Posts by Jodie Griffin:

The US Trade Representative (USTR) just recently announced that it will accommodate both formal presentations and less structured events for stakeholders in the next round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. This is a promising step forward for the USTR’s public engagement efforts, even though it cannot solve the serious problems caused by the lack of transparency in the TPP negotiations.

Combining the Best of Both Worlds

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In previous blog posts, Public Knowledge generally described the stakeholder events that occurred this past weekend at the TPP negotiations in Dallas, to give readers a sense of the structure that public interest groups work within during negotiations. This post will be dedicated to the actual substance of the conversations we had with the USTR during those events.

Stakeholder Engagement: A Huge Disappointment

While we thought the general structure of the stakeholder tabling event has its advantages and disadvantages, the substance of the conversations we had with USTR representatives during that event made us seriously concerned that the USTR cannot be prevailed upon to represent the public without complete transparency.

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Today Public Knowledge participated in the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) stakeholder tabling event for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), where stakeholders could sign up to sit at a table in hopes that negotiators working on their issues would come by to discuss their concerns. This event differs from previous stakeholders forums, where stakeholders made formal presentations to groups of negotiators together. Public Knowledge has written before about the difference between the two types of stakeholder events.

Having now participated in both kinds of stakeholder events, we find that there are advantages and disadvantages to each. Whether one event is more effective than the other depends upon the particular stakeholder, how well they already know the negotiators, and the level of transparency in negotiations.

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As Public Knowledge dives into the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s (TPP) secret negotiation process and the details of its copyright provisions, it is useful to periodically step back and consider how the intellectual property chapter of the TPP fits into the framework of the TPP as a whole. The copyright provisions of the TPP, as based on the text proposed by the U.S. that was leaked in February 2011, would contradict the TPP’s overall goal of creating a seamless Pacific market and would chill innovation to the detriment of both consumers and businesses.

The TPP generally is an ambitious effort to open trade and encourage investment among the countries that border the Pacific Ocean. That is why the TPP covers so many different areas of the economy, like agriculture, textiles, environmental protections, and intellectual property.

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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.

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This post is the second in a series of blog posts examining Public Knowledge’s concerns with the proposed copyright provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Yesterday we discussed copyright presumptions that favor copyright owners in litigation, and today we examine the parts of the TPP that use copyright law to prohibit users from circumventing digital locks over works.

For the time being, this series is examining the US’s copyright proposals for the TPP [pdf] from February 2011, which is the most recent text that is publicly available.

Digital Locks in US Law

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This post is the first in a series of posts in which Public Knowledge will explain our concerns with the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s (TPP) copyright provisions. For the time being, this series will work off of the US’s copyright proposals [pdf] for the TPP that were leaked and made available February 2011. That leaked text from February 2011 is the most recent text that is publicly available.

One of the more troubling ways in which the US proposal for the TPP copyright provisions differs from current US copyright law is how it skews copyright cases in favor of the copyright owner.

US Law: The Plaintiff Must Prove Her Case

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Yesterday, a collection of trade associations, including the RIAA, MPAA, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, sent President Obama a letter [pdf] pressuring him to ratchet up protection and enforcement of intellectual property in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

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Tomorrow the 12th round of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will begin, but the negotiating countries are still keeping the public in the dark while they strike a deal that may drastically increase copyright protection and enforcement.

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RapidShare’s recent release of its new best practices for cloud storage service throws into stark relief the lengths to which online platforms will go to avoid the wrath—justified or not—of incumbent content distributors like record labels. As we watch digital distributors adopt “best practices” that go well beyond their legal obligations under copyright law to prevent copyright infringement, one obvious question comes to mind: Where are the record label best practices?

Last week RapidShare announced its new “Responsible Practices for Cloud Storage Services,” in which RapidShare promises to go above and beyond its copyright law obligations to stop infringement—and urges other cloud storage services to do the same.

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