US’s Provision For International Copyright Laws
The TPP is an important trade agreement which is currently negotiated between nine Pacific Rim countries. In an e-mail addressed to the media on Tuesday, the USTR seems to address exceptions that were not included in a leaked draft of the TPP to copyright restrictions, an ArsTechnica report reveals.
“For the first time in any US 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,” Carol Guthrie – spokesperson for the USTR – wrote in an e-mail to Ars Technica.
“These principles are critical aspects of the US copyright system, and appear in both our law and jurisprudence. The balance sought by the US 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 “3-step test” – established in international law back in 1967 – allows for exceptions to copyright restrictions which do not “conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author.”
“Recognizing the limitations and exceptions is generally a very positive development,” said Rashmi Rangnath, staff attorney at Public Knowledge. However, she also added that hers and others’ concerns would “depend on the proposal’s wording.”
Jonathan Band – a Washington, DC-based intellectual property attorney – said in an e-mail sent to Ars Technica on Tuesday:
“This is a very positive development.”
“This is the first time that the US has sought language of this sort in an international agreement. From the blog one can’t discern the precise language, which of course makes a big difference in how effective it will be on the ground. Nonetheless, this appears to be a big step in the right direction. Hopefully it will be well received by the other negotiating partners, and perhaps they will make it even stronger.”
Despite all this “positivism”, TPP is still raising a lot of questions, not to mention the secrecy surrounding it. Furthermore, the EFF called it “ACTA-plus”.
Parker Higgins, an activist at the EFF said that the organization “opposes this new proposal, which was made without allowing for input from public interest groups and other interested stakeholders. The USTR may try to paint the “3-step-test” in a positive light, but it actually imposes rigid constraints on the sorts of “fair use” provisions countries may enact.”