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Let’s talk trade agreements and the DMCA

  • date icon October 24, 2014
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Yesterday, Ambassador Michael Froman released an essay in which he made a push for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation in order for “countries to put their best and final offers on the table.”  This essay comes in advance of an upcoming October 25 meeting in Australia of trade ministers involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – a trade agreement currently being negotiated between  North America and Asia-Pacific nations.  

As Congress debates TPA and the United States Trade Representative negotiates trade agreements such as TPP, we urge the U.S. government to promote policies that support Internet enabled trade.  These policies  include the intermediary liability protections afforded by the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which enable innovators to  invest time, money, and talent to continuously create new services.

Currently, the Internet accounts for 21% of GDP growth in advanced economies and facilitates $8 trillion each year in e-commerce.  Previously, The Internet Association found that our companies’ platforms empower small business owners and consumers. More specifically, Internet enabled part-time business not only contributes $141B to the U.S. economy and employs 6.6M people but also creates a pathway for a small business owner to reach global markets in the same way as a multinational.  In other words, the Internet enables Main Street America to trade globally.

The Internet knows no borders.  U.S. trade policy, in addition to agreements such as the TPP, must reflect policies, such as the DMCA, that support development of the Internet economy and digital trade worldwide.

Just last week, we saw another leaked version of the TPP Intellectual Property (IP) chapter.  While there is uncertainty as to what the current text looks like – the leaked version seems to be from May of this year – the DMCA-like language is in a non-paper addendum to the main text.  The Internet Association continues to push for strong policies such as DMCA to be incorporated explicitly in the TPP treaty itself to ensure a strong, robust Internet ecosystem.