Copyright Maximalism Never Rests: TPP Talks Continue In Singapore
from the unfortunate dept
Despite growing protests and concerns about the next big US trade agreement (with Europe), the discussions on the Trans Pacific Partnership continue to move forward, with the latest round taking place in Singapore this week. And… once again, it’s a story of near complete secrecy, and a total lack of transparency. Of key concern, of course, are the sections of the agreement on patents and copyrights, which the public has not seen. There was a leak from over two years ago, but nothing since then. The USTR and others say that they want the agreement completed by this fall, and it is a complete travesty that they have not been willing to share the details publicly. Negotiating a treaty in complete secrecy — especially when the “input” on the IP chapter is driven by industry stakeholders, rather than the public — means that the treaty almost certainly is going to be a disaster that is harmful to the public.
What’s most amazing is that the USTR doesn’t seem to recognize that the playing field has changed since the last time they did this. The rejection of SOPA, followed by the widespread rejection of ACTA (even if the USTR is in total denial about this) shows that the public is not at all willing to accept backroom deals that fundamentally expand bad patent and copyright policies around the globe and (worse) lock us in to things that the public does not believe are legitimate.
The USTR’s continued insistence on secrecy, combined with the few leaks of information showing just how extreme a position they’re setting out for themselves on patents and copyrights, suggests an organization so totally out of touch that it is destroying its own credibility. Any reasonable organization would recognize that the old backroom negotiations method of creating these kinds of deals is no longer acceptable. That the USTR refuses to admit this only increases awareness of just how out of touch the organization and its leadership remain.