Broad coalition to TPP governments: Pull provisions that restrict access to knowledge and open innovation
November 21, 2013: Today the Fair Deal Coalition has called on Governments involved in the TPP negotiations to reject copyright proposals that would limit the open Internet, access to knowledge, and curtail economic opportunity.
The Coalition, made up of Internet users, schools, universities, artists, libraries and archives, the visually-impaired, consumers, information technology firms and Internet businesses, has written an open letter to the Governments involved in the negotiations following the leaking of the chapter of the TPP relating to IP and copyright.
Coalition members say that leaked text confirmed fears that the TPP would reduce people’s access to information and restrict their ability to innovate, both on and offline, if a number of the draft copyright provisions were agreed to. The problematic provisions more often than not come from the United States and Australia. The Coalition cautions against the negative impact these provisions would have and urges Governments to agree to alternative proposals.
One chief concern of the coalition are proposals that could increase ISP liability. As Internet law expert Michael Geist noted recently, “The U.S. proposal, which enjoys support from Australia (and support for some provisions from Singapore, New Zealand, and Peru) features far more conditions for ISP limitation of liability that could lead to subscriber service termination and content blocking.”
Steve Anderson from OpenMedia said today, “The new leaked TPP documents confirm that the agreement threatens to make the Internet more expensive, policed, and censored. The Internet community is becoming increasingly agitated by this agreement and it’s time for TPP officials to publicly commit to safeguard the open Internet in this process. Over 120,000 have spoken out in recent weeks and I expect that number to grow if officials don’t pull back from the more egregious proposals now.”
"Freedom of access to information on the web drives cultural, technological and scientific advances. On behalf of more than 11 million library users in Australia alone, we stand firm against these proposals to limit access to information on the Internet." Sue McKerracher, Executive Director, Australian Library and Information Association.
"There are still proposals on the table that could criminalise activities of small businesses and private citizens as well as ones that would ban parallel imports" said Trish Hepworth, from the Australian Digital Alliance. "From the leaked text, Australia is agreeing to provisions that would extend our international obligations and reduce domestic flexibility, in the context of an agreement that is fundamentally unbalanced."
The open letter, co-signed by all participants calls upon the Governments of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Peru, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States to promote access to knowledge, innovation, and economic opportunity, respect fundamental rights like due process, privacy, and free speech and recognise the realities and opportunities of the Internet.
About the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement:
The TPP is one of the most far-reaching international free trade agreements in history. We know from leaked TPP draft texts that participating nations would be held to much stricter and more extreme copyright laws than now exist under current national laws. These new rules would criminalize much online activity, invade citizens’ privacy, and significantly impact our ability to share and collaborate online.
Negotiators from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Peru, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States met in Malaysia to discuss these changes without input from the public, creators, or most businesses. The negotiating documents are classified - unless you are one of just 600 Big Industry lobbyists invited to participate.
Over 15,000 people have now signed a petition at http://OurFairDeal.org, which demands that negotiators reject copyright proposals that would restrict the open Internet, access to knowledge, economic opportunity and our fundamental rights.
Internet users around the world can tell decision-makers that it’s time to open up their secretive process and let our voices be heard by speaking out at www.OpenMedia.org/DigitalFuture.
Communications Manager, OpenMedia.ca
OpenMedia is a grassroots organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open and affordable Internet. The group works towards informed and participatory digital policy.
About the Our Fair Deal International coalition
Starting at first in New Zealand and then connecting with organizations and people internationally, a group of individuals from the fields of Internet policy, art, information technology and law got together to discuss a TPP campaign with a copyright focus. What resulted was the idea of a fair deal, one that opens up trade opportunities for TPP member states but doesn’t force copyright and other IP-related changes on us that could damage our future.
Members of the Fair Deal coalition include:
Affinity Bridge, Article 19, Australian Digital Alliance, Australian Library & Information Association, Association for Progressive Communications (APC), Internet NZ, BCFIPA, The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), Consumers International, Council of Canadians, Creative Freedom, Demand Progress, Derechos Digitales, Electronic Frontiers Australia, Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF), Engine.is, Fight for the Future, FreePress, Gen Why Media, Hiperderecho, Library & Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa, Movements for the Internet Active Users, NZRise, NZOSS, OpenMedia.org, Public Citizen, Public Knowledge, Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind, Scoop, Tech Liberty NZ, TechDirt, Tuanz, Tucows, TradeMe
Full leaked text of TPP IP Chapter: https://wikileaks.org/tpp
In August 2013, OpenMedia and the Our Fair Deal Coalition launched an alternative process to the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, enabling citizens to have their say on shaping their digital future.
In May 2013, OpenMedia and Coalition partners sent TPP Trade Ministers a letter to demand a ‘Fair Deal’ on provisions that would restrict Internet use in the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks.
We also sent a message to new U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman by purchasing ahard-hitting Washington D.C. newspaper ad.
In December 2012, OpenMedia’s Steve Anderson took our message direct to TPP negotiators in Auckland. Read his full report from Auckland here.
In June 2012, OpenMedia joined with a diverse coalition of groups to launch the StopTheTrap.net petition - a petition which gained over 135,000 signatures and which was hand-delivered to TPP negotiators in San Diego.