Intellectual Property

Copyright Treaty Negotiations Continue Behind Closed Doors

The content industry appears to be in the driver's seat

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The next round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement negotiations will take place from December 3-12 in Auckland, New Zealand, and it will be done with the same level of secrecy as the last 14 rounds. And like all of the previous rounds of talks, it will take place in a luxury venue, only this time in a high-end casino, that itself is embroiled in its own controversy over corrupt dealings.

As TPP talks trudge along with ever more Pacific nations participating in the meetings, our alarm over its intellectual property (IP) provisions has only grown. The IP language in this intricate trade agreement would harm users' digital rights in profound ways, such as pressuring ISPs to become Internet cops and criminalizing the distribution of DRM-circumvention tools even for fair uses. It also attempts to protect temporary copies, against the logic of how the Internet works. The U.S. content industry has lobbied for this language just as they did with the SOPA and PIPA bills early this year. In doing so, they continue to demonstrate the same significant disregard for consumers as they did when they cooked up harmful provisions within those U.S. bills.