Tag Archives: USMCA

USMCA Trade Deal Keeps DMCA-Style ‘Safe Harbor’ for ISPs

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/usmca-trade-deal-keeps-dmca-style-safe-harbor-for-isps-191212/

More than a quarter-century after the United States, Canada, and Mexico approved the NAFTA trade agreement, the North American countries have now signed off on a new trade deal.

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will accommodate changes in trade that the three countries have witnessed over the years, especially online.

The road to this final deal wasn’t without obstacles. After agreeing on the text a year ago, new demands and proposed changes were tabled, some of which were included in the Protocol of Amendments that was published this week.

The amendments don’t cover copyright issues, but the previously agreed text certainly does. For example, USMCA will require all countries to have a copyright term that continues for at least 70 years after the creator’s death.

For Canada, this means that the country’s current copyright term has to be extended by 20 years. This won’t happen instantly, as the country negotiated a transition period to consult the public on how to best meet this requirement. However, an extension seems inevitable in the long term.

Another controversial subject that was widely debated by experts and stakeholders is the DMCA-style ‘safe harbor’ text. In the US, ISPs are shielded from copyright infringement liability under the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA, and the new deal would expand this security to Mexico and Canada.

This expansion was welcomed by many large technology companies including Internet providers and hosting platforms. However, many major entertainment industry companies and rightsholder groups were not pleased with the plans, as they have been calling for safe harbor restrictions for years.

US lawmakers also raised concerns. Just a few weeks ago the House Judiciary Committee urged the US Trade Representative not to include any safe harbor language in trade deals while the Copyright Office is reviewing the effectiveness of the DMCA law.

As the USMCA negotiations reached the final stage, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi weighed in as well, trying to have safe harbor text removed from the new trade deal.

Despite this pushback, there is no mention of changes to the safe harbor section in the final amendments. This means that they will remain in the USMCA, much to the delight of major Internet companies.

That said, copyright liability protection also comes with obligations. The agreement specifies that ISPs should have legal incentives to work with ISPs to ensure that copyright infringements are properly dealt with.

This framework shall include “legal incentives for Internet Service Providers to cooperate with copyright owners to deter the unauthorized storage and transmission of copyrighted materials or, in the alternative, to take other action to deter the unauthorized storage and transmission of copyrighted materials,” the agreement reads.

The USMCA specifically mentions that ISPs must take down pirated content and implement a repeat infringer policy if they want to apply for safe harbor protection. This is largely modeled after the DMCA law.

The safe harbors for copyright infringement and the takedown requirements don’t apply to Canada as long as it continues to rely on its current notice-and-notice scheme. However, the country will enjoy safe harbors for other objectionable content, modeled after section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act.

While the three North American countries have reached an agreement, the text still has to be ratified into local law and policy. So it may take some time before it has any effect.

Commenting on the outcome, Canadian copyright professor Micheal Geist notes that the safe harbor for objectionable content is a win for freedom of expression. The additional 20-year copyright term is a setback, although the negative effects can be limited by requiring rightsholders to register for such an extension.

On the other side, rightsholders are also pleased, at least with parts of the new agreement.

“The USMCA’s provisions to strengthen copyright protections and enforcement will benefit the U.S. motion picture and television industry and support American jobs,” MPA Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin says.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

House Judiciary Committee Doesn’t Want ‘DMCA-Style’ Safe Harbor in Trade Agreements

Post Syndicated from Ernesto original https://torrentfreak.com/house-judiciary-committee-doesnt-want-dmca-style-safe-harbor-in-trade-agreements-190921/

When President Clinton signed the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) into law in 1998, its goal was to ready copyright law for the digital age.

The law introduced safe harbors for Internet services (DMCA Section 512), meaning that they can’t be held liable for their pirating users as long as they properly process takedown notices and deal with repeat infringers.

Today the four-letter acronym is known around the world and the United States appears keen to export it in future trade agreements. Most recently, a DMCA-style provision was added to the  United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which covers a wide variety of trade issues including copyright-related topics.

While this would have been welcomed by rightsholders twenty years ago, the situation looks quite different today. The music industry, in particular, believes that the DMCA is obsolete, dysfunctional, and even harmful. For these reasons, major industry groups would like to see it replaced with something ‘better.’

When the first draft of the USMCA was published, the RIAA made this clear in no uncertain terms. “Modern trade treaties should advance the policy priority of encouraging more accountability on public platforms, not less,” RIAA President Mitch Glazier said.

The issue was crucial enough to be specifically mentioned in the RIAA’s lobbying disclosures at the U.S. House and Senate. This may have had an effect, as this week the concerns were picked up by the House Judiciary Committee.

In a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the Judiciary Committee points out that Section 512 of the DMCA is widely debated and that “some” have called on Congress to update it.

The Committee notes that the U.S. Government conducted an in-depth review over the past years of which the results are expected soon. This may in part be impacted by the European Union’s new Copyright Directive which hints at potential upload filters and increases in liability for online service providers.

“The U.S. Copyright Office is expected to produce a report on Section 512 around the end of this year, the result of a multi-year process that started in 2015. Moreover, the European Union has recently issued a copyright directive that includes reforms to its analogous safe harbor for online platforms, which may have an impact on the U.S. domestic policy debate,” the letter reads.

The Judiciary Committee doesn’t take a position in this debate but it stresses that adding the widely contested safe harbor language to the USMCA and other trade agreements, would not be wise at this point.

“[W]e find it problematic for the United States to export language mirroring this provision while such serious policy discussions are ongoing,” the letter, signed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Ranking Member Doug Collins reads.

“For that reason, we do not believe a provision requiring parties to adopt a Section 512-style safe harbor system of the type mandated by Article 20.89 should continue to be included in future trade agreements,” the letter adds.

The Committee urges the USTR to take the matter seriously and consider the possible changes that are coming. This largely reflects the position of several major copyright industry groups, including the RIAA.

If the language is indeed removed or changed it will be a major setback for Internet services and various digital rights groups. This includes the Re:Create Coalition, which welcomed the inclusion of these protections last year.

A copy of the letter sent by the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary to the USTR is available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.