Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) August 26, 2010
The global scourge of digital pirates, high-jacking intellectual property across national borders, is encouraging nations to authorize capricious searches of laptops, smart-phones and other personal electronic devices at border stations, according to T. Jesse Goff, author of a new legal note published in the latest issue in the Southwestern Journal of International Law.
A bad idea, passed into U.S. law in October 2008, is now unwisely being proposed as a new international standard for border searches as negotiations continue for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), says Goff, who holds the degree of Juris Doctor from Southwestern Law School, awarded in May 2010. Goff also served two years as a contributor to the international journal published by the law school annually and worked over three semesters as a contracts and digital rights intern in the legal department of Sony Pictures.
Added Goff: This unfortunate law was one of a lingering series of questionable and overreaching initiatives by the administration of President George W. Bush broadening the authority of law enforcement officials in ways that needlessly threaten civil liberties. We do need new and stronger policies, both on-line and at the U.S. border, to fight widespread high-tech piracy of intellectual property, but this objective can still be effectively achieved by preserving a constitutional standard of reasonable suspicion and without infringing upon the core rights of the individual.
Goffs note is published in Volume 16, Number 1 edition of the Southwestern Journal of International Law under the title: Regulation of Digital Copyrights and Trademarks at the U.S. Border: How the Proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and the Enacted U.S. PRO-IP Act Will Destabilize the Current System.
The Pro-IP Act and ACTA go too far in their effort to strengthen the border regulation of digital trademark and copyright infringement, wrote Goff in his published note, which argues against a decision in April 2008 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, ruling in United States v. Arnold, 523 F.3d 941 (9th Cir. 2008) (Case Number: 06-50581) that that there was no reasonable suspicion requirement when electronic devices were searched at U.S. borders.
Goff echoed in his published note the concern of a lower district court, overruled by the Ninth Circuit in the Arnold case, that todays laptops and similar electronic devices contain diaries, personal letters, medical information, financial records and confidential client information, even trade secrets exactly the kind of papers and effects the Fourth Amendment protects from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Says Goff, in calling for the overturning of the Ninth Circuit decision: By allowing customs officials to make all the front-line decisions at the border, they are effectively given the authority to act outside the law. By vesting so much power in one group, namely border authorities worldwide, the potential for privacy and civil liberty violations will be immense because there will be no other agency or governmental body there to rein them in.
About T. Jesse Goff
T. Jesse Goff was awarded the degree of Juris Doctor, Southwestern Law School, in Los Angeles, in May 2010 and holds a B.A. in History and American Studies from Occidental College. He served as a Notes and Comments Editor of the Southwestern Journal of International Law, 2009-2010 and worked as a contracts and digital rights intern in the legal department of Sony Pictures in 2009 and 2010, supporting the studios contractual preparations for direct video streaming of its film assets over the Internet.
For more information, and to download a full copy of the article Regulation of Digital Copyrights and Trademarks at the U.S. Border: How the Proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and the Enacted U.S. PRO-IP Act Will Destabilize the Current System. by T. Jesse Goff, visit Lexis-Nexis.