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WT/DS160 - United States - Section 110(5) of US Copyright Act

WTO dispute settlement case - Launched by the EU

Country or region
United States
Trade topics
Dispute settlement
Dispute settlement
WTO - Case launched by the EU

Summary of the case

  • Complaint by: EU
  • Complaint against: United States
  • Third parties: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Switzerland

Section 110(5) of the US Copyright Act permits, under certain conditions, the playing of radio and television music in public places (bars, shops, restaurants, etc.) without the payment of a royalty fee.

Relevant WTO provision: TRIPS (9(1), 13)


Panel found in favour of the EC. On 24 July 2001, DSB accepted US request to modify the reasonable period of time which has expired on 20 Dec. 2001. EC and US agreed to resort to arbitration pursuant to Art. 25 to establish the level of nullification and impairment. The level has been set at 1.219.000 ¿/year. Pending talks on a mutually agreed solution the EC made an Art. 22 request in order to safeguard its WTO rights. US objects to the level of suspension proposed by the EC and referred the matter to arbitration. This arbitration has been suspended but any party may reactivate it at any time. In July 2002 US Congress decided the creation of a fund to pay settlement of WTO disputes. On that basis a mutually satisfactory temporary arrangement for a period of 3 years between the US and the EC was notified to the DSB on 23 June 2003. The EU further expects the US administration to engage the US Congress with a view to bringing the US copyright act into compliance with the TRIPS agreement.

  • Consultations requested: 26 January 1999
  • Panel requested: 15 April 1999
  • Panel established: 26 May 1999
  • Panel report circulated: 15 June 2000
  • Panel/Appellate Body report adopted: 27 July 2000
  • Implementation deadline: 20 December 2001
  • Recourse to Articles:
    • 18 January 2002 - Recourse to Art. 21.5.


Full case details and WTO documents on the WTO website

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