USPTO Anticounterfeiting and Antipiracy inquiry collects indispensible guidance

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In May 2023, the United States Patent and Trademark Office opened an inquiry to gain insights and input toward current and future strategies against piracy and counterfeiting.  Originally scheduled to run until August 23, the USPTO extended the comment period to September 25.

Comments have been submitted by a wide range of stakeholders, some of whom are outside the scope of media piracy. On October 3, the USPTO is hosting a public roundtable to discuss these issues.

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Read the comments

Commenters submitting prior to the initial August 23 deadline were something of an all-star lineup from the media and entertainment industry.  They include input (clickable) from the Motion Picture Association (MPA), the International Broadcaster Coalition Against Piracy (IBCAP), CreativeFuture, The Copyright Alliance, the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), Amazon, Google, Premier League, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), a joint comment by UFC, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Football League (NFL), and the US Copyright Office.

As an example, AVIA’s submission detailed a 2023 consumer survey across Asia- Pacific countries that help them identify the most popular means of consumers accessing piracy, as well as their attitudes to piracy and the most effective measures to address it.  This, in turn, informs its initiatives.  As piracy sites and their operators are often unable to be identified, and are often based in hard-to-reach jurisdictions even if they are identified, blocking access to the sites is a highly effective form of addressing the illegal streaming, says AVIA.

AVIA has worked with diligence to influence regulators in its region, to put site blocking in place.  Site blocking proven to be very successful in several countries that have implemented it.  This simply adds to the chorus of site blocking advocates in the film and TV industries, by copyright advocates like CreativeFuture and in European countries that include Italy; which recently passed legislation that gives ISPs just 30 minutes to put site blocks in place once notified.

App protection to prevent piracy

Beyond the content world but only by one degree of separation was the App Association, which cited a variety of risks both to software apps themselves and by extension, the security and safety of content that traverse the app ecosystem.  

Risks cited include replicating app but without the digital rights management (DRM) component, enabling them to publish a fraudulent copy of an app on illegitimate websites or legitimate app stores.  Another is to steal content from an app, such as video, sounds, animations, characters; and repurposing it within their own app or elsewhere.  Attackers can also disable an app’s advertising keys or remove locked functions like in-app purchases and security checks to prevent them from compromised devices.  Malicious code inserted into an app can wreck brand reputations and confuse users.

The Entertainment Software Association also weighed in.

Why it matters

Being anything but boring, not only do these submissions provide important input to the government regulators collecting them to guide future regulation and policy; they also represent indispensible proof-points to those who might be skeptical of these risks.

The risks, attacks, countermeasures and practices cited by these documents should be mandatory reading for all industry stakeholders.

Attacks by would-be rights infringers aren’t the only risks.  The App Association also cited government regulation as a risk in itself, saying that regulators may impose “joint venture requirements, foreign equity limitations, ambiguous regulations and/or regulatory approval processes, and other creative means (such as source code “escrowing”) that force U.S. companies to transfer IPR to others to access their market.”  Such IPR is not only of interest to pirates, but also to geopolitical players.

To protect the broader ecosystem of content, services, and the devices, apps and networks that they travel over, a broader piracy recognition and anti-piracy regimen are required.  Beyond DRM and encryption for content, authentication for access, and blockchain to assert chain of ownership, software requires “technologies that protect firmware, encryption, obfuscation, monitoring and analytics to protect applications from unauthorized copying and distribution,” said the App Association.

To submit a comment

Anyone can submit a comment online or on paper, which are made openly available to access and view via the US Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Confidential business information must be labeled so, and delivered privately with a request for confidential treatment.

Post a comment. See:

Further information

Future Strategies in Anticounterfeiting and Antipiracy. Posted by the US Patent and Trademark Office.  See:

Browse Posted Comments. See:

Notification of Future Strategies in Anticounterfeiting and Antipiracy, as published in the US Federal Register.  See:


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