Message to the House of Representatives Returning Without Approval a United States Copyright Bill

July 8, 1982

To the House of Representatives:

I am returning without my approval H.R. 6198, a bill that would extend for four years the ``manufacturing clause'' of the U.S. copyright law that expired on June 30, 1982.

The manufacturing clause requires that many printed materials be printed in the United States in order to enjoy copyright protection. The clause was written into law nearly a century ago, in an effort to strengthen our relatively new printing industry by limiting foreign competition. However, the ``infant industry'' justification for protecting our printing industry is no longer valid; our industry is now one of the most modern and efficient in the world.

During the recent Tokyo Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, our trading partners objected to the manufacturing clause as inconsistent with our international obligations. Extension of the clause, as provided in H.R. 6198, could result in increased international trade tensions that could endanger American jobs. I would further note that if the printing or publishing industry believes itself injured, or threatened by injury, due to the expiration of the manufacturing clause, it has the option of requesting relief under the Trade Act.

My Administration has placed a very high priority on strengthening free trade, and we are energetically seeking to remove artificial foreign barriers to American exports. We are confident that our free enterprise system will enable American products to face foreign competition in our own open market and to do well in markets overseas, provided our access to those markets is not blocked by protectionist barriers that distort international competition.

Given the importance of our efforts to remove foreign trade barriers, it would be self-defeating to extend an artificial barrier of our own. For these reasons, I cannot approve H.R. 6198.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

July 8, 1982.

Note: On July 13 the House of Representatives and the Senate voted to override the President's veto. As enacted, H.R. 6198 is Public Law 97 - 215.