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House TPA Passage Praised

Various groups are praising House passage of the Trade Promotion Authority bill, which would, among other things, make it clear that trade protections include digital as well as physical goods.

The President has said that digital protection promotes a "free and open Internet."

The bill appeared stalled last week—it passed but could not proceed without passage of another bill, whose passage was blocked—but got new life from Republican House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and passed by a close vote of 218 to 208. It now heads to the Senate, which has to vote on it, although it has already passed its own, different, version of TPA last month (it's complicated).

TV and movie producers represented by the Motion Picture Association of America have been strongly in favor of the bill, which also grants the President "fast track" authority to negotiate bills, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership bill, which MPAA also supports.

TPP would expand trade and access to creative content to much of the Asia-Pacific region, MPAA has said, including creating what it calls "strong standards for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights for the 21st century."

In making the economic case for the authority last week, MPAA chairman Chris Dodd said: “From seamstresses and carpenters to electricians and camera grips, the film and television industry supports an enormous amount of good-paying American jobs. Supporting TPA and the U.S. trade agenda – including TPP – will enhance America’s competitive advantage around the world and allow our industry to drive even more economic activity here at home.”

Not only TV show makers, but TV set makers, support TPA.

“We are thrilled the House today again voted for TPA," said Consumer Electronics Association president Gary Shapiro. "This vote is a huge step with the Administration and for a nation which rejects isolationism and protectionism. TPA simply requires the Congress approve or reject trade agreements the President negotiates. Every recent president has had this authority and it is necessary for this president and the next president to have credibility at the negotiating table. We hope and expect similar Senate action soon.”

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.