Washington — The United States is proposing a new copyright provision to Asia-Pacific trade partners that is intended to protect the rights of intellectual property creators across the region and also offer proper exceptions and limitations to benefit consumers.
“For the first time in any U.S. trade agreement, the United States is proposing a new provision … 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,” U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk’s office said in a July 3 statement.
“The copyright system is an engine of free expression and a major building block in the world economy,” the USTR statement said. It added that the copyright system is meant to play a critical role in promoting and disseminating works of authorship while balancing exceptions and limitations to benefit “large and small businesses, consumers, authors, artists and workers in the information, entertainment and technology sectors” in countries around the world.
The statement said the new proposal “recognizes and promotes respect for the important interests of individuals, businesses and institutions who rely on appropriate exceptions and limitations in the [Trans-Pacific Partnership] region.”
The United States officially proposed the provision during the July 2–10 Trans-Pacific Partnership talks in San Diego.
The 13th round of TPP negotiations brought together representatives from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Peru and the United States. Mexico and Canada have been invited to join the partnership but were not scheduled to participate in the latest round of talks.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, created in 2006 by Singapore, New Zealand and Chile, seeks to open trade in the Asia-Pacific area to support new jobs, strengthen regional relations and eventually create a free-trade area. It sets modern trade standards, including ensuring worker rights and protecting the environment.
Kirk has said finishing the trade deal is an integral part of President Obama’s goal to increase U.S. trade with the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region.
The partners last met in May in Dallas, and are expected to meet for the next round of negotiations later in 2012.