Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership Could Be Good for Filmmakers

Trans-Pacific PartnershipThe embattled Trans-Pacific Partnership certainly has its share of detractors, but it seems Hollywood is not one of them. In fact, the film industry could benefit from the free trade deal if it is approved by the governments of the 12 member nations. 

Mixed feelings towards the Trans-Pacific Partnership

TPP has been magnet for controversy. It was negotiated mostly in secret and could be a blow to manufacturing and agriculture. In the United States, a substantial number of lawmakers and both Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, the presidential nominees for the two major parties, have criticized the deal. Trump, 2016’s Republican nominee, has tweeted about TPP on numerous occasions.  

However, TPP also has its share of supporters and members of the film industry are among them. This is because of what the agreement would do for copyright laws and Internet regulations. 

Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership may be good for the film industry

The trade deal would standardize copyright and online services laws in the Pacific Rim. Jean Prewitt, president of the Independent Film & Television Alliance, explained that the TPP’s provisions on copyright law are necessary because of how the film industry is changing, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Movies have a longer life, as far as use goes, than ever before. In addition to longer shelf life, the frequency of sequels means stronger copyright protections are needed. Prewitt added that the agreement would have no effect on selling film rights on a territory-by-territory basis. 

How the Trans-Pacific Partnership would affect copyright and Internet services regulations

What would the Trans-Pacific Partnership change? It would create a standard copyright length of at least the author’s life plus 70 years in all of the member countries. In addition, the trade agreement would strengthen copyright protection mechanisms. In terms of the Internet, the deal would provide Internet service providers in member nations with “safe harbors” like those provided by U.S. notice and takedown law. TPP would also promote the free flow of data across borders in the Pacific Rim. That’s not every way that TPP would affect the film industry, however. The trade deal would also bar trade duties on digital products. Additionally, it would prohibit applying common analog rules to online services. 

So will the Trans-Pacific Partnership be passed?

Whether or not the trade deal will pass in the governments of the 12 member nations is still uncertain. The extent of the opposition to TPP could kill the deal, and subsequently its provisions standardizing Internet services and copyright laws in the Pacific Rim. Chances are in the U.S. the fate of the trade deal won’t be decided until after the election in November. 

If the deal is passed, though, it would significantly affect all sorts of business in the 12 member nations, which include Japan, New Zealand, Mexico and Canada, among others. It is notable that the deal does not include China – this includes the film industry. 

If you’re still unsure of how the Trans-Pacific Partnership could change copyright and Internet service regulations, contact me, Anthony Caruso, to discuss the matter further.

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Anthony R. Caruso is a business transactional attorney in New York and New Jersey with experience in structuring, negotiation and completion of legal deals involving business, entrepreneurs, athletes and performers.

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