Items tagged "TPP"

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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USTR Keeps Making ITU Look Good On Transparency, Which Is Bad For Everyone.

July 2, 2012 International , ITU , TPP

Pointing out that the United States Trade Representative (USTR) does not understand the concept of “transparency” hardly qualifies as news. It’s kinda like “Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Places Last In Pulled Pork Bar-B-Q Contest.” But every now and then, USTR’s generalized failure to understand why increasing public participation, sharing more information with the public, and generally bringing the standard of transparency up to what we would actually consider vaguely transparent actually threatens U.S. interests in other areas.

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What We Learn (and Don’t Learn) from the TPP Transparency Fact Sheet

June 27, 2012 TPP , Transparency , USTR

The debate over transparency in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) rages on. Yesterday the US Trade Representative (USTR) released a fact sheet on transparency in the TPP negotiations. The fact sheet basically summarizes how the USTR perceives its transparency efforts to date and how it responds to outcry from members of Congress and the public that the level of secrecy surrounding the TPP negotiations is unacceptable.

While this fact sheet is better than no response at all, it does little to address substantive concerns about secrecy in TPP and in fact only shows how public input and accountability is directly dependent on the open availability of substantive information about the TPP’s proposed text.

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