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Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement
September 4, 2012 -- Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)?
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a secretive, multi-national trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement. The main problems are two-fold:
(1) IP chapter: Leaked draft texts of the agreement show that the IP chapter would have extensive negative ramifications for users' freedom of speech, right to privacy and due process, and hinder peoples' abilities to innovate.
(2) Lack of transparency: The entire process has shut out multi-stakeholder participation and is shrouded in secrecy.
The nine nations currently negotiating the TPP are the US, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, and Brunei Darussalam. However, Canada and Mexico has also been invited to join the negotiations so it is very likely they will do so. The TPP contains a chapter on intellectual property covering copyright, trademarks, patents and perhaps, geographical indications. Since the draft text of the agreement has never been offically released to the public, we know from leaked documents, such as the February 2011 draft US TPP IP Rights Chapter [PDF], that US negotiators are pushing for the adoption of copyright measures far more restrictive than currently required by international treaties, including the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
The TPP Will Rewrite Global Rules on Intellectual Property Enforcement
All signatory countries will be required to conform their domestic laws and policies to the provisions of the Agreement. In the US, this is likely to further entrench controversial aspects of US copyright law (such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act [DMCA]) and restrict the ability of Congress to engage in domestic law reform to meet the evolving IP needs of American citizens and the innovative technology sector. The recently leaked US-proposed IP chapter also includes provisions that appear to go beyond current US law.
The leaked US IP chapter includes many detailed requirements that are more restrictive than current international standards, and would require significant changes to other countries' copyright laws. These include obligations for countries to:
Place Greater Liability on Internet Intermediaries:
The TPP would force the adoption of the US DMCA Internet intermediaries copyright safe harbor regime in its entirety. For example, this would require Chile to rewrite its forward-looking 2010 copyright law that currently establishes a judicial notice-and-takedown regime, which
provides greater protection to Internet users' expression and privacy than the DMCA.
Regulate Temporary Copies: Treat temporary reproductions of copyrighted works without copyright holders' authorization as copyright infringement. This was discussed but rejected at the intergovernmental diplomatic conference that created two key 1996 international copyright treaties, the WIPO Copyright Treaty and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.
Expand Copyright Terms: Create copyright terms well beyond the internationally agreed period in the 1994 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Life + 70 years for works created by individuals, and following the US-Oman Free Trade Agreement, either 95 years after publication or 120 years after creation for corporate owned works (such as Mickey Mouse).
Enact a "Three-Step Test" Language That Puts Restrictions on Fair Use: The United States Trade Representative (USTR) is putting fair use at risk with restrictive language in the TPP's IP chapter. The US and Australia are both proposing very restrictive text, and Peru is willing to accommodate the bad language.
Escalate Protections for Digital Locks: It will also compel signatory nations to enact laws banning circumvention of digital locks (technological protection measures or TPMs) [PDF] that mirror the DMCA and treat violation of the TPM provisions as a separate offense, even when no copyright infringement is involved. This would require countries like New Zealand to completely rewrite its innovative 2008 copyright law, as well as override Australia's carefully-crafted 2007 TPM regime exclusions for region-coding on movies on DVDs, videogames, and players, and for embedded software in devices that restrict access to goods and services for the device-a thoughtful effort by Australian policy makers to avoid the pitfalls experienced with the US digital locks provisions. In the US, business competitors have used the DMCA to try to block printer cartridge refill services, competing garage door openers, and to lock mobile phones to particular network providers.
Ban Parallel Importation: Ban parallel importation of genuine goods acquired from other countries without the authorization of copyright owners.
Adopt Criminal Sanctions: Adopt criminal sanctions for copyright infringement that is done without a commercial motivation, based on the provisions of the 1997 US No Electronic Theft Act.
Are you in the United States?
Here’s what you can do:
Join EFF and more than 22,000 people in sending a message to Congress members to demand an end to these secret backdoor negotiations:
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
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