Law Professors Ask President Obama To Open Up TPP Process
from the stop-the-secrecy dept
A group of over 80 law professors, including many prominent and well-known ones, have now called on President Obama to open up the secretive TPP process. They point out that, especially after the recent leak of the TPP’s IP chapter, it’s shown that the closed, secretive, non-transparent process leads to bad results. Instead, they argue for an open process, like the recent Marrakesh Treaty concerning copyright issues related to the blind. In that negotiation, proposals were made publicly and shared, so that there was widespread public comment and discussion. There is simply no good reason for the US government to continue negotiating this massive, and tremendously important treaty in secret. The lawyers are clear that they’re not against the overall TPP agreement — in fact, many support it. But they cannot accept the backroom process by which it has been negotiated.
We, the undersigned intellectual property law academics and scholars, write to you to ask you to support immediately changing the secretive TPP negotiation process in law and in practice, and follow instead the example set by the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled, as explained below.
Intellectual property law is incredibly far reaching in its impact – implicating everything from the price of medicines and textbooks to the ability to exercise free expression and create new business models on the Internet. The TPP’s intellectual property chapter would restrict Congress’s ability to legislate on these key issues, and would do so without public input. Indeed, reported proposals in the TPP would foreclose many policy proposals currently under consideration, including proposals to reform copyright law proposed by the Library of Congress, proposals to reform “data exclusivity” periods for biologic medicines included in the President’s budget, and proposals to amend exceptions for the circumvention of technological protection measures to promote interoperability of cell phones proposed by the Administration itself.
They also point out (nicely), that the administration should know better by now. Not only was the Marrakesh Treaty a success, but ACTA failed because of the USTR’s insistence on doing everything in backrooms, and avoiding any and all transparency. So far, it looks like they haven’t learned their lesson yet, but pushing the load of crap that is the current IP chapter on TPP seems likely to only give the USTR yet another refresher course in what happens when they decide to make deals like this in backrooms to favor Hollywood and Big Pharma, rather than having an open review in public.