[Ip-health] Variety: U.S. Trade Representative Defends Pending Trade Pact After WikiLeaks Disclosure

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Sun Nov 17 04:28:48 PST 2013


NOVEMBER 15, 2013 | 06:43PM PT
Ted Johnson <http://variety.com/author/ted-johnson/>

Senior Editor at tedstew <http://twitter.com/@tedstew>

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman<http://variety.com/t/michael-froman/>,
touring Paramount <http://variety.com/t/paramount/>’s backlot on Friday,
refuted reports that a proposed trade pact between the U.S. and 11 Pacific
Rim countries would be an attempt to impose provisions of ill-fated
antipiracy legislation that stalled out in Congress early last year.

Following WikiLeaks’ disclosure  <https://wikileaks.org/tpp/>of an August
draft of a portion of the Trans Pacific
some digital rights groups have sounded the alarm over the pact, arguing
that the provisions in the draft will limit Internet
The sites TorrentFreak and BoingBoing compared it to the Stop Online Piracy
Act, which was sidelined in Congress in the face of an online protest,
while groups like Free Press and the Electronic Frontier Foundationhave

But Froman, in a brief interview, said that “what we have in there are
things that are already in U.S. law about making sure, whether it is
copyright or other protections, are fully enforced around the world.”

“For example, as I understand it, I wasn’t around for it, (the Stop Online
Piracy Act) was about blocking rogue Internet sites from accessing the
Internet from the United States. There is nothing in the Trans Pacific
Partnership, zero, that has anything to do with that,” he said.

He added that the agreement would be to “ensure that if a creative artist
or others have intellectual property rights that are recognized that those
are enforced.”

The MPAA on Thursday issued a statement cautioning that it was “important
to be clear that the text circulated is not final.”

Froman also said that he was “not sure if (the leaked draft) was a
legitimate draft or not.” He also said noted that it dates from August, and
“so it doesn’t necessarily reflect the current stage of negotiations.”

“There is no agreement right now,” he said. “Nothing is agreed to until
everything is agreed to, and nothing will be agreed to until 3 a.m. on the
last night of negotiations.”

Froman on Friday also went to the Disney lot to meet with studio executives
to talk about trade and the Trans Pacific pact.

“Our goal through these trade negotiations is to make sure we are raising
the standard of protection around the world, for artists and the people who
support them,” he said.

He also called the talks over the trade pact “the most transparent trade
negotiation in history,” noting that they have held more than 1,000
briefings on Capitol Hill, have enlisted 600 advisers for input from
various groups and have invited stakeholders to address negotiators from
all 12 countries, among other efforts. Representatives from both parties
this week sent letters to President Obama expressing concerns that they
were not being consulted about its provisions, which address not just
intellectual property but a host of other trade issues including access to

The countries have set a goal of reaching agreement by the end of the year.

At Paramount, Froman, along with his son, toured a construction and
lighting shop on the lot, as well as a sound mixing stage where he watched
a clip from the next “Anchorman” movie, “Anchorman 2: The Legend
Continues.” He also visited the set of Nickelodeon’s “The Thundermans” and
posed for pictures with the cast. With him on the tour were Paramount COO
Frederick Huntsberry, exec VP Michael Romano and IATSE Third International
VP Thomas Davis.

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