News
Citizens Continue to Stand Up Against Eminent Domain Abuse
Wednesday, November 17, 2010 4:51 pm | By Katerina Bricker

Since the United States Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. City of New London (2005), there have been 43 states, according to the Institute of Justice, that have passed some type of legislation aimed at decreasing the abuse of eminent domain for private use. You can click HERE if you would like to see the latest version of state-by-state grading of eminent domain reforms by the Castle Coalition.
 
Recently on November 2, Nevadans voted to maintain the amendment that changed their eminent domain law during the Kelo decision. More than 67 percent voted no to the question of whether Nevadans wanted to expand the definition of “public use”. This would have made it easier for greedy officials to snatch up more of their citizens’ land for their “awesome” ideas and projects.
 
On November 9, Spring Lake Heights in New Jersey overturned their Mayor’s veto of two ordinances meant to close loopholes in state eminent domain laws. They were both passed in October stating that one would ban pay-to-play for contracts given for redevelopment within the region and the other would ban the region from getting private property for the purpose of privately funded economic development. Their Mayor would not sign them because he deemed them as being “unnecessary.” Right now they do not have eminent domain as an issue, but this legislation is for the security of their residents in case eminent domain does happen to pop-up.
 
The one good thing the Supreme Court did correctly in their heinous decision on Kelo was the decision that states are free to enact legislation that can restrict the power of eminent domain. Seven states; however, have not passed any type of eminent domain legislation. Those states include; Arkansas, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, and Oklahoma.

 

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Can it Really Be True?
Thursday, October 21, 2010 10:35 am | By Katerina Bricker

Recently, China has stated that they are going to start cracking down on pirated software. For those who have been keeping up with all the problems of counterfeiting and piracy, you would know that China is one of the biggest markets for pirated software.

According to China’s official news service their government is starting a new campaign to fight counterfeit and pirated software and DVDs. This campaign will last six months, beginning at the end of October. Xinhua News Agency said that it will “focus on pirated publications, software, DVDs and designs, as well as violations of trademarks and patents, and on the import and export of fake goods”. The Chinese government has been ordered to use only authorized software and updates.

This decision was made at one of the regular State Council meetings on Tuesday, October 19, 2010. Premier Wen Jiabao led this meeting and their decision will hopefully help to implement an agreement reached by President Barack Obama and himself. This seemed to have started last month when Obama raised concerns over the IPR issue during a meeting with Premier Wen during his serious of U.N meetings in New York.

This is such a huge step forwards. China has been one of the biggest markets for counterfeit products for such a long time. Piracy has made them tons of money. Can they really be cracking down on this? Can China really stop their habit and try to do more to attack this problem? This campaign is supposedly suggesting how serious China is about combating this. Only in time we will see.

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Improving Intellectual Property Rights through Global Cooperation
Tuesday, October 12, 2010 4:26 pm | By Katerina Bricker

In Tokyo last week, 37 countries met to discuss the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) The agreement would increase efforts against theft of intellectual property, support high enforcement standards against piracy, and also accompany existing rules that are already in effect under the auspices of the World Trade Organization.The finalized document is 24 pages long and if you click HERE, you can read it in its entirety.

Strong intellectual property enforcement is key to long-term economic growth and prosperity. Intellectual property rights can boost trade and foreign investment dramatically, but first, global piracy and counterfeiting must be stopped or significantly reduced for the economies of developed and developing nations to thrive. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk stated, “This text reflects tremendous progress in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy – a global crime wave that robs workers in the United States and around the world of good-paying jobs and exposes consumers to dangerous products.”

ACTA does not provide governments with every answer on how to tackle IP infringement, but it does help with the very important job of finding solutions to this global problem. This is a milestone in the fight to protect intellectual property rights worldwide reached by 37 other countries including the United States, the 27 EU member states, Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, Mexico, and Morocco. While this agreement does not include some of the biggest IP offenders, including China, this is a step in the right direction.

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