US Proposals For Secret TPP 'Son Of ACTA' Treaty Leaked; Chock Full Of Awful Ideas
from the exporting-protectionism dept
The early reports on TPP was that the USTR would only consider ratcheting up intellectual property laws to more draconian states. It would not even consider the idea of decreasing the already too strict levels of intellectual property laws. It also would not bother with increasing consumer protections or important exceptions to stronger intellectual property law -- even if it's been shown that those exceptions have a much greater impact on the economy than the IP laws themselves.
Some key points:
- It would require that countries participating ban parallel import for any copyright holder who wants it. That is, if a copyright holder says no, countries would have to block your ability to purchase legal and authorized products in one country and import them into another. This is the so-called "grey market" which should be perfectly legal, but which many companies would like to block so they can price things much higher in some countries.
- It would require criminal enforcement for certain cases of circumventing DRM even when there's no copyright infringement, going beyond existing treaties even when there's no copyright infringement. There are some exceptions, but rather than allow countries to determine their own exceptions, it defines the exceptions and actually says countries cannot go beyond those.
- It would impose liability on ISPs for dealing with infringing works that goes well beyond the DMCA. Yes, Hollywood may finally be able to force ISPs to act as their personal business model cops -- something they've been unable to do in the US.
- Along those lines, there would be "legal incentives" for ISPs to go above and beyond that in helping copyright holders.
- Forget privacy. ISPs would be required to identify users on request, going well beyond existing law.
- Expand what is considered patentable, going in the opposite direction of what's needed. Most troubling, it would allow patents on inventions even if the inventions do "not result in the enhancement of the known efficacy of that product." This seems to go against the very purpose of patent law, but the USTR has already shown it couldn't care much less than actually obeying the Constitutional underpinnings of patents or copyright law.
- Continues the troubling and problematic idea that patents must be assumed valid, even if they were only briefly reviewed.
- A requirement to forbid third party opposition of patent applications. This is particularly ridiculous. Allowing third parties to oppose patent applications (as is allowed with trademarks) would certainly help prevent some really bad patent applications from getting through. How can the USTR justify not allowing such a basic concept of letting third parties point out bad patents before they're approved. Especially when you combine this with the "presumption of validity" in patents once granted, it looks like the USTR is trying to increase the rubber stamping of patent approvals.
Declassify on: Four years from entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement enters into force, four years from the close of the negotiations.Oh yeah, as for things like consumer protections or safeguards for competition? KEI correctly summarizes that they are "weak, meak or missing." That's because this document isn't about enabling competition, innovation or consumer benefit. It's about helping out a few legacy companies who don't want to compete, and who have plenty of job openings ready for the folks involved in these negotiations down the road.
* This document must be protected from unauthorized disclosure, but may be mailed or transmitted over unclassified e-mail or fax, discussed over unsecured phone lines, and stored on unclassified computer systems. It must be stored in a locked or secured building, room, or container.
If you find this to be a disgusting display of regulatory capture, done in secret, for the benefit of a few companies, against the basic principles of the free market and consumer rights, you should speak up. The EFF has put together details of which elected officials should be contacted to pressure the USTR to open up these proceedings and to hear from the public on their proposal. They've also set up a form to let you contact your elected official, though I recommend you write your own version of any letter, rather than sticking with the boilerplate. None of my elected representatives are on the target list, but if yours are, please contact them.