(Nikkei: March 20, 2015 – p. 4)
The U.S. is calling for stronger protection of online copyright content, such as Walt Disney animations and Hollywood films, in Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement negotiations, demanding that countries participating in the trade pact require telecommunication service providers in their countries delete content if it is posted without permit. Japan is in line with the U.S., but the proposal may raise the hackles of some emerging countries.
U.S. telecommunication carriers are obliged to immediately delete content when they are informed by Internet users about suspected copyright violations, regardless of whether they are true or not.
Though the U.S. is demanding other TPP members impose a similar regulation, it is proposing copyright-protected content be allowed to be distributed online freely within the TPP region without restrictions.
The U.S. is directing a warning to emerging countries, such as Brunei and Vietnam. Many emerging countries do not have sufficient systems to protect online copyrights. There are cases that U.S. movies were broadcast without permit.
In Japan, online distribution of digital content is regulated by the “Act on Provider Responsibility.” If content suspected of copyright violation is posted, a decision on whether to delete the item is, in principle, left in the hands of telecommunication companies. But in reality, suspected content is immediately removed if an industrial body which oversees copyright management reports to telecommunication firms. The government has already told the U.S. during TPP talks that measures are already well in place to protect online copyrights.
The U.S. has demanded other TPP countries change their duration of copyright protection to 70 years after owners of the copyright die. Japan sets its copyright protection period at 50 years, but it is working to follow the U.S. proposal.
Intellectual property is a key source of revenue in the U.S. In 2013, the U.S. posted a trade deficit of 476.4 billion dollars (approximately 57 trillion yen), but raised an intellectual property related income of 90.2 billion dollars (approx. 11 trillion yen), which helped its current deficit stay at 400.2 billion dollars (approx. 48 trillion yen).