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CCIA denounces European copyright ‘protectionism’

February 11, 2019

By Colin Mann

The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), an international not-for-profit membership organisation dedicated to innovation and enhancing society’s access to information and communications, has called on the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to fight against what it suggests are ‘protectionist’ European IP policies.

With Europe poised to enact additional copyright policies that the CCIA says will likely have significant negative consequences for the digital economy, the CCIA submitted examples of resulting problems to the USTR.

In comments filed to the USTR, the CCIA is asking USTR to note in the upcoming Special 301 report  that these actions actually create market access barriers and are violations of international commitments, and use to its power to fight these and other trade barriers around the world linked to intellectual property.

The CCIA noted cases where other countries don’t recognise copyright intermediary liability norms and the growing use of so-called ‘snippet taxes’ in some European countries that attempt to charge online news aggregators  a tax on each link it offers for users’ requests. The CCIA has advocated against what it calls protectionist IP policies for more than 25 years.

“To fulfil pledges to remove trade barriers, USTR needs to confront the growth of trade barriers erected under the cover of copyright law changes,” declared CCIA President & CEO Ed Black. “These practices in Europe and other countries are aimed at a key US export sector and threaten legitimate services trade and the flow of information over the Internet.”

“The US is the leader in digital trade and exporter of Internet services. When other countries chip away at Internet freedom for their citizens, and encourage Internet companies to censor or tax results to search inquiries, these are issues not just for diplomats to fight for on humanitarian grounds, but also for trade officials to fight over for economic reasons.”

“The tech industry would encourage USTR to note the importance and growing prevalence of these problems around the world in their report and use existing agreements to fight these trade violations,” he concluded.

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