The Authors Guild applauds Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Coons (D-DE), Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property for their March 13th letter to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer urging the Administration to not include language mirroring Section 512 safe harbor provisions in a potential US-UK free trade agreement.
In this letter, Sens. Tillis and Coons write that “copyright safe harbors have been the subject of much controversy, and many have called on Congress to revisit these provisions…” Indeed, the Authors Guild has, for many years, advocated Congress to reform the safe harbor provision to better reflect the digital age. The safe harbors have been interpreted by the courts in a manner that leaves individual creators with no recourse against online piracy—no recourse, that is, except the notoriously frustrating and ineffective notice-and-takedown process.
Exporting language mirroring the outdated 22-year old Digital Millennium Copyright Act while it is being reviewed by Congress would be irresponsible and detrimental to our already suffering creative community. The U.S. should be looking to establish the intellectual property rules of the road for the next 50 years, and not foist old, obsolete laws onto our trading partners.
The Authors Guild is encouraged that Sens. Tillis and Coons recognize this distinction and we look forward to working with them as they continue their DMCA review.