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USTR Introduces New Copyright Exceptions and Limitations Provision at San Diego TPP Talks

The copyright system is an engine of free expression and a major building block in the world economy. It plays a critical role in promoting and disseminating American works of authorship, and the balance of rights and exceptions and limitations achieved in U.S. law provides diverse benefits for large and small businesses, consumers, authors, artists, and workers in the information, entertainment, and technology sectors.

A robust copyright framework ensures that authors and creators are respected, investments (both intellectual and financial) are promoted, that limitations and exceptions provide an appropriate balance, and that enforcement measures are effective.

An important part of the copyright ecosystem is the limitations or exceptions placed on the exercise of exclusive rights in certain circumstances. In the United States, for example, consumers and businesses rely on a range of exceptions and limitations, such as fair use, in their businesses and daily lives. Further, under the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the United States provides safe harbors limiting copyright liability, which help to ensure that legitimate providers of cloud computing, user-generated content sites, and a host of other Internet-related services who act responsibly can thrive online.

TPP -- Copyright Exceptions and Limitations

For the first time in any U.S. trade agreement, the United States is proposing a new provision, consistent with the internationally-recognized “3-step test," that will obligate Parties to seek to achieve an appropriate balance in their copyright systems in providing copyright exceptions and limitations for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. These principles are critical aspects of the U.S. copyright system, and appear in both our law and jurisprudence. The balance sought by the U.S. TPP proposal recognizes and promotes respect for the important interests of individuals, businesses, and institutions who rely on appropriate exceptions and limitations in the TPP region.

The United States is proposing this at the current round of TPP talks in San Diego.  The proposal has benefited from the input of a wide range of stakeholders, and we look forward to discussing it further and sharing more information as the TPP negotiations progress.