'Intellectual Property' Mess Holding Up The TPP

from the maybe-just-drop-it dept

As negotiators are seeking to finish up the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement as soon as possible (they had originally promised a done deal by October), it appears that the controversial "intellectual property" chapter is causing the most problems, according to Sean Flynn, who is at the current negotiating round in Lima.
Officially, the Chief Negotiators have backed off the prior commitment to end the TPP negotiation by October, but are still clinging to a goal to end the negotiation by the “end of the year.” But privately, none of the negotiators or stakeholders at this round would express any confidence that the intellectual property issues could be resolved by then. The issues still under contention are massive.

The intellectual property chapter has grown to over 80 pages of text – including all the bracketed suggestions and alternatives. Some negotiators describe it as the longest text currently under negotiation.

Many of the issues are completely blocked. There has not been any new negotiation text offered on the most controversial pharmaceutical provisions since the Melbourne round over a year ago. There is currently no mandate from many countries to negotiate (they only “consult” and “discuss”) the pharmaceutical reimbursement chapter. Barbara Weisel described the pharmaceutical issues as being in a “period of reflection,” and had no comment on when that period might end.
Furthermore, it appears that some of the negotiators are realizing that it's a bad idea to lock in certain concepts, as would be set under the TPP, especially as various court rulings are changing the way copyright laws are viewed, and while a new copyright reform process is ongoing. People seem to be recognizing that agreeing to specific norms that may quickly be undermined by national laws would be a waste of time.
The recent spate of proposals for policy changes for US copyright law have caused a stir. The US is being asked how it can hold on to demands for parallel importation restrictions after the Kirtsaeng ruling, 70 year copyright terms after the Copyright Office proposed shifting them back to 50 years with formalities required for extensions, and strict restrictions on anti-circumvention liability exceptions when the Obama Administration and the Library of Congress have endorsed reforms that would violate the US proposal. Barbara Weisel stated that USTR is “doing what we can to work with Congress” to make sure that the TPP will not restrict policy options. But negotiators have said that there has been no visible movement on the USTR’s positions on Copyright issues, which will be negotiated this week.
And, of course, once again, the USTR appears to have no plans to be transparent in the slightest.
And there is no plan to release any text to the public. This is stark contrast to the last to plurilateral agreements including countries in the region. The Free Trade Area for the Americas and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement both released full texts of the negotiating document with brackets indicating text under consideration before the finalization of the texts. For ACTA, there were four publicly released texts between April 2010 and May 2011. For the TPP – none yet, despite the Chief Negotiators’ pronouncement of end of year finalization plans.
Considering how much controversy there is over these items, it seems ridiculous that we still can't actually see what's being negotiated in our name -- especially when there's quite reasonable fears that it could mess with the democratic process of potentially rewriting copyright law.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 2:10am

    I am a member of the United States general public (We The People) and I hereby openly reject the Trans Pacific Partnership as it is written.

     

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      AC Unknown, May 21st, 2013 @ 10:20am

      Re:

      I am also a member of the United States general public, and I openly reject the TPP as it is currently written

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 2:16am

    They will not release it as they know the public will revolt.... again, and it will all be a waste of their time and money.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 2:41am

    the democratic process you mention is long gone! there is nothing democratic about the way things are done or who they affect. the USA has gone from a nation that believed in freedom and privacy to one of secrecy and punishment all brought about by the allowing of certain industries to manipulate the laws to their best advantage at the expense of everyone else, not just in the USA but worldwide. Congress has given so much power to these industries that they now more or less run the country and the various politicians are just front men and mouth pieces!

     

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    bob, May 21st, 2013 @ 3:43am

    there is no controversy, pirate mike once again making things up.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 3:56am

    "especially when there's quite reasonable fears that it could mess with the democratic process of potentially rewriting copyright law" - This is precisely what IP Maximalists want: Forum shopping. Limit the options of the democracy to change any laws regarding IP against their will by Trade Agreement.

     

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      Ed C., May 21st, 2013 @ 4:59am

      Re:

      This is exactly why they try to ramrod these agreements through quickly and quietly as possible, to make binding "executive agreements" that usurp the democratic rights of the public.

       

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    Anonymous Howard (profile), May 21st, 2013 @ 4:01am

    WTF

    Barbara Weisel stated that USTR is “doing what we can to work with Congress” to make sure that the TPP will not restrict policy options


    The rabbit carrying the gun

     

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    The Real Michael, May 21st, 2013 @ 4:53am

    "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it" - F.Bastiat

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 6:15am

      Re:

      I'm honestly not sure what side of the debate you intended that quote to support.

       

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        DannyB (profile), May 21st, 2013 @ 6:58am

        Re: Re:

        "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it" - F.Bastiat
        I'm honestly not sure what side of the debate you intended that quote to support.
        Only one side of the argument, the copyright maximalists, are the ones to engage in vulgar, obscene, and excessive overreach, greed, censorship and unconcerned collateral damage.

        Only one side of the argument is attempting to buy the government and rewrite the laws.

        Therefore the original quote would apply to the copyright maximalists. If you are complaining about pirary, it only exists because the public has lost any respect for copyright and government -- and this is also the fault of the copyright maximalists.

        You cannot now suddenly complain that members of the public casually engage in the kind of behavior that the copyright maximalists have set such a fine reprehensible example of.

        I hope that cleared things up for you.

         

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        The Real Michael, May 21st, 2013 @ 7:54am

        Re: Re:

        DannyB got it right. What other group is attempting to consolidate unchecked authority besides the bankers and the corporates? The laws are written to protect the interests of the 1% at the top.

        Somewhat off-topic: Why do you think whenever there's a show on TV about cops/justice, you never see them go after white-collar criminals and bureaucrats? They only go after criminals in lower society, often using entrapment and other such devious methods in order to catch someone red-handed on camera, like waving candy in front of a toddler.

         

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    anonymouse, May 21st, 2013 @ 5:09am

    Agreements

    Seems like the only way they are going to get any of these supposed trade agreements finalized is to make sure that there is no form of copyright content at all.

    Copyright needs to be dialed back and must and i stress this, must be changed to help the public and the content creators move forward and not backward. With the internet the gatekeepers have become obsolete, the gatekeepers are trying their hardest to remain relevent and that is just holding up any other agreements.

    Maybe the people involved in this agreement must put forward a proposal that is 100% against what the gatekeepers are demanding, cut copyright to 10 years make fair use more relevent, make sure that the monopoly they have is weakened and put forward a ruling that content creators cannot sell there copyright to others but only license businesses to use their content and have the content creator be able to cancel that at any time without recriminations against them.

    Maybe if these trade agreements are started to be used to weaken copyright in the interest of growth maybe then the monopolists will stop trying to strengthen their hold on content creators once and for all through these agreements , with the end result that they fail and all the time and money spent on them is wasted yet again.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 8:54am

    USTR Notes:

    The President, Congress, and the general public doesn't appear to like this.

    We MUST pass this before they start asking questions!

     

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    President of the Anti-Fandom Association, May 21st, 2013 @ 8:58am

    Techdirt, you're a joke

    the editor is a joke for taking on the fandom nerds side stealing creator's artwork and novels.

    Our motto is "Be a fan, Go to Jail".

    This TPP deal must be done now, not October or sooner. NOW! So we can lock up all those fandom nerds in FEMA camps indefinitely. Fandom nerds needs to get real jobs and some wives.

     

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    Violated (profile), May 21st, 2013 @ 9:09am

    Foolishness

    One would think that it would be an idea for them to obtain public approval (or at least technological approval) before they submit their final approval into the political system when TPP come to release the TPPA.

    Due to the large shift in Copyright laws then it is indeed foolish to include 80 pages on Intellectual Property. Let us keep in mind that even if there is one single unacceptable point in TPPA then the whole document would need to be scrapped where years of work would then be lost. These documents can't have late amendments unlike common law proposals can meaning that they should aim to high general happiness to begin with.

    They should really have kicked intellectual property out of the entire discussion when they only go and ruin the party for everyone else. Maybe those rest should now open their own trade discussion where IP is banned.

    Well if they want to release unacceptable trash then how about the radical idea of not releasing it? If they aim another ACTA+ then clearly this will not pass democratic approval.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2013 @ 6:37pm

    Majority rules. That means even if the USTR minority were able to secretly pass these draconian laws, the majority of the world's population will simply ignore them out of a shared moral obligation to do what's right for humanity.

    The right thing to do, is to share knowledge in an attempt to progress and better all of mankind. Not horde it so only a select few benefit at the expense of everybody else on the planet.

    I swear this is the reason why we still don't have solar powered roof shingles for houses. Can't charge people for electricity if they're making their own!

    Keep on burning that fossil fuel! We're finally melting that pesky ice in the Arctic so we can get drill rigs in there. Anyone who cries about tornadoes and hurricanes is a pussy!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2013 @ 1:34am

    From what I have heard, TPP will be completed by the end of the year. One article at WND says that the Obama Administration plans to jam through Congress by the end of the year


    http://www.wnd.com/2013/05/obamas-2-ocean-globalist-plan/

     

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