Copyright Protection Needed in Modernization of NAFTA
Negotiations for modernizing NAFTA have begun this week in Washington.
Below is a letter prepared by the Copyright Alliance to Ambassador Lighthizer on behalf of organizations representing small businesses and individuals highlighting the need for NAFTA to include meaningful copyright protections, effective enforcement, appropriate limitations and exceptions, and safe harbor provisions that incentivize platforms to minimize infringement.
APA along wth organizations representing creative fields such as photographers, graphic artists, authors, musicians, and actors want to ensure that NAFTA 2.0 includes tough copyright language.
August 16, 2017
Dear Ambassador Lighthizer,
The undersigned groups represent the interests of a diverse group of small and medium
businesses (SMEs) and individual creators in the creative fields. What unites us is a
reliance on meaningful and effective copyright laws. Together, the core copyright
industries contribute over $1.2 trillion to U.S. GDP, employ 5.5 million workers, and
contribute a positive trade balance—and SMEs and individual creators make up a
significant part of these industries.
The internet’s global reach has made copyright protections and enforcement increasingly
important to free trade agreements. The small and medium businesses we represent are
often on the forefront of exploring new models for making creative works available on a
global scale. Widespread copyright infringement and unduly broad limitations to
copyright protection distort overseas markets and undermine the ability of our members
to successfully and fairly engage in commerce.
The effort to renegotiate NAFTA provides an opportunity to modernize the copyright
provisions of the agreement for the digital age and establish a template for future
agreements. We urge you to look beyond the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and
to seek the highest standard of protection for businesses and creators that rely on strong
copyright to compete successfully overseas.
Specific priorities for small and medium enterprises, as well as individual creators,
include the following:
• Strong and meaningful copyright protection and enforcement. The agreement
should recognize the full scope of copyright rights, including making available, and
remedies such as injunctive relief and statutory damages.
• Effective enforcement provisions. Trade agreements are critical to fostering
legitimate online marketplaces. A modernized NAFTA should respond to the challenges
facing creators by including provisions to ensure effective enforcement and requiring
legal protections for technological protection measures and rights management
• Appropriate limitations and exceptions. NAFTA should reinforce the “threestep”
test for limitations and exceptions that has been the international standard for
decades. The three-step test strikes the appropriate balance in copyright, and any
language mandating broader exceptions and limitations only serves as a vehicle to
introduce uncertainty into copyright law, distort markets and weaken the rights of the
small and medium businesses and creators we represent. For that reason, we strongly
urge USTR to not include “balance” language similar to what appeared in the TPP or any
reference to vague, open-ended limitations.
• Incentives for service providers to cooperate with copyright owners in
addressing online infringement. Few SMEs have the means to devote resources to
policing online infringement, and we therefore rely on service providers taking
reasonable steps to minimize piracy that occurs on their platforms. To promote incentives
for service providers to cooperate with copyright owners to address online infringement,
the copyright provisions in NAFTA should establish appropriate standards for
intermediary liability as well as appropriate safe harbor protections for intermediaries.
We urge negotiators to provide for safe harbor protections in broader terms than how
they’ve appeared in recent trade agreements. Congress and the U.S. Copyright Office are
currently reviewing U.S. copyright law, and we want to make sure lawmakers have the
flexibility to address shortcomings in domestic safe harbor provisions.
We thank you for your consideration of our priorities and look forward to working with
you further as negotiations progress.
American Association of Independent Music
American Photographic Artists
American Society of Journalists and Authors
American Society of Media Photographers
Artists Rights Society
Association of Independent Music Publishers
Church Music Publishers’ Association – Action Fund
Digital Media Licensing Association
Graphic Artists Guild
Nashville Songwriters Association International
National Press Photographers Association
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
Songwriters Guild of America
Songwriters of North America
Textbook & Academic Authors Association
Western Writers of America