It appears from a text that leaked a year ago that the
United States is pushing a copyright chapter that significantly compromises
your ability to communicate on the Internet. Yet given the power of the U.S. as
a negotiator and the eagerness of the other countries to gain access to U.S.
markets, it appeared that the U.S. could ram this text down the throats of the
other countries. However, there seems to be a small chink in the U.S.’s armor.
Many of our friends who were in Australia following the TPP negotiations report that the U.S. approach on the intellectual property (IP) chapter may be facing opposition from the other countries. This approach, characterized by a demand for restrictions on the ability to communicate online, demands on ISPs to do more to prevent infringement, and stringent penalties for minor infractions, was also part of the U.S. strategy in the ACTA negotiations. This resulted in years of wasted negotiations. Rather than repeat the same mistake, the U.S. would do well to take the views of other countries into consideration.
Sean Flynn, professor at American University Washington
College of Law, says that negotiations on the IP chapter “yielded no meaningful
progress.” Other sources report that negotiators may be pushing back on a
number of U.S. proposals including:
- Allowing copyright owners to control whether you
are liable for all the temporary copies your computer makes when you stream
music, movies, or other content;
- Increasing the term of copyright protection;
- Mandating protection for DRM; and
- Adopting US-style notice and takedown regime.
This regime requires sites such as Youtube to take down copyright infringing
videos upon notice from the copyright owner.
Now is the time to build momentum behind this opposition and
push for an IP chapter that furthers the interests of all – copyright owners,
Internet users, and technology companies. The next round of negotiations on the
IP chapter is likely to take place in Chile from April 9th to the 13th.
This will be followed by a full formal round of TPP negotiations in May,
probably in Dallas, Texas.
As with other negotiating rounds, it is likely that the USTR
will allow stakeholder presentations during the Dallas round. Public interest
groups, such as PK, tech companies, and representatives of copyright and patent
owners will have an opportunity to present their views to the negotiators at
the stakeholder forum. PK will be sure to explain how the outcome of these
negotiations would affect you. Follow this blog for updates on future rounds of
negotiations as well as suggestions for staying engaged with this process.
Meanwhile, the secrecy surrounding the negotiations
continues unabated. Senator Ron Wyden has introduced amendments to pending
legislation aimed at putting an end to this secrecy. The amendment would
require the administration to make available to the American public proposals
made by the USTR with respect to TPP’s IP chapter as well as other chapters
that affect the Internet. We thank the Senator for proposing this amendment and
urge you to do the same.