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Failing to understand the needs of the 21st century: The TPP’s flawed digital locks scheme

September 6, 2012 DRM , TPP

For comprehensive information about the TPP please visit tppinfo.org.

The 14th round of negotiations for the Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) started today. The TPP is being touted as a “21st century” trade agreement, implying that the TPP’s provisions would reflect an understanding of the needs of 21st century citizens. With respect to copyright, this should mean that the agreement would reflect an understanding not only of the tools copyright owners need to protect their rights but also an understanding of the flexibilities that various users (like hobbyists, cultural institutions like libraries, archives and museums, and information and communication technology companies) would need to use digital material. Yet what we know of the TPP, at best, reflects little understanding of the needs of these communities.

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Intellectual Property in the TPP: How About a Little Balance?

August 24, 2012 Enforcement , TPP

This blog post was co-written by Peter Maybarduk, Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines Program Director.


This past Friday (August 17), Douglas E. Schoen published an op-ed in Politico lobbying for “strong” intellectual property (IP) protection in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The op-ed argued that such an approach would be a “straightforward” route to “job-creating innovation.” The op-ed ignored serious costs that over aggressive IP protection can pose to the economy, including the stifling of innovation in consumer electronics products and high monopolist prices for consumer goods including critical medicines. Like others before and since, the study Schoen cites does not support inferences linking particular IP demands in the TPP to innovation or jobs.

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Defining your rights to participate in culture: How the USTRs attempts on limitations and exceptions

August 14, 2012 Limitations & Exceptions , TPP

All over the world, blind people cannot get books and other printed material as easily as those of us with sight can. Teachers face difficulties in using movies and music, particularly those in digital format, in the course of teaching. Librarians are constrained in their ability to lend and preserve books, movies, and music. Copyright laws, with the restrictions and costs they impose on these users, are a major contributor to these barriers. International copyright agreements exacerbate these barriers by constantly ratcheting up exclusive rights over knowledge and cultural products and diminishing user rights. The TPP is the latest iteration of these agreements.

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EU Parliament Rejects ACTA: Ray of Hope for TPP

July 5, 2012 ACTA , Limitations & Exceptions , TPP

Yesterday, we were treated to news of a very positive development from Europe: the European Parliament voted, by a massive majority (478-39), to reject the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

This rejection comes after more than five years of negotiations that were plagued by controversy and outcry against ACTA’s secretive process. So what should you make of this rejection and what lessons should future trade negotiators learn from the ACTA experience?

For one, it should be apparent that the negotiating process is just as important as the substance. Shutting out the public and their representatives and giving privileged access to the entertainment and pharmaceutical industries severely undermines the legitimacy of the negotiating exercise.

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Possible Inclusion of Limitations & Exceptions in TPP Good Step, by No Means Adequate

July 3, 2012 Limitations & Exceptions , TPP

PK and others have argued for a long time that international agreements, including the proposed Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) must include mandatory provisions on limitations and exceptions. These provisions must promote fair use of works and also generally reflect the robust user rights that that US copyright system seeks to promote. Perhaps as an acknowledgement of the concerns that these arguments reflect, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has announced that it is proposing a provision on limitations and exceptions in the TPP.

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