March 31, 2017 |

Digital Trade A Key Focus In This Year’s National Trade Estimate

Today, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) released the 2017 National Trade Estimate (NTE) Report. The NTE is the administration’s annual review of significant foreign trade barriers. For this year’s report, IA submitted comments on key barriers in nearly 60 countries that impede U.S. small businesses, manufacturers, and users from leveraging the internet to export their goods and services abroad. We were pleased to see USTR address many of these barriers to internet-driven trade in this year’s report.

Why do digital trade barriers matter to U.S. economic growth and employment? The internet economy is responsible for 6 percent of U.S. GDP and more than 3 million American jobs. The U.S. has an incredible $159 billion trade surplus in digitally-deliverable services. Digital trade has added up to 2.4 million jobs to the U.S. economy. Yet this critical trade-enabling function of the internet is under threat, as internet services and apps face barriers and discriminatory treatment in foreign markets. Countries are increasingly implementing policies that limit the free flow of data, require data be stored in certain locations, use unbalanced intellectual property frameworks to block or limit U.S. exports, apply legacy public utility regulations to online services, or unreasonably impose liability on platforms that power trade for hundreds of thousands of U.S. small businesses. Removing these barriers can unlock significant U.S. economic growth through trade for nearly every sector of the U.S. economy.

IA welcomes this year’s NTE report and is encouraged by the administration’s commitment to digital trade as highlighted by the release of USTR’s “Key Barriers to Digital Trade” fact sheet. For the first time, USTR considered a number of new barriers to digital trade, including “unreasonable burdens on internet platforms for non-IP-related liability for user-generated content and activity.” In addition, USTR identified a number of specific market access barriers they will focus on in the coming year, including EU measures on “ancillary copyright” and “neighboring rights,” EU copyright filtering obligations, unreasonable intermediary liability obligations in countries like Thailand and India, application of legacy regulations to so-called “over-the-top” internet services in Indonesia and Vietnam, Chinese restrictions on U.S. cloud service providers, China’s extensive blocking of legitimate websites, and many other emerging digital barriers.

IA looks forward to working with USTR in the coming year to tackle these critical barriers to digital trade.

Correcting Misconceptions About The U.S. Patent System

There’s been a great deal of misinformation floating around about the inter partes review process (IPR) and how it impacts American inventors and innovators. So, ahead of today’s U.S. Patent Office Oversight (USPTO) Oversight Hearing with USPTO Director Andrei Iancu, IA wanted to correct some common myths about the U.S. patent system and IPR. MYTH: Read more »

From Player Pianos to Paper Notices: A Modern Update to Music Licensing Is Long Overdue

Rarely does a century-old musical instrument drive policy in Washington, but that’s exactly what’s happening in the music community at this moment. Everyone from Internet Association (IA) members to artists to record labels are supporting a new piece of legislation called the Music Modernization Act (MMA), that will help bring music licensing into the digital Read more »

Why Car Sharing Is Good For California Motorists

Cars are expensive to buy and maintain, and 95 percent of the time they sit unused. Fortunately for Californians, state lawmakers have the opportunity to make car ownership more affordable and practical. Assembly Bill 2873 would support internet-enabled car sharing, which connects vehicle owners with consumers and travelers. These legislative efforts have been stalled by rental Read more »

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IA and Columbia’s Richard Paul Richman Center today released a new research paper entitled, “Toward A Better Understanding Of Internet Economics.”

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