This week marked the successful conclusion of the second to last U.S. based round of negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership. As we have reported before, the TPP is a trade agreement being negotiated between 11 countries, and seeks to enhance trade and investment between those nations.
This last round of negotiations, held from July 2-10th in San Diego, CA, was of specific interest to those in the creative community as it focused on copyright and other intellectual property issues. As with previous rounds of negotiations, the meetings included opportunities for stakeholders to share their thoughts and weigh-in on the process with the delegations of negotiators. Opportunities for stakeholders to interact with negotiators included one-on-one meetings with negotiators during stake-holder day, various privately sponsored events organized by stake holders, and a special session for stakeholders to make presentations to negotiators. We met with a majority of the delegations during stakeholder day, and hosted an evening featuring conversations with and performances by musicians and songwriters.
An update on the negotiations from USTR can be read here.
A particularly significant development during the negotiations was an announcement by USTR that the U.S government is proposing a provision to obligate signatories to the agreement to:
“seek to achieve an appropriate balance in their copyright systems [by] providing copyright exceptions and limitations for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research." Which is “consistent with the internationally recognized 3-step test.”
As the USTR recognizes,
“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.”
We agree. Too often discussions about copyright law ignore the fact that copyright law is a tapestry that consists of rights, and exceptions and limitations on those rights. As the name of our organization suggests, we embrace copyright law in its entirety, including exceptions and limitations, like fair use, appropriately applied. Artists and creators are not only copyright holders, but in their work they are also consumers and collaborators who rely on the copyrighted works of others. We depend on the appropriate balance struck in copyright law that allows creators to innovate and create, to gather news, to comment, critique, teach and engage with one another.
We look forward to continuing these positive discussions on issues related to intellectual property.