IA supports policies that promote and enable intermediary liability protections — which make the best of the internet possible.
Intermediary liability protections are the foundation of the internet and have become a key component of U.S. trade policy, with recent trade agreements including the United-States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the Japan Digital Agreement including language prohibiting governments from making online services liable for third-party content. It is crucial that future free trade agreements continue to build on the strong foundation of digital trade policies USTR negotiated in both USMCA and the Japan Digital Agreement.
The open nature of the internet has enabled online platforms to facilitate transactions and communications among millions of businesses and consumers, allowing buyers and sellers to connect directly on a global basis. Intermediary liability protections allow online platforms to function and facilitate massive volumes of U.S. exports, especially by small- and medium-sized businesses. If online platforms or other services are held liable for other people’s materials, including customer reviews or other user-generated content, they would not be able to operate in such an open manner or, more importantly, to innovate.
Protections for U.S. websites and online services are critical to fueling new startups and the continued growth of the sector. There are an increasing number of trade barriers abroad that would make online services liable for third-party content. Weakened intermediary liability protections for U.S. businesses would cost 425,000 U.S. jobs and decrease U.S. GDP by $44 billion annually.