WASHINGTON – Today, over seventy international copyright law experts called for NAFTA and other trade negotiators to support a set of balanced copyright principles. The experts urge trade negotiators to support policies like fair use, safe harbor provisions, and other exceptions and limitations that permit and encourage access to knowledge, flourishing creativity, and innovation. Signatories include preeminent intellectual property professors and experts from law schools, think tanks, and public interest organizations in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, as well as Argentina, Australia, China, Ireland, and Switzerland.
“Most people don’t realize that everyday tools like social media, search engines, and internet archives rely on balanced copyright policies like fair use and safe harbor provisions. In a world that increasingly relies on the internet, global citizens need to access digital content for education, research, and culture. NAFTA and other trade agreements should not export a one-sided copyright policy, but instead reflect the digital realities of the 21st century,” said Sean Flynn, intellectual property professor at the American University Washington College of Law and Associate Director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP).
Signers lay out the following copyright principles to ensure consumers’ digital rights:
- Protect and promote copyright balance, including fair use
- Provide technology-enabling exceptions, such as for search engines and text- and data-mining
- Require safe harbor provisions to protect online platforms from users’ infringement
- Ensure legitimate exceptions for anti-circumvention, such as documentary filmmaking, cybersecurity research, and allowing assistive reading technologies for the blind
- Adhere to existing multilateral commitments on copyright term
- Guarantee proportionality and due process in copyright enforcement
The statement accompanies the release of new research from American University finding that balanced copyright policies in other foreign countries have positive effects on net income, total sales, and value-added by foreign affiliates of U.S. firms. More generally, it finds that increases in PIJIP’s “openness score” are associated with higher revenues in the information sector, without harming traditional copyright-intensive industries. In the U.S., fair use industries represent 16% of annual GDP and employ 18 million American workers. Another study found that the U.S. would lose 425,000 jobs and $44 billion in GDP each year without strong safe harbors.
Notable signers include Peter Jaszi and Sean Flynn with the American University Washington College of Law, Pam Samuelson with Berkeley Law, Mark A. Lemley with Stanford Law School, Michael Geist with the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law and legal experts from the Re:Create Coalition, OpenMedia, Creative Commons, R Street Institute, American Library Association, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Horizontal, R3D, Mexican National College of Librarians and Derechos Digitales.
The Washington Principles on Copyright Balance in Trade Agreements and the new research on Measuring the Impact of Copyright Balance are located at http://infojustice.org/flexible-use