US creatives call for copyright protection
February 2, 2022
By Colin Mann
America’s leading creative industries have filed their annual ‘Special 301’ submission to the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), asking the US government to ensure its trading partners provide strong copyright laws, effectively and efficiently enforce those laws, and eliminate other discriminatory and restrictive barriers to digital trade in music, movies, TV programming, literary works, video games, and other copyrighted materials.
According to the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), a private sector coalition of trade associations representing US copyright-based industries working to improve copyright protection and enforcement, opening these markets, including by strengthening copyright policies and enforcement, is critical for US creative industries to continue their substantial contributions to the nation’s economy, which in 2019 represented $1.5 trillion in economic output and almost six million well-paying American jobs, nearly 4.5 per cent of total domestic private employment.
“The US creative industries create millions of well-paying, quality jobs and grow the economy, while enriching our lives and culture every day,” noted Kevin M. Rosenbaum, IIPA Executive Director. “Creators have done their part, embracing new technologies and making creative content widely and conveniently available in legitimate markets online. The US government should support those efforts by working to address foreign governments’ policies and practices that deny adequate protection and enforcement of copyright and fair and equitable access to their markets.”
“Opening key markets around the world to products and services that embody American creativity, support US jobs, and promote creators’ contributions to our economy and society, should be a key component of the Administration’s worker-centred trade policy,” he asserted. “We commend USTR and interagency partners for working through very challenging circumstances again this year to ensure the Special 301 process remains a positive catalyst for change.”
IIPA’s submission focuses on several key markets and recommends the following:
- Eleven countries—Argentina, Chile, China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russian Federation, South Africa, Ukraine, and Vietnam—for placement on USTR’s Priority Watch List; and
- Eight—Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Poland, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and United Arab Emirates—for placement on USTR’s Watch List.
Among the cross-cutting challenges highlighted in IIPA’s Special 301 submission are:
- Alarming trends in national copyright law amendments that weaken copyright protections below minimum global norms.
- The need for stronger legal frameworks to address online piracy, including incentives for intermediaries to work with copyright owners, and effective injunctive relief to remedy online theft of intellectual property.
- The global proliferation of Piracy Devices: set-top boxes and other devices weaponised with software and apps that enable unauthorised access to streaming music, video, games, and published materials. China is the major source of Piracy Devices, which undermine legitimate digital marketplaces worldwide.
- Stream-ripping services and other illegal means of circumventing the technological protection measures that are essential to the delivery of digital consumer goods and services—whether they are streamed, downloaded, accessed online, or purchased in physical form.
- Many trading partners still need to accede to, or fully implement, the World Intellectual Property Organization Internet Treaties, which set global, minimum copyright standards for the digital environment.
- Market access barriers include taxes, rules, and regulations that discriminate against US copyright-based businesses and their products.