Post

Copyright Week Day 1: Shining a Light on Copyright Policymaking

January 13, 2014 Copyright , TPP

It’s Copyright Week! From today through Saturday, a number of groups around the Web will be exchanging ideas, information, and actions about how to fix copyright law for the better. Each day will be devoted to a different aspect of copyright law. For more on Copyright Week, see here.

Today’s focus is on transparency. More than ever, copyright policymakers must improve transparency in copyright policy–including both listening to and talking to the public.


As copyright law increasingly touches so many aspects of our economy and day-to-day lives, it’s crucial that our copyright policies are formed openly and publicly. Copyright law affects everyone—both when creating and experiencing copyrighted works—and so everyone should have the opportunity to inform themselves about and give input on the policies promoted by our representatives in government. But especially when we see copyright policy being pushed into secretive massive trade agreements, it is clear that the fight for transparency in copyright lawmaking is not over.

Read More
Post

Public Interest Advocates Send Letter to World Leaders Urging Transparency in Trans-Pacific Partners

November 22, 2013 International , TPP

Yesterday, 32 public interest groups, including Public Knowledge, sent a letter to world leaders urging them to conduct Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) negotiations in a transparent matter. We’ve separately (and repeatedly) expressed concerns about what TPP will do to copyright law, but this letter focused on the fact that TPP has been negotiated largely in secret, with more opportunity for industry representatives to have input than the public. “In order to ensure that democratic principles are preserved,” the letter says, “policy makers, civil society, and members of the public must be given the opportunity to have a level of participation and engagement in this process that is at least equal to that of industry representatives.”

In other news, hello! I’m Laura Moy, the new staff attorney at Public Knowledge.

Read More
Post

Kirtsaeng Shows Why Trade Negotiators Don’t Always Know What the Law Actually Is

March 19, 2013 First Sale , TPP

Something we commonly hear when the United States Trade Representative or others are negotiating “trade” agreements is that, to the extent that these agreements mention other areas of law or policy–such as copyright law–they are “consistent” with it. “Who could object,” we are asked, “to simply restating what the law already is?”

The first problem with this is that such agreements don’t just restate the law–they can freeze it in place. It is politically more difficult for Congress to pass a law if there’s an argument (even a wrong one) that doing so would take us out of “compliance” with a trade agreement. If trade negotiators want to freeze US law in place they should explain that is what they are doing and not frame the issue as a technical one without real consequences.

Read More
Post

Cell Phone Unlocking Debate Highlights Trade Negotiation Process Problems

March 18, 2013 DRM , ITU , TPP

The issue of cell phone unlocking has been hot for the past month.  The White House response to the over 100,000 person petition to allow for the unlocking of cell phones has led to a flurry of legislative proposals in Congress and broad interest in a quick solution to the issue.

Read More
Post

Recap: TPP Stakeholder Events in Leesburg, VA

September 11, 2012 TPP , Transparency

On Sunday, dozens of non-profits, companies, and members of the public gathered in Leesburg, VA, to speak out about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during the ongoing 14th round of negotiations. Public Knowledge attended the events, stressing to the negotiators the importance of copyright limitations and exceptions, and explaining how the TPP can be fixed to encourage those exceptions.

Stakeholder Presentations: Logistically Challenged

Many logistical challenges clouded the stakeholder events, accentuating the already acute problems of public participation. As others have reported, the USTR initially tried to squeeze public stakeholder presentations to just 8 minutes each for the Leesburg round. After many groups protested, the USTR expanded the time limit to 10 minutes, which is the same amount that stakeholders were given during the July negotiations in San Diego.

Read More