Washington — As more countries pass or consider copyright regulations that violate current U.S. trade agreements and international copyright norms, the Computer & Communications Industry Association is asking USTR to note and fight discriminatory regulations.

CCIA’s submission to USTR today describes the scope of the problem and flags examples where trading partners are prohibiting copyright limitations like intermediary liability safe harbors or trying to levy fees or other barriers to search engines providing links such as the so-called “snippet taxes” in the European Union.

Germany enacted a snippet tax in 2013 which held search engines and social media platforms liable for publishing even short quotes or snippets of news stories in their search results. The goal was to get search engines to pay a tax for indexing. Spain also implemented a version of it.

CCIA has advocated against protectionist IP policies for more than a decade. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“We are asking USTR to monitor protectionist copyright policies as part of their annual report on problematic intellectual property laws around the world.”

“It is time to confront the growth of trade barriers being erected under the cover of copyright law law changes that threaten legitimate services trade and the flow of information over the Internet.”

“WTO Members have a mandatory obligation to permit anyone to quote from a work that is already lawfully publicly available. So-called ‘snippet taxes’ contradict a century’s worth of international copyright law and violate the balanced rules that underpin U.S. copyright law.”

“If we are serious about removing trade barriers for U.S. exporters, it is now time to acknowledge that protectionist taxes designed to ensnare U.S. services are trade barriers, and aggressively work to alleviate them.”

Contact:

Heather Greenfield hgreenfield@ccianet.org

 

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