August 16, 2017
Dear Ambassador Lighthizer,
The undersigned groups represent the interests of a diverse group of small and mediumÂ businesses (SMEs) and individual creators in the creative fields. What unites us is aÂ reliance on meaningful and effective copyright laws. Together, the core copyrightÂ industries contribute over $1.2 trillion to U.S. GDP, employ 5.5 million workers, andÂ contribute a positive trade balanceâand SMEs and individual creators make up aÂ significant part of these industries.
The internetâs global reach has made copyright protections and enforcement increasinglyÂ important to free trade agreements. The small and medium businesses we represent areÂ often on the forefront of exploring new models for making creative works available on aÂ global scale. Widespread copyright infringement and unduly broad limitations toÂ copyright protection distort overseas markets and undermine the ability of our membersÂ to successfully and fairly engage in commerce.
The effort to renegotiate NAFTA provides an opportunity to modernize the copyrightÂ provisions of the agreement for the digital age and establish a template for futureÂ agreements. We urge you to look beyond the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) andÂ to seek the highest standard of protection for businesses and creators that rely on strongÂ copyright to compete successfully overseas.
Specific priorities for small and medium enterprises, as well as individual creators,Â include the following:
â¢ Strong and meaningful copyright protection and enforcement. The agreementÂ should recognize the full scope of copyright rights, including making available, andÂ remedies such as injunctive relief and statutory damages.
â¢ Effective enforcement provisions. Trade agreements are critical to fosteringÂ legitimate online marketplaces. A modernized NAFTA should respond to the challengesÂ facing creators by including provisions to ensure effective enforcement and requiringÂ legal protections for technological protection measures and rights managementÂ information.
â¢ Appropriate limitations and exceptions. NAFTA should reinforce the âthree stepâÂ test for limitations and exceptions that has been the international standard forÂ decades. The three-step test strikes the appropriate balance in copyright, and anyÂ language mandating broader exceptions and limitations only serves as a vehicle toÂ introduce uncertainty into copyright law, distort markets and weaken the rights of theÂ small and medium businesses and creators we represent. For that reason, we stronglyÂ urge USTR to not include âbalanceâ language similar to what appeared in the TPP or anyÂ reference to vague, open-ended limitations.
â¢ Incentives for service providers to cooperate with copyright owners inÂ addressing online infringement. Few SMEs have the means to devote resources toÂ policing online infringement, and we therefore rely on service providers takingÂ reasonable steps to minimize piracy that occurs on their platforms. To promote incentivesÂ for service providers to cooperate with copyright owners to address online infringement,Â the copyright provisions in NAFTA should establish appropriate standards forÂ intermediary liability as well as appropriate safe harbor protections for intermediaries.Â We urge negotiators to provide for safe harbor protections in broader terms than howÂ theyâve appeared in recent trade agreements. Congress and the U.S. Copyright Office areÂ currently reviewing U.S. copyright law, and we want to make sure lawmakers have theÂ flexibility to address shortcomings in domestic safe harbor provisions.
We thank you for your consideration of our priorities and look forward to working withÂ 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 Publishersâ Association â Action Fund
Digital Media Licensing Association
Graphic Artists Guild
Nashville Songwriters Association International
National Press Photographers Association
Society of Childrenâs Book Writers and Illustrators
Songwriters Guild of America
Songwriters of North America
Textbook & Academic Authors Association
Western Writers of America