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Options for Public Participation in the TPP

April 6, 2012 ACTA , TPP , Transparency

The Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) negotiations are being conducted in extreme secrecy and that is a problem. In this post, I suggest some options that would end the secrecy and allow members of the public or their representatives to participate in the TPP negotiation process.

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Is ACTA Binding? Depends on Where You Ask

March 8, 2012 ACTA , Enforcement , Forum Shopping , International , Transparency

There’s been a fair bit of coverage about this letter sent from the State Department in response to Senator Ron Wyden’s questions about how much the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (“ACTA”) binds the U.S. It’s a current question because among the many questions swirling around ACTA, one is whether it “binds” the United States to its terms. The answer from the State Department is “yes”—but that may not actually mean what it appears to at first, and the reason for that has to do with why I’ve placed the word “binds” in scare quotes above.

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Public Knowledge Unveils Internet Blueprint Project

February 28, 2012 ACTA , DMCA , Enforcement , Internet Blueprint , Press Release

Today Public Knowledge launched the Internet Blueprint, an ambitious project to develop bills that will help make the internet a better place for everyone. The site consists of six new bills Congress could pass today, as well as a way for the public to submit and vote on their own ideas.

“There are lots of people with great ideas about what rights and protections Internet users should have.  Public Knowledge is taking the next step by putting those ideas into a form that Congress and other policymakers can consider,” said Michael Weinberg, the PK senior staff attorney who is coordinating the project.

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Tell The USTR Not to Do Big Content’s Bidding

February 1, 2012 ACTA , DMCA , DRM , Enforcement , Special 301

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) is asking for public comment in its Special 301 inquiry for 2012. Special 301 is an annual report that the USTR compiles listing countries that allegedly fail to provide adequate and effective protection for intellectual property rights of US persons. As we have said before, this report has turned into an exercise that arm-twists countries into instituting laws and policies that serve the interests of big content even where these policies hurt the free expression and due process rights of citizens.

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The TPP: Closed-Door Negotiations, Worse than ACTA, Lessons from SOPA/PIPA

January 30, 2012 ACTA , International , SOPA , Special 301 , TPP

This week trade negotiators from 8 countries (including the United States) are meeting in LA behind closed doors to discuss the intellectual property chapter of a new international trade agreement.

The recent outpouring of opposition to SOPA/PIPA was an indication of citizens’ outrage, not only at the actual bills, but also at the fact that Congress could be so blind to the public interest in order to please the content industry. While SOPA/PIPA are unprecedented incursions into the Internet architecture, the mindset that caused these bills to go as far as they did, has been at play for a very long time: ratcheting up protections for IP rights holders with little regard for preserving balance in IP laws or due process rights of citizens. 

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