The U.S. Trade Representative today released a request for public comment regarding its Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets. 76 Fed. Reg. 184 (published Sept. 22, 2011). In its summary of the request, the USTR explained:
"In 2010 the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) began publishing the notorious market list as an 'Out of Cycle Review' separately from the annual Special 301 report. This review of Notorious Markets ('Notorious Markets List') results in the publication of examples of Internet and physical markets that have been the subject of enforcement action or that may merit further investigation for possible intellectual property infringements. The Notorious Markets List does not represent a finding of violation of law, but rather is a summary of information that serves to highlight the problem of marketplaces that deal in infringing goods and which help sustain global piracy and counterfeiting. USTR is hereby requesting written submissions from the public identifying potential Internet and physical notorious markets that exist outside the United States and that may be included in the 2011 Notorious Markets List.See summary (emphasis added).
The first Out-of-Cycle review of Notorious Markets was published in February 2011, following a similar request for public comments, and is available on the USTR site. The 2011 Annual Report (published in April 2011 with country reports and a watch list) is also available.
The deadline to respond with comments is October 26, 2011. Specifically, the USTR is looking for detailed information about potential markets "where counterfeit or pirated products are prevalent to such a degree that the market exemplifies the problem of marketplaces that deal in infringing goods and help sustain global piracy and counterfeiting." Id. ¶ 2a. If possible, the USTR would like to see location of the market, principal owners/operators (if known), types of products sold, distributed or otherwise made available, volume of traffic of the website (such as the Alexa ranking), and any known enforcement activity against it (including any requests for takedown of infringing content and the site's response). Id. ¶ 2b.
The USTR will maintain a docket of public comments received about these markets, which will be open for public inspection, except for certain confidential business information, pursuant to 15 C.F.R. § 2006.13. This docket should be available here. (My apologies in advance if this link doesn't work – there were no comments posted when I tested it, but I think the link will be active soon. As an alternative, visit http://www.regulations.gov/, search for public submission and enter "USTR-2011-0012" in the Keyword or ID field.)