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US creatives highlight foreign market challenges

The US’s leading creative industries have called on the government to do more to ensure that its trading partners fulfil their pledges to the US to improve protection and enforcement of copyright, and named 16 countries that should be on special watch lists.

In its submission in the annual ‘Special 301’ inquiry launched by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) noted that the core copyright industries—including music, films and TV, video games, and text publishing—are a major segment of the US economy, generating over $1.2 trillion (€1.13trn) of economic output in 2015, and accounting for over 5.5 million US jobs.

Creative industries and their licensed partners continue to explore new ways to deliver content to consumers worldwide, by launching innovative new services that help drive the digital economy. However, the IIPA contends that these efforts are damaged by unfair competition that distorts legitimate markets, including from those who engage in infringement on a commercial scale as a high-profit, low-risk enterprise. Discriminatory barriers imposed by governments further harm creators and discourage investment in legitimate services.

IIPA’s submission focuses on key markets where sustained engagement by the US government will reap positive results for creators and the industries that support them. It includes the following:

  • Recommends eight countries—Chile, China, India, Mexico, Russian Federation, Taiwan, Ukraine, and Vietnam—for placement on USTR’s Priority Watch List;
  • Identifies eight countries—Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Indonesia, Peru, Switzerland, Thailand, and United Arab Emirates—for placement on USTR’s Watch List;
  • Calls for vigilance against proposed copyright law changes that threaten well-established global norms, or that fail to keep up with evolving standards for the digital networked era;
  • Summarises key challenges faced by US copyright industries overseas, both online and offline, and identifies best practices for our trading partners to deal with them effectively.

“The health and competitiveness of the US economy depend on a thriving copyright sector that creates economic growth, jobs and exports,” said Steven J. Metalitz, IIPA Counsel. “Our trading partners have taken on numerous commitments over the years to provide modern levels of protection for copyright; more effective policies and tools to enforce that protection; and freer, more open markets around the world. Reducing the gaps and shortfalls in fulfilment of these commitments will advance the overall national economic interest of the United States.”

“IIPA applauds USTR for making the Special 301 process a positive catalyst for change to further open key markets around the world to products and services that embody American creativity and innovation,” continued Metalitz . “Meeting the challenges identified in this submission will create more good American jobs, promote exports, and contribute substantially to healthy economic growth in the US and abroad.”

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