THE UNITED STATES Trade Representative (USTR) has taken the surprising decision to consider expanding copyright exceptions and limitations in certain cases.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement linking the US and a number of other countries has a list of copyright exceptions and limitations, which in theory should strike a balance between content creators and consumers.
However the USTR has taken the surprising step of wanting to expand the copyright exceptions and limitations for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship and research.
The USTR office said it will propose a new provision that is along the lines of the three-step test that has been adopted in other international trade treaties.
According to a statement issued by the USTR office, it said, "These principles are critical aspects of the US copyright system, and appear in both our law and jurisprudence. The balance sought by the US TPP proposal recognizes and promotes respect for the important interests of individuals, businesses, and institutions who rely on appropriate exceptions and limitations in the TPP region."
If this sounds a little too good to be true, it might be because the USTR office didn't detail its proposal any further than referring to the three-step system. Also the USTR office claimed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) actually helps "cloud computing, user-generated content sites and a host of other internet-related services".
The USTR office will make the TPP proposal at an upcoming meeting in San Diego. µ