[A2k] Wikileaks publishes August 30, 2013 version of TPP Text

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Wed Nov 13 05:05:31 PST 2013


Please see link below for the entire blog.

http://keionline.org/node/1825

*KEI Comments on the August 30, 2013 version of the TPP IP Chapter*

Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) has obtained from Wikileaks a
complete copy of the consolidated negotiating text for the IP Chapter of
the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). (Copy
here<http://keionline.org/sites/default/files/Wikileaks-secret-TPP-treaty-IP-chapter.pdf>,
and on the Wikileaks site here:https://wikileaks.org/tpp/) The leaked text
was distributed among the Chief Negotiators by the USTR after the 19th
Round of Negotiations at Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, in August 27th, 2013.

There have been two rounds since Brunei, and the latest version of the
text, from October, will be discussed in Salt Lake City next week.

The text released by Wikileaks is 95 pages long, with 296 footnotes and 941
brackets in the text, and includes details on the positions taken by
individual countries.

The document confirms fears that the negotiating parties are prepared to
expand the reach of intellectual property rights, and shrink consumer
rights and safeguards.

Compared to existing multilateral agreements, the TPP IPR chapter proposes
the granting of more patents, the creation of intellectual property rights
on data, the extension of the terms of protection for patents and
copyrights, expansions of right holder privileges, and increases in the
penalties for infringement. The TPP text shrinks the space for exceptions
in all types of intellectual property rights. Negotiated in secret, the
proposed text is bad for access to knowledge, bad for access to medicine,
and profoundly bad for innovation.

The text reveals that the most anti-consumer and anti-freedom country in
the negotiations is the United States, taking the most extreme and
hard-line positions on most issues. But the text also reveals that several
other countries in the negotiation are willing to compromise the public’s
rights, in a quest for a new trade deal with the United States.

The United States and other countries have defended the secrecy of the
negotiations in part on the grounds that the government negotiators receive
all the advice they need from 700 corporate advisors cleared to see the
text. The U.S. negotiators claim that the proposals need not be subject to
public scrutiny because they are merely promoting U.S. legal traditions.
Other governments claim that they will resist corporate right holder
lobbying pressures. But the version released by Wikileaks reminds us why
government officials supervised only by well-connected corporate advisors
can’t be trusted.

An enduring mystery is the appalling acceptance of the secrecy by the
working news media.

With an agreement this complex, the decision to negotiate in secret has all
sorts of risks. There is the risk that the negotiations will become
hijacked by corporate insiders, but also the risk that negotiators will
make unwitting mistakes. There is also the risk that opportunities to do
something useful for the public will be overlooked or abandoned, because
the parties are not hearing from the less well-connected members of the
public.

The U.S. proposals are sometimes more restrictive than U.S. laws, and when
consistent, are designed to lock-in the most anti-consumer features. On top
of everything else, the U.S. proposals would create new global legal norms
that would allow foreign governments and private investors to bring legal
actions and win huge damages, if TPP member countries not embrace
anti-consumer practices.

<SNIP>

*Copyright*

There is little reason for any language on copyright in the TPP. All of the
TPP member countries are already members of the WTO, which has its own
extensive obligations as regards copyright, including obligations to
implement Articles 1 through 21 of the Berne Convention. The TRIPS has
already expanded copyright coverage to software, and provides extensive
protections to performers, producers of phonograms (sound recordings) and
broadcasting organizations. Moreover, the United States and Australia have
proposed that all TPP member countries “ratify or accede” to two 1996
treaties (the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and
Phonograms Treaty), as well as the 1974 Brussels Convention Relating to the
Distribution of Programme-Carrying Signals Transmitted by Satellite.
Despite this, the TPP provides its own nuanced and often detailed lists of
obligations. Collectively, the copyright provisions are designed to extend
copyright terms beyond the life plus 50 years found in the Berne
Convention, create new exclusive rights, and provide fairly specific
instructions as to how copyright is to be managed in the digital
environment.



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