Landmark Property Rights Case Comes to an End
Monday, July 19, 2010 3:32 pm | By Anthony Lizan

In what he termed a “bittersweet” victory, the grandson of late property rights advocate, Dorothy English, received a $1.15 million settlement from Multnomah County in Oregon. Mrs. English, the PR icon who bravely fought against government land abuses died at the age of 95, several years before her case could be settled.

The right to use ones property—both physical and intellectual—is a natural right which the Framers gave special protection to in the Constitution. This respect for property has lead America to be the richest and most prosperous country in history. The Framers understood that freedom means nothing if the fruits of ones labor could be expropriated at the whim of a powerful politician or bureaucrat.

Dorothy English understood this too. When she tried multiple times to develop her land, she was denied permits because the government rezoned her property into a protected commercial forest. As PRA noted earlier, the government has a long history of using environmental regulations to effectively seize private property for “public use.” As Mrs. English put it, "My lawyer researched it and found there were 61 regulations against my property—61!" Yet, instead of just lying down, she took action.

English became the face of a popular voter initiative, Measure 37. The Measure forced the government to either waive regulations, or provide compensation to land owners whose property values have decreased because of said regulation. It passed 61% to 39%. English became the first person to file a claim under the new law.

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BREIN: Digital Piracy's Worst Nightmare
Friday, July 16, 2010 12:48 pm | By Anthony Lizan

The BREIN vs. Bit Torrent battle can rightfully take its place in the hall of fame of epic smack downs. BREIN—a Dutch anti-piracy organization—managed to take down 422 illegal websites over the past six months. In comparison, the U.S. has taken down nine since the announcement of Operation in Our Sites. The news has left many in the torrent world crying like babies.

Yet this isn’t BREIN’s, which is Dutch for Protection Rights Entertainment Industry of the Netherlands, first major victory. According to TorrentFreak, BREIN shut down 393 illegal torrent sites in 2009. This is an impressive record and should be a model for those who combat piracy for a living.

BREIN’S success isn’t surprising when one takes into account the country that it operates from. According to the 2010 International Property Rights Index, the Netherlands ranks 4th out of 125, a clear indication of the strength of its intellectual property rights protection. The country is a haven for the most creative and innovative as a result.

What’s fantastic about BREIN’S strategy is that it is expert at keeping its efforts from the news and other media. This has prevented criminals and their allies from warning illegal sites that they are being monitored. The U.S. should follow suit.

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Global Anti-Counterfeiting Technology Market Booms
Wednesday, July 14, 2010 12:25 pm | By Anthony Lizan

As counterfeiting has become easier and more prevalent, copyright holders have increasingly turned to advanced technology to protect their interests. The anti-counterfeiting technology market has boomed over the past few years as a result. According to a new study conducted by Global Industry Analyst Inc, “the global market for anti-counterfeiting technologies could reach $82.2 billion by 2015.” This is great news for the economy and for the safety of millions of people world wide.

The results of the GIA analysis bolster a point that PRA has made many times: strong IP protection promotes innovation. According to the report, “Having realized the need to protect brand integrity and increase sales, brand owners are willing to spend more on anti-counterfeit solutions and the trend is prompting suppliers to offer innovative products that help stretch the inclination further.” Increased innovation leads to better products, more profits, and a stronger economy.

The report also notes that the food and drug industries are the hardest hit by counterfeiting. This has serious health implications because counterfeit drugs can be extremely dangerous. Unfortunately, many of these drugs have infiltrated the supply chain worldwide. Better technology like holograms and tamper-evident seals can save lives.

It is important that these companies continue to do well, to counteract governments that are actively pushing for policies that make counterfeiting more prevalent. Take the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement for example. The agreement would reduce counterfeiting globally, but powerful up and comers like India and China are actively working against its enactment.

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