Latest Version Of Anti-TPP, RCEP, Shows That Its Intellectual Property Provisions Are Even Worse

from the from-bad-to-worse dept

Last summer, we wrote a bit about the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a trade agreement that is being worked on by a bunch of Asian countries, and which is often described as an "anti-TPP" or, at the very least, a competitor to the TPP. It's being driven by China and India -- two countries who were not in the TPP process. Given how concerned we were with the TPP, we had hoped, at the very least, that RCEP would be better on things like intellectual property. Unfortunately, some early leaks suggested it was even worse. And while the TPP is still grinding through the ratification process in various countries, RCEP has continued to move forward, and the bad ideas have stuck around.

Knowledge Ecology International just released a leaked copy of the agreement's draft intellectual property chapter, and it's basically chock full of bad ideas. As KEI's Jamie Love notes:
The RCEP will be a massive trade agreement and the content of the IP Chapter is important. It will bind India and China, two countries left out of the TPP. Japan and Korea are trying to push many of the worst ideas from ACTA, TPP and other trade agreements into the RCEP IP Chapter. Some of the issues that negotiators did not understand in the TPP, such as the damages provisions, are also lurking in this text, creating risks that negotiators will do worse than they think, because the secrecy of the negotiations insulates the negotiators from timely feedback on technically complex issues. Japan and Korea are pushing for test data monopolies, without the same safeguards available to patent monopolies. There are proposals for patent extensions, restrictive rules on exceptions to copyright, and dozens of other anti-consumer measures, illustrating the power of right-holder groups to use secret trade negotiations to limit democratic decisions that impact access to knowledge, the freedom to innovate and the right to health, in negative ways.
The TPP is not good on intellectual property (at all). But seeing RCEP apparently be just as bad, if not worse, is not exactly encouraging. As I've said in the past, I think free trade is an important ideal, but free trade agreements are increasingly about something entirely different, and it's about backdoor (and backroom) mechanisms for putting in place regulatory frameworks that favor certain legacy players.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2016 @ 5:40am

    Ah yes, legalese:

    "A manner conductive to social and economic welfare"
    So, on paper at least, people who stand to lose from this agreement won't starve to death, for what it's worth.

    I find it funny that Korea (I suppose it's S.Korea we're talking about here) opposes "the importance of facilitating the availability of information, knowledge, content, culture and arts".

    Japan copyright is one of the toughest on the planet so no surprise there.

    Man they want copyright treated like physical property, then let it also be taxed as physical property: Based on its value.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2016 @ 6:23am


      Physical property is already treated a lot better than copy protection. Imagine if I tried to claim your refrigerator and, just by mere claiming it to be mine, I can make you disconnect it until you prove it's in fact yours under penalty of perjury. and after all that I receive little to no punishment because I was simply mistaken.

      In copy protection la la land that's how the laws work. That's what you get when corporations write laws.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2016 @ 6:58am

    and they will continue to thrive until citizens of the various countries concerned actually make it very well known that trade deals are NOT simply about the entertainment industries being able to stop anyone downloading a movie, or sharing a bought movie with friends and many other legacy ideals but is about the citizens as well and what is good for them!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2016 @ 10:55am

    Japan and Korea pushing these on behalf of their major conglomerates makes sense. Why India and China would agree to something like this is confusing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 21 Apr 2016 @ 2:37pm

    We may just have to kill all trade agreements...

    ...until they stop bundling improvements with corporate protectionism (including IP maximalist policy).

    Part of the problem remains the same part of the problem we've had with patents and copyrights, in that there is no-one to argue for the public domain and the benefits of having works in it.

    Very similarly, there's no-one arguing for the benefits to the public of trade agreements, so it is no wonder that they are all giant corporate protectionist wishlists.

    We're going to have cause to oppose them all to the last until this situation changes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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