Online Notification Form (In Chinese)
European Union Council Regulation (EC) No 1383/2003, Article 5.5 Copyright, Geographical Indication, Patent and Trademark The EU refers to IP customs notifications as Applications For Action. Applications require: (1) a completed application form; and (2) a completed Article 6 Declaration. Both forms are located to the right.

Note: Individual EU member states may maintain their own IP customs notification systems (a link to individual EU member state customs agencies is available here).

Community Application For Action

Community Article 6 Declaration

India  Notification no. 47/2007 – Customs (n.t.) Copyright, Geographical Indication, Patent and Trademark Registration: The CBEC requires that copyrighted works be registered with Indian Copyright Office, and geographical indications, patents and trademarks with the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks prior to submitting a CBEC customs notification.

Ports of Entry: The CBEC also requires that notifications be submitted to particular ports of entry.

Duration of Notification: Minimum period of one (1) year.

Online Notification Submission Portal

**Note**: The above requirements are meant for comparative educational purposes only. IP rights holders should consult with national customs agencies or qualified attorneys in the jurisdictions they wish to enforce their rights to confirm these and other IP customs notification requirements.

Further Steps. Once an IP rights holder’s IP is registered with a foreign customs office, the foreign customs office will generally notify the rights holder or their representative of any infringing inbound shipments and may detain and potentially destroy infringing imports. However, such detentions may include legal proceedings, as well as additional country-specific enforcement procedures. IP rights holders should obtain qualified local counsel to assist with these enforcement activities.

Enforcing Online Copyright Protections Abroad: Understanding Foreign Takedown Notice Requirements

Establishing methods for enforcing copyright protections online has become increasingly important to protecting a content owner’s rights in their works—as demonstrated by the recent launch of the Copyright Alert System (CAS) in the U.S. Most content owners do not have the same resources for online copyright enforcement as the Media and Internet service provider industries (two central sponsors of CAS). However, nearly all owners of protected works can take advantage of relatively inexpensive online copyright enforcement methods to protect their works in many of the world’s major markets. The most commonly used means of enforcement are takedown notices—demands sent from content owners to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or website hosts to remove infringing content hosted on websites under their control. Depending on the circumstances, an ISP may be compelled upon receiving a takedown notice to remove infringing content from a hosted website, or in some cases, an entire website, for a temporary or extended amount of time.

Takedown notices can have substantial implications on an infringer’s online presence. A takedown can interrupt access to a infringer’s site, potential disrupt or halt their business, and can possibly result in the deletion of their site’s user comments and feedback. With these potentially serious consequences in mind, a rights holder should consider exhausting all alternatives before submitting a takedown notice against an infringing website.

Determining whether to and how to utilize takedown notices as a international copyright enforcement tool requires understanding a few things:

  • What international legal protections does a rights owner have in their works
  • Where are works being infringed online
  • Where is an ISP subject to jurisdiction
  • What countries have national takedown procedures and what are such countries’ requirements
  • Further issues after a takedown notice is submitted

Let’s break these down a little further:

What International Legal Protections Does a Rights Owner Have in Their Works? A rights owner cannot consider utilizing takedown procedures abroad without first establishing that their works qualify for international copyright protection. A work qualifies for international copyright protection under the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Berne Convention) when it becomes attached. Attachment requires that the author of the work be a national of a Berne Convention country (A list of Berne Convention countries is available here), the author is a habitual resident of a Berne Convention country, that the work is first published in a Berne Convention country, or that the work is published in a Berne Convention country within 30 days after an initial publishing in a non-Berne Convention country. If a work is attached through any of these means, it is treated as if the work originated in each Berne Convention country, and is then subject to each Berne Convention country’s copyright protection requirements in order to qualify for copyright protection in that specific country.

If a content owner has questions about whether their content qualifies for international copyright protection, they should consider consulting with their national copyright office or a qualified attorney.

Where are Works Being Infringed Online? To determine if any enforcement measure can be utilized, it is essential to know where in the world a work is being infringed online. If a work is being used without authorization and is available on the Internet in a particular country, it is likely being infringed in that particular country. For example, if a song by a Spanish artist, that qualifies as a protected work under the Berne Convention, is uploaded without authorization by a Malaysian file sharer to their website and is accessible throughout the entire world, it is being infringed in both Malaysia and Spain, as well as potentially in the other 164 Berne Convention countries.

Where is an ISP Subject to Jurisdiction? In order to effectively submit a takedown notice in a country where a protected work is infringed online, the ISP of the infringing website must be subject to that country’s laws in order for the ISP to be potentially compelled to comply with a takedown request. Generally, an ISP is only subject to the laws of a country where it is physically located or countries where it is engaged in enough commercial activity to establish personal jurisdiction. Determining an infringing site’s ISP can be completed through conducting a WHOIS database search. Such a search may also help identify the ISP’s host country by providing details about the ISP. However, this is not always a certainty.

If an ISP is located in the country where a work is infringed online, a rights owner only needs to establish whether that country has takedown procedures (see next section) to determine whether they can utilize takedown notices. However, determining whether an ISP is subject to the copyright laws of a country where it is not physically located is more difficult. In the U.S., a foreign ISP must at least have sufficient “minimum contacts” with the U.S. for the foreign-based ISP to be subject to U.S. law, and potential liability under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Int’l Shoe Co. v. Wash., 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945). Generally, such contacts have required purposeful interactions with U.S. citizens and commerce, such as marketing its services in the U.S. that would foreseeably bring the ISP under U.S. jurisdiction. Asahi Metal Indus. v. Superior Court, 480 U.S. 102, 112 (1987). It must also be “reasonable” to bring the ISP under U.S. jurisdiction, based on multiple factors. World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 292 (1980).

To illustrate these requirements using the previous example of the Spanish musician: Let’s assume that an Australian ISP hosts the Malaysian file-sharer website whose infringing content is available in the U.S., but the ISP does not market or make its services available in the U.S. In this case, the ISP would likely not be subject to U.S. law. Therefore, it is likely that the ISP is only subject to Australian law due to its location in Australia—and possibly Malaysian law if qualifying under Malaysian personal jurisdiction requirements. Alternatively, if the Australian ISP actively markets its services to U.S. citizens and businesses, the ISP may be subject to U.S. jurisdiction, and thereby potential liability under the DMCA. This would give the Spanish artist the ability to submit a U.S. takedown notice against the Australian ISP that would subject the ISP to potential liability under the DMCA if is fails to take action on the takedown notice.

Two important things to note:

  • Failing to qualify for jurisdiction does not mean a rights holder is barred from demanding an ISP to takedown content that infringes a protected work. It simply means that an ISP may not be compelled or have incentive to remove infringing content because they are unlikely to face liability.
  • Many content submission sites like YouTube and Facebook, as well as search engines such as Google and Bing, maintain their own takedown submissions procedures that are generally available to users regardless of their geographical location or where a protected work is infringed online.

What Countries Have National Takedown Procedures and What are Such Countries’ Requirements? To effectively utilize takedown procedure against an ISP, the ISP’s host country or country to which it is brought under personal jurisdiction must possess takedown procedures for rights holders, and such rights holders must comply with such procedural requirements. This requires understanding:

  • Whether the country to which the ISP is subject to jurisdiction has takedown notice legislation
  • If so, what are the country’s takedown notice requirements and procedures.

National Takedown Notice Legislation. Surprisingly, not all countries maintain takedown notice legislation for rights holders. Major markets including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India, Israel, Mexico and Russia are among those that don’t currently have takedown notice procedures. Despite such gaps, a large number of Berne Convention countries have enacted takedown notice legislation including the U.S., Australia, China, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan and the United Kingdom, to name a few.

National Takedown Notice Requirements: Below are the requirements for takedown notices in a number of major markets that have notice and takedown legislation.

Country

Legislation

Takedown Notice Requirements

United States DMCA (17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(3)(A))
  1. A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the rights holder alleging infringement;
  2. Identification of the copyrighted work(s) claimed to have been infringed;
  3. Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing and wished to be removed or disabled, including any reasonable information that would allow an ISP to locate the material (i.e. website addresses);
  4. Information reasonably sufficient to allow the ISP to contact the rights holder (i.e. address, telephone number, e-mail, etc.);
  5. A statement that the rights holder has a good faith belief that the use of their content is not authorized by the rights holder; and
  6. A statement that the information provided is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
Australia Regulation 20I, Schedule 10, 1969 Copyright Regulations
  1. The statement: “I, the person whose name is stated below, issue this notification for the purposes of condition 3 of item 4 of the table in subsection 116AH(1) of the Copyright Act 1968 and regulation 20(I) of the Copyright Regulations 1969.”
  2. The statement: “I am the owner (or agent of the owner of the copyright) in the copyright material specified in the Schedule [See number 7], being copyright material residing on your system or network.”
  3. (If submitted by a copyright owner) The statement: “I believe, in good faith, that the storage of the specified copyright material on your system or network is not authorized by me or a licensee, or the Copyright Act 1968, and is therefore an infringement of the copyright in that material.”;
  4. (If submitted by a copyright owner’s agent) The statement: “I believe, in good faith, that the storage of the specified copyright material on your system or network is not authorized by the copyright owner or a licensee of the copyright owner, or the Copyright Act 1968, and is therefore an infringement of the copyright in that material”;
  5. (If submitted by a copyright owner’s agent) The statement: “I have taken reasonable steps to ensure that the information and statements in this notice are accurate.”;
  6. The copyright owner or their agent’s name, address, e-mail address, telephone number and fax number; and
  7. An attached schedule to the notice including a description of the copyright material and the location of the infringing content.
China Article 14, Regulations on the Protection of the Right to Network Dissemination of Information Networks
  1. The rights holder’s name, contact information and address;
  2. The titles and website addresses of the infringing content which is requested to be removed or disconnected;
  3. Preliminary evidence of the works’ infringement; and
  4. A request that the service provider remove the infringing content.
Japan Article 3(2)(ii), Act on the Limitation of Liability for Damages of Specified Telecommunications Service Providers and the Right to DemandDisclosure of Identification Information of the Senders
  1. Information on the particular infringement;
  2. Suggested actions to be taken by the ISP;
  3. The rights in the work that are allegedly being infringed;
  4. The reasoning why the rights holder believes that an infringement has taken place; and
  5. The rights holder’s contact information.
South Africa Section 77(1), The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act
  1. The rights owner’s full name, address, telephone and e-mail address (if any);
  2. Identification of the right of the protected work that has been allegedly infringed;
  3. Identification of the material or activity that is claimed to be the subject of the infringement;
  4. The requested remedial action to be taken by the ISP;
  5. A statement that the rights holder is acting in good faith;
  6. A statement by the rights holder that the information in the notification is true and correct to their knowledge; and
  7. The copyright owner’s electronic signature.
United Kingdom Section 124(a)(3), Communications Act 2003
  1. A statement that there appears to have been an infringement of the owner’s copyright in the protected work;
  2. A description of the apparent infringement;
  3. Evidence of the apparent infringement that shows the infringer’s IP address and the time at which the evidence of infringement was gathered;
  4. Notice must be sent to the ISP within one (1) month of when evidence of the infringement; and
  5. The notice complies with any other requirement of the initial obligations code.

Note: Some of these national take down requirements are derived from translations. Rights holders should consult with National Copyright Offices or qualified attorneys in the jurisdictions they wish to enforce their rights in order to confirm these and other take down notice requirements.

Further Issues After a Takedown Notice is Submitted. Finally, it is important to note that there are issues to consider after a takedown notice has been submitted. First, an infringer may respond to a takedown notice by submitting a counter notice attesting to their rights in a protected work, even after their online content or website has been blocked or removed. Also, an ISP may refuse to act after a takedown notice has been submitted. If these circumstances arise, one should consider contacting a qualified attorney to discuss further actions.

Special thanks to co-author Kenneth Louis Strocsher, J.D. Candidate, 2014, Seattle University School of Law.