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Shhhh. The TPP is Secret.

February 21, 2012 TPP , Transparency

In my previous post on the Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), I explained how provisions of TPP might harm you. Of course, it’s hard to know exactly what might be bad within secret agreements like the TPP–all we have to go off of is leaked text that is many months old. But this raises another point: the secrecy itself is bad, not just because it makes it hard to comment on what may or may not be in the text, but because it undermines the democratic process. Secrecy might make sense for nuclear disarmament talks but it’s hard to see why agreements like the TPP–which amount to international treaties that set levels of intellectual property protection around the world–deserve such hush-hush treatment.

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What’s Actually in the TPP?

February 7, 2012 International , Three Strikes , TPP

The blogosphere is abuzz with speculation that the Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is much worse than SOPA. Is this true? Since the text is currently top secret, there is no way to tell.  Of course, that’s part of the problem. But, after tracking international intellectual property (IP) issues here a PK for a number of years, I can try to make an educated guess about what may be in TPP’s IP chapter and how it may affect you.

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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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What the State of the Union “Piracy” Reference Means

January 25, 2012 ACTA , Enforcement , International , SOPA , TPP

It doesn’t take much to excite the Twitterverse. President Obama in his State of the Union speech made a passing reference to intellectual property enforcement, perhaps to try to appease the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).  It was relatively benign, as he said only that foreign piracy hurts trade, but my reader exploded with “Obama’s flipping on PIPA/SOPA! Betrayal!” While I have no reason to believe that the Administration is backing away from its current hard-line position against PIPA/SOPA, it doesn’t have to in order to show MPAA some love.

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Was the TPP Stakeholder’s Forum Just Lip-Service?

September 13, 2011 ACTA , TPP

Trade agreements have often been used to secure intellectual property (IP) provisions that are harmful to ordinary citizens. The secrecy that generally surrounds trade agreements makes them the ideal vehicle to secure such provisions. These agreements are used to usher in international obligations that would require countries around the world to protect copyrights for longer, prosecute infringements with longer prison terms and higher fines, and generally subject more uses of works to the control of copyright owners. We have written extensively about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which was called a trade agreement and concluded in great secrecy. The Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) seems to be the sequel to ACTA, but with different participating countries.

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