How TPP Would Put Massive Burdens On Those Accused Of Infringement

from the flipping-the-equation dept

Due to massive secrecy and a near total lack of transparency by the US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, we don't know for sure what the US is negotiating "in our name" as it advances through the negotiation stages of the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement. What little we do know comes from a leaked version of the US's IP proposal from last year. While this might be out of date, we really don't know what's changed because of the USTR's obnoxious refusal to let the public know what it is pitching in their name.

Thus, it's reasonable to look at what was in the original pitch. And, what we see is not good. Jodie Griffin from Public Knowledge is highlighting some of the problems with the proposal, including the fact that it appears to flip the burden on a number of things in copyright from the copyright holder having to prove the basics (that they hold the copyright, that the copyright is valid, etc.) to the reverse: that the accused has to prove that the other side does not hold the copyright or that the copyright is invalid. And this is for both civil and criminal infringement. That is, TPP takes the very basics of a system in which you are innocent until proven guilty, and effectively says that the courts should assume that the plaintiff doing the accusing is correct, and the entire burden falls on the accused to prove it did not infringe. That seems like a pretty massive change, and one that would severely alter current US law on the subject.

You would think that if the US was negotiating for such a massive change in US law it would be open to a public discussion about the matter. However, as we've noted repeatedly, for whatever reason the Obama administration and the USTR in particular, seem to have no interest in letting the public in on this little game. Instead, it huddles with Congress (the same Congress who for years has done the entertainment industry's bidding whenever possible) and directly with industry lobbyists -- and then declares that it is being "transparent." This is crony capitalism at its finest, and the public continues to suffer.

Filed Under: public knowledge, ron kirk, secrecy, tpp, ustr

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  1. icon
    drew (profile), 18 May 2012 @ 3:52am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "either you had permission from the copyright holder or you do not"
    Ummm, 'fair use' anyone?
    You'd think there was enough court cases around now to show that it is rarely this black and white.

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