Trans Pacific Partnership – details that you might not know

Article 12.8 gives rights holders the right to demand personal information about customers of Internet Service Providers – or other service providers – on a mere accusation. . This is a fundamental attack on the privacy of the citizens of all signatory countries. There is nothing to stop rights holders going on extensive fishing expeditions, searching through millions of users, looking for people to sue. This power is not granted to law enforcement without due process. Handing such powers to corporations without any requirement to show a breach has occurred is an attack upon the process of law. We have a right to not be placed under surveillance by companies based upon their word that illegal activity has occurred

Pirate Party Australia’s Presentation to Trans-Pacific Partnership Stakeholders Meeting in Melbourne  March 4, 2012 Here is the speech that was presented by Pirate Party Australia President David Campbell at 11.45am at the TPPA stakeholders meeting in Melbourne. Thanks to Simon Frew (Deputy President) for authoring the speech and Mozart Palmer (Media Relations) for his contributions.


Pirate Party Australia, like many other attendees at the intellectual property section of this Agreement negotiation, first became aware of the proposed intellectual property provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement when the United States negotiating position was leaked last year.[1]

Much of the content of the leak is a wish-list for old media corporations who refuse to adapt to the Internet and instead pay massive “donations” to their government in order to push their legislative agenda against the interests of modern society. This wish-list echoes that of the intellectual property segments of the Stop Online Piracy Act – known as SOPA – and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement – known as ACTA. The US TPPA provisions have been nicknamed “the son of ACTA”. The proposed solutions to online file-sharing will fundamentally change the operation of the Internet, to its detriment.

The extreme position of the leaked United States’ Intellectual Property chapter is highlighted by the unprecedented request for the negotiating texts to remain secret for four years after the agreement is signed. This secrecy is a perversion of democracy. The public would not be given a chance to oppose such a draconian attack on both the Internet and the civil liberties of citizens in all of the signatory countries. All of this to protect the corporate interests of a small sector of one industry? What about the cost to our democratic rights?……..

In Australia, we have seen the harm that tighter intellectual property restrictions can cause through the Australia–US Free Trade Agreement. The Productivity Commission, a body that investigates the economic benefit or hindrance of various Australian economic policies, warned that agreeing to intellectual property provisions in free trade agreements needs to be subjected to a rigorous cost/benefit analysis.

The Australia–US Free Trade Agreement is believed to cost the Australian economy between 88 million and 763 million dollars a year in copyright enforcement alone. This is wealth being directly transferred from Australia to the United States – there is no net benefit to Australia derived from the tighter restrictions.[2]

If the US delegation gets its way, that and more will be forced upon your people and local economy, to what benefit? We urge delegates to reject the inclusion of any intellectual property provisions in your own national interests as they WILL harm your economies.

The intellectual property section of the Agreement as pushed for by the US in our leaked copy, will force Internet Service Providers along with large online content service providers such as Facebook, Google and other similar companies, to be liable for what their users access using their services. As an example, this in itself will make it impossible for Facebook to exist in its current form, as each photograph posted by every single user will need to be moderated to weed out copyright infringement before Facebook can host it. The same is true of YouTube, a Google owned service, in regard to video content. Their servers receive user content well in excess of an entire days worth of footage, every 60 seconds…….

I will now proceed with an examination of the individual articles and paragraphs we have objection to.

Article 4.2 grants rights holders the right to control their products entry into each countries’ markets. Essentially this bans parallel imports, which is a direct attack on free trade. …..

Article 4.5 of the draft US intellectual property chapter extends copyright terms across the TPPA countries. For most countries involved in the negotiations, plans to extend copyright terms will directly harm your economies. As discussed earlier, these provisions in the Australia–US Free Trade Agreement had a negative impact on the Australian economy and will on all signatory countries except the US.

Article 4.9 proposes that circumventing copy protection on any media would be a criminal act. There are currently fair use exemptions for a range of reasons, from software experiment and study, to fair use for parody or comment and so on. Using a work for any reason other than as stated in the licence would risk criminal charges, even if the use is considered legal under current arrangements. This directly assaults the rights currently enjoyed by citizens in signatory countries to use media they have purchased how they wish. Rights could be locked up and sold once for each device, requiring consumers to purchase multiple licences to any media they wish to access. If they purchase a new iPod for example, they can no longer access their music collection on their new device and would need to re-licence all of their music.

Article 6 discusses fair use…….

Article 12.8 gives rights holders the right to demand personal information about customers of Internet Service Providers – or other service providers – on a mere accusation. . This is a fundamental attack on the privacy of the citizens of all signatory countries. There is nothing to stop rights holders going on extensive fishing expeditions, searching through millions of users, looking for people to sue. This power is not granted to law enforcement without due process. Handing such powers to corporations without any requirement to show a breach has occurred is an attack upon the process of law. We have a right to not be placed under surveillance by companies based upon their word that illegal activity has occurred……

Article 14 contains border enforcement provisions which grant customs authorities the right to seize and destroy goods at borders, where they suspect the goods are infringing copyright, trademark or patent law. There is significant risk for goods to be wrongfully seized in transit, posing significant risk for any company engaged in global trade. This further exacerbates the situation of generic medicines, where seizures can negatively impact the health of citizens of signatory countries and beyond.

The agreement will result in funnelling vital health money out of developing countries, directly into the coffers of US pharmaceutical companies. There is no benefit in adopting any of these provisions for any participant country EXCEPT for the United States. It will have serious negative impacts on the health of many millions of people around the world, not just the countries in this agreement……. Just as the copyright section transfers value directly from each countries’ economy to the United States, the attacks on cheap medicine will result in much higher health costs in all signatory countries, with the extra costs being poured into the coffers of rich US pharmaceutical companies.

Article 15 is fraught with issues regarding what activities are to be considered criminal under the agreement.

Article 15.1 sets out criminal liability provisions that include criminal provisions for people engaged in copyright, trademark or patent violations on a “commercial scale”. Commercial scale includes: “significant willful copyright or related rights infringements that have no direct or indirect motivation of financial gain;” in other words, people not engaged in any sort of commercial activity at all. This is essentially to criminalise non-commercial file-sharing by stealth. This could lead to people being held criminally liable for copying a CD for a friend. Sharing should never be considered a criminal act……

Article 15.4 criminalises “aiding and abetting” intellectual property crimes (sic). There is no definition of what this means, and is so broad that it could mean anything from imposing liability upon intermediaries, such as Facebook and Google, to prosecuting the owners of a compromised wireless Internet hotspot that has been used to download copyrighted content. This poses a serious risk of inadvertently criminalising a significant portion of the population.

Trade negotiations are meant to provide mutual benefits to all signatory countries. The US draft intellectual property chapter will only benefit a few companies in the United States and will have a negative impact upon the culture and health of all signatory countries. As the primary exporters of intellectual property, the United States of America has the most to gain from the intellectual property segments of this agreement. All other members of this agreement are primarily importers of intellectual property. We urge all participating delegations to reject every aspect of the draft US intellectual property chapter as it will directly harm your economies and the well-being of your citizens. http://pirateparty.org.au/2012/03/04/pirate-party-australias-presentation-to-trans-pacific-partnership-stakeholders-meeting-in-melbourne/#.T1L_8_PMb3A.twitter

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: