The US entered into negotiations for a regional trans-pacific trade agreement in March 2008. As of mid-2012, there have been 12 rounds of secretive negotiations, 5 leaks of proposed text, and very little involvement of the public.
Everything we know about the TPP, we know from leaks. The negotiators have not once willingly given the public, or the public interest organizations, any information.
The schedule has recently accelerated in order to bring the agreement to a close. The process has become more and more closed—stakeholder forums were more common toward the beginning of the process. The negotiators are also holding off-the-record “intersessional” meetings between official sessions.
What’s in the TPP?
Well, since everyone but country negotiators and industry “advisors” have been kept in the dark, it’s hard to say.
But Public Knowledge has been tracking international IP issues for a number of years and a draft text was leaked in February 2011, so we can make an educated guess about what might be in the TPP’s IP chapter.
(The agreement also covers a vast range of other issues, including tariffs on various kinds of goods, labor standards, telecommunications, and intellectual property.)
Here’s our educated guess.
Quick Analysis: Copyright and the TPP
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (“TPP”) is a free trade agreement currently being negotiated by the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Canada, Mexico, and Japan may also join the TPP. Today, excessive copyright affects not only producers of content and its distributors but also stifles the ability of technology companies to make products that can be used to copy, store, access, use, and repurpose copyrighted work, and threatens users’ ability to use digital technology to use content in new ways.
Take a look at the problems with the process as well as the unbalanced copyright in the TPP.
TPP vs US Law
An in-depth look at the text of the TPP’s IP chapter as it compares to current US law, this extensive table analyzes how the TPP could change US law section-by-section.
The Transpacific Partnership’s (TPP) intellectual property (IP) chapter would affect a wide variety of stakeholders including artists, artist intermediaries, Internet service providers, consumer electronics manufacturers, and the public. Yet the negotiation process of this chapter prevents a vast majority of these stakeholders from having any influence on it. This approach is likely to result in an agreement that adversely impacts democratic discourse, education, and innovation.
This section details Public Knowledge’s concerns with the process and substance of the TPP and suggests alternatives to current approaches.
For links to what other civil society organizations have to say and a list of letters regarding the TPP, click here.