×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Music Biz Says Trump’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement Falls Short on Content Protections

WASHINGTON — As President Donald Trump touted a revised trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada as a historic achievement, the music industry says it falls short of providing “modern copyright protections.”

Mitch Glazier, president of the Recording Industry Association of America, zeroed in on the inclusion of a safe harbor provision in the proposed text of the new pact, meant to be an updated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The safe harbor shields internet providers and tech companies from liability for piracy as long as they take infringing content down promptly upon notification of the copyright holder. Record labels, studios, and other content groups have long criticized the safe harbor provision of U.S. copyright law as putting too much of the burden on content owners to police piracy online.

“Unfortunately, the agreement’s proposed text does not advance adequate modern copyright protections for American creators,” Glazier said in a statement on Monday. “Instead, the proposal enshrines regulatory 20-year-old ‘safe harbor’ provisions that do not comport with today’s digital reality. These provisions enrich platforms that abuse outdated liability protections at the expense of American creators and the U.S. music community, which provides real jobs and is one of our nation’s biggest cultural assets.”

According to a summary of the agreement released on Monday, the new agreement will “establish appropriate copyright safe harbors to provide protection for IP and predictability for legitimate enterprises that do not directly benefit from the infringement, consistent with United States law.”

The RIAA and other music industry groups had lobbied against such a safe harbor provision in the new pact, even though it is similar to the one found in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.

“Modern trade treaties should advance the policy priority of encouraging more accountability on public platforms, not less,” Glazier said. “We are hopeful that the Administration and Congress will redouble their efforts to further this priority going forward, which is front and center in the national dialogue today.”

Congress still has to approve the new agreement.

The agreement also requires a copyright term of the life of the author plus 70 years, which is in line with other current U.S. copyright terms — such as those made “for hire” and owned by corporate entities — would have a minimum term of 75 years after first publication. Current U.S. law is 95 years.

Last year, a number of content industry groups argued that the safe harbor provisions should be “limited to passive neutral intermediaries and not platforms that are optimizing or promoting content.” The fear among the groups is that by including it in such a massive trade pact, it will be all the more difficult to make changes to the safe harbor provision in the future.

The Internet Association, which represents major companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon, had urged that a NAFTA revision include a safe harbor provision.

“Mexico has no copyright safe harbor regime, which means that U.S. service providers can be held liable under Mexican law even if they have a system in place to remove content,” the Internet Association said last year.

The IA said on Monday that it was still reviewing the text of the agreement.

The trade agreement also includes prohibitions on such things as recording of movies in theaters, as well as ex officio authority for law enforcement to stop suspected counterfeit or pirated goods at borders.

Update: David Israelite, the president and CEO of the National Music Publishers Association, said that the trade agreement does include gains for songwriters, in that it extends copyright terms in Canada.

“While the agreement did not adequately address safe harbor concerns, music creators should celebrate the significant improvement in the length of their copyrights,” he said, adding that the pact will bring Canadian copyright terms in line with the U.S. and other countries.

“This decision signals a renewed valuing of creators that we hope indicates the possibility of even more progress on protecting their work,” he said.

More Politics

  • Mueller Report Book Editions Top Amazon's

    Mueller Report Book Editions Shoot to Top of Best-Seller Lists at Amazon, Barnes & Noble

    Robert Mueller is now a best-selling author. Book publishers’ forthcoming editions of the special counsel’s report zoomed to the top of the Amazon’s and Barnes & Noble’s lists of book best-sellers Friday. That comes a day after the report was publicly released, culminating the nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election [...]

  • Pete Buttigieg Show Business Donations

    Mayor Pete Buttigieg Is Totally Up for Booking Phish for His Inauguration

    Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign seems to be going Phish-ing… in the best possible sense. (Unless you just hate the band Phish so much there is no best possible sense.) The Democratic presidential candidate has previously indicated his love for the group, and when a reporter suggested Phish play at his theoretical swearing-in festivities in 2021, [...]

  • National Enquirer - Jeff Bezos

    Hudson Media CEO James Cohen Purchases the National Enquirer

    Hudson Media’s CEO James Cohen announced Thursday that he will purchase the National Enquirer as well as American Media’s other tabloids, the Globe and the National Examiner. With the purchase of the National Enquirer, which Cohen reportedly bought for $100 million, he plans to strengthen their collaborative efforts, documentary shows, weekly podcasts, and theme parks. [...]

  • Donald Trump

    HBO Fires Back at Trump's 'Game of Thrones'-Inspired 'No Collusion' Tweet

    HBO is firing back at President Donald Trump after he sent another “Game of Thrones”-inspired tweet in response to the release of a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation. “Though we can understand the enthusiasm for ‘Game of Thrones’ now that the final season has arrived, we still prefer [...]

  • Mueller Report Released: Networks Cut the

    Networks Curb Their Enthusiasm, William Barr Flexes as Mueller Report Goes Public

    The run-up to Attorney General William Barr’s news conference regarding the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the conduct of President Donald Trump suggested it was just one component part of a busy news day, something close to business as usual. And the broadcast — in which Barr stormily defended the President as [...]

  • Mueller Report: Redacted Version of Trump

    Mueller's Report Details Possible Trump Obstruction but Reaches No Conclusion

    WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation leaves open the question of whether President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice, making clear that Trump was not exonerated. That was one of many takeaways after a redacted version of the highly anticipated document was released to the public on Thursday, captivating Congress, [...]

  • Attorney General Says Mueller Report Redactions

    Attorney General William Barr Defends Trump, Says Mueller Report Redactions Will Be 'Limited'

    WASHINGTON — Attorney General William Barr, in a press conference in advance of the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, said that the redactions will be limited. But speaking to reporters on Thursday, Barr also offered what amounted to a defense of President Trump’s conduct as Mueller’s investigation unfolded, in what Democrats and other [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content