US Copyright Office's Proposal On Orphan Works Wouldn't Be Allowed If TPP Is Ratified
from the such-a-mess dept
We’ve been pointing out for ages that, contrary to what some claim, one of the biggest problems with including things like copyright and patents in international trade agreements like the TPP and TTIP is that it effectively binds Congress’ hands, by blocking them from fixing problems associated with those laws. We’ve highlighted in the past, for example, how the currently leaked draft of the TPP’s intellectual property section would require copyright terms to be at least life plus 70 years, which goes directly against what even the Copyright Office’s boss, Maria Pallante, has been arguing for, in terms of (finally) reducing copyright terms for the first time, ever.
Here’s yet another example. We already wrote about the Copyright Office’s (somewhat problematic) proposal on “orphan works” (a problem that is actually caused by moving away from a “formalities” system that requires registration). However, as Jamie Love at KEI points out, the Copyright Office’s own proposed legislation, would flat out contradict the language currently found in the leaked TPP intellectual property chapter.
Specifically, the so-called “orphan works” legislation being pushed by the Copyright Office would limit remedies, including possible compensation or injunctive relief, in certain specific instances for those who make use of “orphaned” works. Yet, the TPP requires that signatories offer monetary damages and injunctive relief to anyone whose work is infringed.
Thus, the Copyright Office’s own proposed regulations wouldn’t be allowed if the US signs the TPP or would lead to the risk that the US would face challenges either under the WTO or a corporate sovereignty (ISDS) tribunal for failing to adhere to the rules that it agreed to in that trade agreement.
Defenders of the TPP and TTIP insist that neither will change US copyright law as it stands today, but we keep finding examples of where it would bar changes that even the Copyright Office is advocating for. The Copyright Office is supposed to be working closely with the USTR on these agreements, but this raises some serious questions about whether the left hand has any idea what the right hand is doing.