Internet-friendly Language Proposed in Trade Agreement

BY CCIA Staff
July 3, 2012

The USTR has proposed the addition of Internet-friendly copyright language into what is being billed as the 21st Century trade agreement: the Trans Pacific Partnership. The Computer & Communications Industry Association welcomed the news of fair use-related language as a sign that negotiators aim to promote strong and balanced copyright provisions in the trade agreement.

The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“U.S. industries dependent on fair use exceptions represent 1/6 of our GDP and one in eight jobs. Putting language protecting fair use into future trade agreements would grow this sector and make it possible for this sector to expand to other markets without dramatically changing how they operate. This is the first time the US government has committed to export the “balancing” exceptions and provisions of US law, not just the IP protections of US law. Exceptions like fair use are essential components of IP law and we commend this initiative.

“This is a positive development for all nine countries negotiating the TPP as well as Mexico and Canada, which should join later this year. Part of the success of the US tech industry is owed to the balance infused into our copyright laws. For the US to negotiate in good faith with its trading partners, it makes sense to export our complete formula for a successful Internet sector — both our IP enforcement measures and our copyright limitations and exceptions.

“The TPP is being billed as the 21st Century Agreement, and part of that shift to the future certainly means including Internet services and language to boost innovation and Internet freedom around the world. But we hope this also means a shift to a new trade paradigm that lifts all boats – rather than carefully negotiated wins and losses among countries. Boosting Internet services certainly benefits US tech, but growing the Internet infrastructure of a country also increases the productivity of our trading partners’ own domestic industries.

“Other important issues in the IP chapter and elsewhere still need to be addressed. This isn’t the end of a process; it is only the beginning. But CCIA is increasingly hopeful that trade officials are recognizing the growing economic contribution of the tech sector, and the desires of Internet users around the world, and are including provisions that respond to our new digital, Internet era.”

“The U.S. Government still has considerable work to do to ensure that TPP fulfills its stated goal of being a 21st century trade agreement.”

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