19 CFR 133.43 - Procedure on suspicion of infringing copies.
(a)Notice to the importer. If the port director has any reason to believe that an imported article may be an infringing copy or phonorecord of a recorded copyrighted work, he shall withhold delivery, notify the importer of his action, and advise him that if the facts so warrant he may file a statement denying that the article is in fact an infringing copy and alleging that the detention of the article will result in a material depreciation of its value, or a loss or damage to him. The port director also shall advise the importer that in the absence of receipt within 30 days of a denial by the importer that the article constitutes an infringing copy or phonorecord, it shall be considered to be such a copy and shall be subject to seizure and forfeiture.
(b)Notice to copyright owner. If the importer of suspected infringing copies or phonorecords files a denial as provided in paragraph (a) of this section, the port director shall furnish to the copyright owner the following information, if available, within 30 days, excluding weekends and holidays, of the receipt of the importer's denial:
(1) The date of importation;
(2) The port of entry;
(3) A description of the merchandise;
(4) The quantity involved;
(5) The country of origin of the merchandise; and
(i) A written demand for the exclusion from entry of the detained imported article; and
(ii) A bond, in the form and amount specified by the port director, conditioned to hold the importer or owner of the imported article harmless from any loss or damage resulting from Customs detention in the event the Commissioner or his designee determines that the article is not an infringing copy prohibited importation under section 602 of the Copyright Act of 1976 ( 17 U.S.C. 602) (See part 113 of this chapter).
(c)Samples available to the copyright owner. At any time following presentation of the merchandise for Customs examination, but prior to seizure, Customs may provide a sample of the suspect merchandise to the owner of the copyright for examination or testing to assist in determining whether the article imported is a piratical copy. To obtain a sample under this section, the copyright owner must furnish Customs a bond in the form and amount specified by the port director, conditioned to hold the United States, its officers and employees, and the importer or owner of the imported article harmless from any loss or damage resulting from the furnishing of a sample by Customs to the copyright owner. Customs may demand the return of the sample at any time. The owner must return the sample to Customs upon demand or at the conclusion of the examination or testing. In the event that the sample is damaged, destroyed, or lost while in the possession of the copyright owner, the owner shall, in lieu of return of the sample, certify to Customs that: “The sample described as [insert description] provided pursuant to 19 CFR 133.43(c) was (damaged/destroyed/lost) during examination or testing for copyright infringement.
(d)Result of action or inaction by copyright owner. After notice to the copyright owner that delivery is being withheld for imported articles suspected of being infringing copies of his recorded copyrighted work, the port director shall proceed in accordance with the following procedures:
(1)Demand and bond; exchange of briefs. If the copyright owner files a written demand for exclusion of the suspected infringing copies together with a proper bond, the port director shall promptly notify the importer and copyright owner that, during a specified time limited to not more than 30 days, they may submit any evidence, legal briefs or other pertinent material to substantiate the claim or denial of infringement. The burden of proof shall be upon the party claiming that the article is in fact an infringing copy.
(i)Exchange of briefs. Before timely submitting the additional evidence, legal briefs, or other pertinent material to Customs, pursuant to paragraph (c)(1) of this section, in regard to the disputed claim of infringement, the importer and the copyright owner shall first provide each other with a copy of all such information, including the importer's denial of infringement and the copyright owner's demand for exclusion. The subsequent submission of this information to Customs shall be accompanied by a written statement confirming that a copy has already been provided to the opposing party. The port director shall notify the importer and the copyright owner that they shall have additional time, not to exceed 30 days, in which to provide a response to the arguments submitted by the opposing party, and that rebuttal arguments, timely submitted, shall be fully considered in the decision-making process. During this rebuttal period and before timely submitting the rebuttal arguments to Customs, the importer and the copyright owner shall first provide each other with a copy of all such material. The submission of this rebuttal material to Customs shall be accompanied by a written statement confirming that a copy has been provided to the opposing party. The port director shall not accept any additional material from the parties to substantiate the claim or denial of infringement after the final 30-day rebuttal period expires.
(ii)Decision. Upon receipt of rebuttal arguments, or 30 days after notification if no rebuttal arguments are submitted, the port director shall forward the entire file, together with a sample of each style that is considered possibly infringing, to CBP Headquarters, (Attention: Border Security and Trade Compliance Division, Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade), for decision on the disputed claim of infringement. The final decision on the disputed claim of infringement shall be forwarded to the port director who shall send a copy thereof to the copyright owner as well as to the importer.
(2)Infringement disclaimed or unsupported. If the copyright owner disclaims that the specified imported article is an infringing copy of his recorded copyrighted work, or fails to present sufficient evidence or proof to substantiate a claim of infringement, the port director shall release the detained shipment to the importer and all further importations of the same article, by whomever imported, without further notice to the copyright owner.
(3)Failure to file demand or bond. If the copyright owner fails to file a written demand for exclusion and bond as required by paragraph (b) of this section, the port director shall release the detained articles to the importer and notify the copyright owner of the release.
(4)Withdrawal of bond. Where the copyright owner has posted a bond on the grounds that the imported article is infringing, the copyright owner may not withdraw the bond until a decision on the issue of infringement has been reached.
(e)Alternative procedure: court action. As an alternative to the administrative procedure described in this section, the copyright owner, whether or not he has recorded his copyright with Customs, may seek a court order enjoining importation of the article. To obtain Customs enforcement of an injunction, the copyright owner shall submit a certified copy of the court order to the Commissioner of Customs, Attention: Office of the Chief Counsel, Washington, DC 20229. In addition, if the copyright in question is not recorded with Customs, the copyright owner shall submit the $190 fee required by § 133.33(b) and, if the work is a three-dimensional or other work not readily identifiable by title and author, 5 photographic or other likenesses reproduced on paper approximately 8″ × 10 1/2″ in size.