USTR’s Special 301 Report Highlights Key IP Issues but Misses Importance of Copyright Concerns in Canada
Washington, DC; May 4, 2015 — The Association of American Publishers (AAP) applauds the release of the US Trade Representative (USTR) 2015 Special 301 Report, identifying many key copyright concerns and market-access barriers in U.S. trading partners.
However, AAP is disappointed that the 2015 Report again fails to identify as a priority the harm caused to publishers and authors by Canada’s undefined “education” as fair dealing exception. The detrimental effects of the overly-broad “education” exception are already being demonstrated by the dramatic drop in previously reliable licensing revenue for publishers and authors and the decision by some publishing houses that they can no longer afford to operate in the Canadian market. Active engagement by the U.S. and Canada to remedy the damage should not be put off any longer. Both U.S. and Canadian educational publishers, and the consumers they serve, will be the inevitable victims of a further decline in the educational publishing sector in Canada.
AAP appreciates the Report’s call for China to increase enforcement against persistent online piracy, including unauthorized access to scientific, technical and medical journals. Many countries whose IP practices are particularly problematic to publishers and authors were among the 37 U.S. trading partners listed in the 2015 Report: China, India, Indonesia and Russia are among the 13 on the Report’s Priority Watch List and Canada and Vietnam are among the 24 listed on the Watch List. While many of these countries have regularly appeared on the list, the inclusion of updates on positive developments in previously listed countries reflects the value of the Special 301 process and Report to encourage meaningful improvement in IP and market access through a cooperative and open dialogue with our trading partners.
Tom Allen, President & CEO of AAP said:
“While we recognize that the U.S. government hears about numerous concerns from a diverse IP-based industry sector, publishers are concerned that the situation in Canada is worsening. This is detrimental to our global, knowledge-based economy. We urge the U.S. to encourage Canada to narrow the application of the education as fair dealing exception in order to stop further harm to publishers and authors in Canada and preserve an environment that supports investment in and fair access to high-quality educational materials.”
Find the 2015 Special 301 Report from USTR here.
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) represents about four hundred member organizations including major commercial, digital learning and education and professional publishers alongside independents, non-profits, university presses and scholarly societies. We represent the industry’s priorities on policy, legislative and regulatory issues regionally, nationally and worldwide. These include the protection of intellectual property rights and worldwide copyright enforcement, digital and new technology issues, funding for education and libraries, tax and trade, censorship and literacy. Find us online at www.publishers.org or on twitter at @AmericanPublish.