IP PROVISIONS FALLING SHORT IN USMCA; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 206
(Extensions of Remarks - December 19, 2019)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1619]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                  IP PROVISIONS FALLING SHORT IN USMCA

                                 ______
                                 

                        HON. THEODORE E. DEUTCH

                               of florida

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, December 19, 2019

  Mr. DEUTCH. Madam Speaker, despite the new provisions intended to 
protect working families and support various industries in the USMCA, 
there is one very important group that has been left behind--authors, 
artists, and other creators.
  America's arts and entertainment industry is an important economic 
engine, with motion pictures and television alone accounting for $17.2 
billion in annual U.S. exports, representing 2.5 times the level of 
imports. It's also an important medium to share and celebrate American 
history, values and culture with the world, to lift up overlooked 
stories, and to bring us together. So, it is unfortunate that the USMCA 
includes a provision that makes it harder for working families in this 
industry to make a fair return on their work.
  That provision is Article 20.89 (Legal Remedies and Safe Harbors). 
Article 20.89 (Legal Remedies and Safe Harbors) should be excluded from 
future trade deals. It potentially allows online service providers to 
profit from copyright infringement to which they turn a blind eye. 
Article 20.89 is styled after Section 512 of the Digital Millennium 
Copyright Act (DMCA) known as the copyright safe harbor provision.
  Section 512 of DMCA became law in 1998, and to some, it seemed a good 
idea at the time--a way to help an infant industry grow. But after 
several bad court cases and technological advances, Section 512 
minimizes the responsibility of the big internet platforms to cooperate 
with rights holders to protect their livelihoods. That infant industry 
is now one of the world's biggest. And Section 512 undermines creative 
professionals instead of supporting them and enriches the big internet 
platforms at the expense of competitors who do not enjoy the same 
loophole.
  Today, the web consists of more than 6 billion pages, and on a high-
speed connection, it takes less than a minute to download a high 
definition movie. Illegal streaming, illegal downloading, and other 
forms of online piracy cost an estimated $29.2 billion and $71.0 
billion annually to the U.S. economy. Our trade agreements should help 
us combat international copyright theft instead of locking in a giant 
loophole that tilts the playing field against creative professionals.
  Section 512 has been under review by the Copyright Office since 2015, 
with a report expected soon.
  Congress should insist that Section 512-style rules should be omitted 
from future trade deals.

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