Live from the Trenches: TPP Negotiations in Dallas

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As the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations continue in Dallas, as promised, Public Knowledge is on the ground advocating for the public’s interest and urging negotiators to open the TPP process and allow public participation.

Here is a quick summary of what the TPP Dallas negotiations look like from the perspective of a public interest group like Public Knowledge.

Stakeholder Registration and Events

Stakeholders (people affected by the outcome of negotiations) have no access to the space where the actual negotiations take place. The entire floor where the negotiations take place is off-limits, and if you accidentally wander into the negotiators’ part of the hotel, security will kindly but firmly turn you around and direct you back to the lobby.

The US Trade Representative (USTR) has, however, set up a system through which public interest groups can register as stakeholders. Registered stakeholders will be able to attend a reception later tonight and/or participate in the stakeholders’ tables event tomorrow in hopes that negotiators will approach them and ask about their concerns with the TPP. (Public Knowledge will be reporting back to you about that event, as well.)

PK Side Event on Copyright Enforcement

Earlier today, Public Knowledge hosted a side event for negotiators to hear from a panel of public interest copyright experts on copyright enforcement. American University’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property graciously co-sponsored the event.

On the panel were: Rashmi Rangnath from Public Knowledge, Gwen Hinze from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Susan Chalmers from InternetNZ, and Jonathan Band representing the Library Copyright Alliance.

During the event, Public Knowledge focused on the impact of harsh copyright enforcement provisions on due process and freedom of information on the internet. EFF spoke from its litigation experience to highlight how copyright enforcement provisions can impose high costs on intermediaries and sacrifice privacy and due process. InternetNZ discussed the ramifications of policies that require internet service providers to terminate internet access after three allegations of infringement. Jonathan Band from the Library Copyright Alliance highlighted the unsustainable costs of copyright litigation to libraries and the importance of limitations and exceptions to copyright for libraries.

Tomorrow: The Stakeholder Science Fair

Tomorrow the US government will host a stakeholder tabling event. In the past, the USTR hosted a forum for stakeholders to make formal presentations to negotiators, but during this round they have eliminated that forum and replaced with something resembling a high school science fair. Stakeholders can register for the event, receive a designated table, and stand at that table for several hours in hopes that negotiators will walk by and ask them questions about their concerns for the TPP.

Rumor has it that tomorrow is also the date of a rally organized by the Citizens Trade Campaign, Occupy Dallas, and many other public interest groups. The protest is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon near the location of the tabling event. While Public Knowledge is not directly involved with the rally, we will be paying close attention to how negotiators respond to the concerns of consumers, either through the tabling event or the rally.

For the rest of the weekend Public Knowledge will be on the ground here, talking to negotiators and advocating for public input in these secret negotiations. To keep up-to-date visit www.tppinfo.org.

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