Monthly Archives: August 2016

August 31, 2016 | News, Press Releases

Internet Association Responds To Post-Hearing Questions On ICANN

BECKERMAN: “The transition plan aligns the interests of internet users, prevents capture by any one stakeholder group or government such as China or Russia, and lays the foundation for a stable and secure internet.”

 

Washington, D.C. – Following his testimony to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation regarding the Internet Association’s support for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)’s plan to transition oversight of the domain name system to a multistakeholder model, Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of the Internet Association, received post-hearing questions from Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). Today, the Internet Association responded to the inquiry.

“The internet industry supports transitioning ICANN from U.S. government control to the self-regulatory model developed through the multistakeholder process,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of the Internet Association. “The transition plan aligns the interests of internet users, prevents capture by any one stakeholder group or government such as China or Russia, and lays the foundation for a stable and secure internet.”

In response to the committee’s question about the ICANN community’s commitment to mitigating Domain Name System abuse through contract enforcement, Beckerman reiterated the internet industry’s support for ICANN’s ability to enforce its contracts with registries and registrars.

“The Internet Association firmly supports the ability of ICANN to enforce its contracts with registries and registrars.  As a group of companies entirely reliant on a stable and trustworthy internet, it is in our interest to prevent abusive behavior in the Domain Name System. Critical to that safe environment is a system in which all stakeholders do their part to ensure illicit activity is minimized.”

Responding to the committee’s question about the potential effectiveness, and subsequent enforcement, of a recently proposed accountability proposal, Beckerman reassured the committee that the provisions have preserved ICANN’s ability to enforce existing contracts.

However the submitted response also notes that “at the same time, it is important to note that ICANN has a narrow technical remit and, as ICANN CEO Göran Marby recently pledged, does not have the authority or capability to ‘interpret or enforce laws regulating websites or website content.’”

To read the full response, click here.

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August 16, 2016 | News, Statements

Statement on Fair Use

WASHINGTON, D.C.Internet Association President & CEO, Michael Beckerman, issued the following statement for the record in regards to the House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Trade Hearing on Expanding U.S. Digital Trade and Eliminating Barriers to U.S. Digital Exports:

“Balanced copyright protections such as fair use foster innovation, promote growth, and preserve the free and open internet.  And the U.S. internet sector — as well as small businesses that use the internet to reach global customers — requires balanced copyright rules in other regions in order to do business in those markets.  Yet many countries are now engaging in new forms of digital protectionism to halt the growth of U.S. internet services.  To counter this threat, the U.S. must defend and promote a fully balanced copyright framework in its trade agreements that reflects U.S. law.  If the U.S. simply exports one part of U.S. law — strong copyright protection and enforcement — and not critical limitations and exceptions that enable the digital economy, we will put U.S. export leadership in the digital economy at risk.

“The balance at the heart of U.S. copyright law is simple.  Copyright law provides exclusive rights to authors to incentivize the creation of new works,1 and it grants critical limitations and exceptions in laws that promote the public good through legal access to works.2  The most important of these exceptions is fair use, which allows content to be reproduced and used in ways that do not unreasonably harm the interests of the work’s author.3  Fair use enables U.S. internet services to provide snippets of news articles, show thumbnails of photos, index copies of webpages for search purposes, store and transfer information around the world via cloud services, analyze large data samples to build machine learning tools, and launch countless other current (and future) innovations.  These fair use-dependent services empower consumers, help creators connect globally, and fuel the U.S. economy.

“It is not an accident that the United States is home to the most innovative internet companies and the leading creative industries in the world.  Balanced copyright law drives the growth of these complementary industries.4  Creators and authors continue to thrive,5 while industries benefiting from fair use in the United States generate $4.5 trillion of revenue and add $2.4 trillion of value to the U.S. economy on an annual basis.6

“Given that 95 percent of consumers now reside in other countries, much of this growth and value-add is driven by exports of U.S. internet services, as well as exports of non-internet services and goods via U.S. internet platforms.  However, the rise of digital protectionism abroad threatens this growth.  Such threats may come as a result of intentional decisions to target U.S. internet services by laws such as ancillary copyright that take away limitations and exceptions, as USTR highlighted in its 2016 National Trade Estimate.7  Alternatively, these threats may emerge when a country increases its level of copyright enforcement in order to comply with trade obligations or diplomatic pressure, but fails to balance these new enforcement rules with flexible rules such as fair use.8  In either case, unbalanced copyright frameworks serve as significant market barriers to U.S. services.  

“To combat this trend, the U.S. must ensure that a digitally-focused trade policy is fully embedded in future trade agreements, in implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and in trade enforcement efforts.

“A number of U.S. trading partners — regardless of their system of law or level of development — already embrace fair use or other similar flexible frameworks that drive innovation in the digital environment.  Countries such as Israel, Malaysia, South Korea, the Philippines, and Singapore can and do maintain high levels of intellectual property protection and enforcement, while also providing fair use-style limitations and exceptions that meet the needs of the internet sector, content creators, and users.  Courts in these countries have not faced any significant complaints that they cannot handle the interpretive issues at stake in fair use jurisprudence.9  These countries have produced a significant corpus of fair use decisions and precedent that has been remarkably consistent in its articulation of the relevant principles and constraints.  In fact, one study assessing these countries found that the adoption of fair use language was associated with positive economic outcomes both for companies that depend on copyright enforcement and for companies that depend on copyright exceptions.10  

“Contrary to certain assertions, fair use does not provide a ‘blank check’ or a ‘loophole’ for countries to circumvent copyright protections.  Instead, under TPP and other agreements that incorporate the Berne Convention “three-step test,”11 countries may grant exceptions for reproductions in “certain special cases” where a reproduction “does not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work” and “does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author.”12  Fair use satisfies the three-step test, given that all fair use frameworks require courts to assess whether a use damages the value or potential market of a work.  A broader, blanket exception for any kind of infringing use would not be consistent with the Berne Convention test.

“The internet industry believes the U.S. should continue to negotiate and implement trade agreements that help our trading partners modernize their copyright regimes for the digital environment.  These reforms are a win-win for content creators and consumers and will help countries build the legal certainty necessary to drive innovation and growth.”

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1  17 U.S.C. § 106.
17 U.S.C. §§ 107-122.
3 17 U.S.C. § 107.
4 See Ben Sheffner, MPAA and Fair Use: A Quick History, http://www.mpaa.org/mpaa-and-fair-use-a-quick-history (“Our members rely on the fair use doctrine every day when producing their movies and television shows – especially those that involve parody and news and documentary programs. . . No thinking person is ‘for’ or ‘against’ fair use in all circumstances.”).
5 http://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/25-billion-the-best-number-to-happen-to-the-music-business
6 Thomas Rogers & Andrew Szamosszegi, Fair Use in the U.S. Economy: Economic Contribution of Industries Relying on Fair Use (CCIA: 2011).
7 2016 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers, https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/2016-NTE-Report-FINAL.pdf.
8 See Supplemental Comments of Computer & Communications Industry Association, In re 2016 Special 301 Review, Docket No. USTR-2015-0022. As the level of copyright enforcement in a foreign jurisdiction increases, market access issues in that jurisdiction often shift from infringement-related barriers to barriers regarding “liability for copying incidental to common Internet services and communications platforms.”
9 See Supplemental Comments of American University Washington College of Law – Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, In re 2016 Special 301 Review, Docket No. USTR-2015-0022.
10 Mike Palmedo, Firm Performance in Countries With & Without Open Copyright Exceptions, http://infojustice.org/archives/34386.
11 TPP Art. 18.65.
12 Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works Art. 9.2.
13 See, e.g., Harper & Row v. Nation Enterprises, 471 U.S. 539 (1985) (characterizing the effect on the market as “the single most important element of fair use”).

 

 

August 4, 2016 | News, Statements

Statement in Support of the DOJ Decision on Consent Decrees

Washington, DC – Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman issued the following statement in support of the DOJ’s decision to close its review of consent decrees:

“The internet industry applauds the DOJ’s decision regarding the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees. Competitive dynamics in the music licensing industry are more problematic today than when the consents were first put into place, making the case for the consents stronger than ever before. ASCAP and BMI’s market power is at an all time high and should not be left unfettered.

“The legal certainty and the careful guidance provided by DOJ maps out helpful rules of the road regarding access to creative works. This is particularly relevant for music delivered through the internet, which must be afforded fair and equal treatment by all actors in the digital music ecosystem. We are pleased that the DOJ Antitrust Division agrees with our position and we commend its common sense decision.”

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August 3, 2016 | News, Press Releases

Internet Association Hires Chief Economist

Beckerman: “The internet is a data driven industry, and we look forward to bringing this mindset to the policy arena with good data driven policy arguments.”

 

Washington, DC – The Internet Association announced today that Dr. Christopher Hooton has joined the organization as Chief Economist. Hooton comes to the Internet Association from the World Bank, where he was a researcher and advisor on a variety of economic studies and analyses.

“The internet industry creates immense economic value, and it is essential that policymakers are armed with the information they need to create sound public policy,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of the Internet Association. “Chris’s rich experience in econometric analysis and thought leadership makes him an excellent fit as we continue to advocate on behalf of the internet economy.”

At the World Bank and other organizations, Hooton led and advised research teams studying economic conditions and market trends. Hooton also served as a Lecturer at the University of Cambridge, where he designed and taught a course on policy and program evaluation, and has authored dozens of academic papers and industry and policy reports.

“The internet is a data driven industry, and we look forward to bringing this mindset to the policy arena with good data driven policy arguments. Whether exploring the economic opportunity created by future-proof legislation, like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or examining the potential of the sharing economy, Chris will bring immense value and creative insight to our advocacy moving forward,” Beckerman concluded.

Hooton is a graduate of University of Miami, earned a Masters degree from the London School of Economics, and received a PhD in economic development from the University of Cambridge.

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Latest News

Top Internet Business Leaders Confirmed To Speak At Internet Association’s Third Annual Virtuous Circle Summit BECKERMAN: “The value of the Virtuous Circle Summit is the conversations that take place when you bring together the leading voices in the internet innovation and policy space.” Washington, DC — Today, Internet Association announced its initial list of confirmed speakers Read more »

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