Fair Use Fans Find Fault with USMCA

The Trump Administration has gotten generally good reviews from various industry stakeholders for its reboot of NAFTA in the form of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), but it has heard some discouraging words from fans of the kind of fair-use standards U.S. copyrightholders are subject to here.

The USMCA’s IP chapter is a missed opportunity to truly adapt NAFTA to the 21st century," said Gus Rossi, Public Knowledge global policy director. “The goal of copyright law should be to encourage innovation and creation, and ultimately foster the advance and dissemination of knowledge and culture. That’s why U.S. law reflects a balanced approach to intellectual property, with important limitations and exceptions to the rights of copyright holders. In its present form, the USMCA exports only half of the American copyright system, locking in rightsholder protections in precise detail without most of their essential exceptions and limitations," including fair use exemptions. 

Related: New NAFTA Gets Some Good Marks From Tech

Rossi also had some process concerns, saying the negotiation could have used : " a modicum of transparency and public deliberation. Instead, the text was written entirely in secret..."

While The Internet Association, whose members include Facebook, Amazon Google and Twitter, is one of those that had generally positive things to say about USMCA, calling it "a ground-breaking trilateral trade agreement for the American digital economy," it pointed to the lack of fair use provisions and said it hoped the U.S. Trade Representative would include key fair use provisions "in the future," provisions that "U.S. innovators and creators depend upon."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.